Celtic Seas Cod Tagging Project underway

An Irish Sea cod tagged at the front and the back of the first dorsal fin.
An Irish Sea cod tagged at the front and the back of the first dorsal fin.

In order to gain a better understanding of the distribution and ecology of cod in the Irish & Celtic Sea, scientists at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), the Marine Institute and Cefas have joined forces to conduct a three year cod tagging programme funded by the European Commission.

Despite significant efforts in recent times to help recover the Irish Sea cod stock through fisheries management, the spawning biomass has not responded as required. AFBI along with partners the Marine Institute, Galway, and Cefas, Lowestoft, have begun a European Commission funded three year programme of cod tagging in the Irish Sea and surrounding areas. The main aim of this project is to achieve a sustainable and profitable cod fishing industry by gaining a better understanding of cod abundance, movement and mortality using mark and recapture methods.

Over 1800 cod have been tagged, with 22 individuals recaptured so far. Fishermen and anglers are encouraged to check closely for tagged cod since they can claim a monetary reward using the telephone number printed on the tag.

Pieter-Jan Schön, the Head of Fisheries and Aquatic Ecosystems Branch at AFBI, highlighted how vital the Celtic Seas Cod Tagging Programme is for the cod fishery in Northern Ireland. “This project relies on collaboration with the fishing industry; any recaptured tagged cod can provide useful information. Building on existing science and industry partnerships is essential if we wish to achieve a sustainable and profitable fishing industry in the Irish Sea.”

For more information on the project visit https://www.afbini.gov.uk/articles/cod-tagging-project-irish-sea or email fishtagging@afbini.gov.uk