Dr Steve Mackinson, the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association’s (SPFA) chief scientist, will be giving a presentation in Fraserburgh on how mackerel tagging is playing a crucial role in the assessment of Scotland’s most commercially valuable fish stock.

Every year since 1968, Norwegian scientists have tagged thousands of mackerel to find out where they go. Most of the tagged mackerel are caught by Scottish vessels and Scottish processing operations now use automatic detection machines to find these hidden tags. The data from these, and from other processing facilities around Europe, now contributes to the stock assessment of mackerel.

Dr Mackinson said: “In terms of value and volume, mackerel is Scotland’s most important catch and to ensure the sustainability of the fishery it is essential that scientists and fishery managers have as much information as possible on the stock. This tagging programme is playing an important role in shedding light on the age structure and migratory movements of mackerel and is a fine example of how science can benefit fisheries.”

On 24 May at 2pm, Dr Mackinson will be revealing more on how this data is used for scientific advice at a talk at the SPFA’s office in Heritage House, 135-139 Shore Street in Fraserburgh. The talk is free of charge and open to anyone with an interest in the topic, although places must be booked beforehand by contacting Diane Ireland at SPFA, email Diane.Ireland@scottishpelagic.co.uk, or telephone 01346 510714.