Project Details


The stock of Northeast Atlantic mackerel has raised a lot of attention over the last number of years. The expansion of the area of distribution of mackerel has been very conspicuous, with mackerel now being caught much more westerly and northerly compared to the past. In recent years, also changes in spawning are apparent with changes in timing and center of gravity of spawning. Dealing with a stock with such a wide area of distribution from the west of Portugal all the way to the Norwegian Sea is providing a continuous challenge to attempt to monitor the development of this stock. One approach, that is followed here, is to improve our understanding of how mackerel gonads develop and when and where mackerel spawn. This information could affect the design of the mackerel egg survey and possibly also how spawning stock biomass is calculated from the stock in numbers within the stock assessment model.

The overall aim of the Year of the Mackerel project is to gain insight in the gonad development of female and male mackerel throughout the year in order to better under-stand the spawning strategy. On a monthly basis male and female mackerel have been collected by the pe-lagic industry throughout the distribution area of mackerel. Wageningen Marine Research and partner institutes have prepared histological sections of the gonads. Each gonad will be analysed to identify which development stages of oocytes and spermatozoa are present in the gonad. This will allow to follow the gonadal development over time and determine the timing when mackerel is ready for spawning.

The specific task of DTU Aqua has been to develop histological metodologies to characterize the the stages of spermatogenesis and testes development.
National Institute of Aquatic Resources, DTU Aqua
Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies, The Netherlands (coordinator)
Institute of Marine Research, Norway
AZTI Technalia, Spain

The project is funded by Wageningen Marine Research.

Research area: Fish Biology
Effective start/end date01/02/201930/09/2020


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