Project

Modelling the spawning habitat of the Northeast Atlantic mackerel to understand the recent changes in distribution

During the recent years, unusual distribution of the Northeast Atlantic mackerel has been observed both during the spawning and the feeding seasons.

The result was the development of a targeted fishery in Icelandic waters during the summer, and generated a lot of debate.

The distribution of the spawning mackerel and its temporal variation are well documented. The aim of this project would be to define the environmental characteristics of the spawning habitat of mackerel, to investigate the relationship between the recent changes in spawning distribution and timing, and the changes in environmental conditions.

Approach

1. Data collection from WGMEGS
2. Scientific analyses
3. Presentation to relevant ICES working groups

Results

This study could contribute to answer the question wether their is a link between mackerel distribution changes and the environment. This would be very useful to estimate the likelihood (provided some forecast of the environmental variations in the coming years would be available) of a continuation of the currently observed changes, or on the contrary, a return to a previous situation.

The information would probably be interesting for WGMEGS for the planning of the next (2013) survey. Stakeholders are also very eager to have some scientific explanation about the distribution changes in mackerel.