Aug.15, 2012
Mackerel survey on R/V Arni Fridriksson in Icelandic waters

A 30 day research survey directed towards mackerel abundance and distribution in Icelandic waters was completed on the 10th of August. This survey is a part of an international survey on the abundance, spatial and temporal distribution and the feeding ecology of the Northeast Atlantic mackerel, Norwegian spring-spawning herring, blue whiting and other pelagic species in relation to hydrographic conditions, plankton and other prey communities.

A total of 105 trawl stations, 89 hydrography stations and 91 plankton stations were worked and a total of 6394 mackerel were length measured, 2878 weighed and otoliths from 2881 mackerel were collected for age determination. Stomach samples from 609 mackerel were collected for stomach content analyses. Samples from 400 mackerel were sampled for DNA analyses and samples were collected for fatty acid analyses.

Final analyses of the data have just begun and the main results of the surveys will be reported after a joint meeting of scientists from the participating countries at the end of August.

Preliminary results of the total biomass and distribution indicate that the abundance of mackerel within the Icelandic EEZ is similar to that of the last two years as well as the total range of the distribution, although there is some spatial variation in the abundance of mackerel between years. A few small 0-group mackerel were recorded in deep waters off SW-Iceland which suggests that they are from a late spawning and probably of Icelandic origin.

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