Exciting Preliminary Results from $8.5 million Multi-Year Project
(April 25, 2023 – Barcelona, Spain) – Stakeholders met in Barcelona yesterday to discuss the on-going Northern Cod ‘Fishery Improvement Project’ (FIP).
Stakeholders include Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), Marks & Spencer and Youngs Seafoods from the United Kingdom, Sysco France, High Liner Foods from Canada/United States, and member companies of the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP), and the Atlantic Groundfish Council (AGC). Participants also included representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Marine Stewardship Council.
A central feature of the Northern Cod FIP is an $8.5 million fish tracking project. Acoustic tags have been placed on ~800 cod that undergo significant annual migrations, the movement of which are tracked by an array of acoustic receivers that have been deployed in waters up to 200 miles off Eastern Canada. Data from these underwater receivers is uploaded annually by autonomous ocean gliders, for later analyses by scientists.
Preliminary results are based on the ~50% of acoustic tagged cod that have to date been detected over 300,000 times by receivers in various locations throughout the range of the stock, indicating emerging patterns of different seasonal migration routes through the year. Concurrent mapping of the whole genome of cod (more than 1 million markers) indicate cod in this area are driven by two supergenes that may be associated with variations in migratory behaviour and spawning time.
“The information obtained over the life of this Project will eventually enable more effective stock assessment modeling and targeted management measures to control fishing mortality” said Bruce Chapman, President of the Atlantic Groundfish Council and FIP Co-Chair along with Jeff Loder, Executive Director of the Association of Seafood Producers.
This Project has been designed and implemented in a cooperative effort involving industry, government scientists, academia, the Ocean Tracking Network, and the Ocean Frontier Institute.
“This industry-led FIP and its world-class research project represents an impressive collaborative effort to improve knowledge and management of marine resources,” observed Jim Cannon, CEO of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP).