reportposted on 2022-03-01, 09:34 authored by J. Jakobsson
When ICES was established at the beginning of the 20th century, fish migrations were considered to be one of the most important problems to be addressed by the new organization. This is reflected in the fact that one of the three committees established in 1902 was Committee A, the Committee on Migration of Food Fishes. In order to elucidate the life histories of the most important fish species, the Committee initiated extended egg and larval surveys covering the Northeast Atlantic and its marginal seas. This was followed by large-scale tagging of several fish species. Owing to the coordinated international effort, light was cast on the annual larval drift from spawning grounds to nursery areas; the migration of adult fish between wintering, feeding, and spawning areas; and how the distribution of most species was limited to the continental shelf areas, with the dramatic exception of a few species like the eel. Subsequent investigations revealed that some other species, such as herring, salmon, and tunas, were also real ocean travellers with extensive migrations, far beyond the continental shelves. When discussing these migrations, it is important to distinguish between categories of ocean travelling, e.g., massive annual migrations between feeding and spawning grounds, and long-distance migrations of a few strays. The former is of great economic interest for the fisheries, while the latter is primarily of an academic nature.