Sorting fish eggs from plankton samples, their staging and identification to species remains one of the key proficiencies in the execution of the mackerel and horse mackerel egg surveys. As this is carried out by a number of different operators in many different countries, and then the data combined, it is vital that the process be standardized. WGMEGS strongly feels that this is best done through the mechanism of a regular workshop to compare results between survey participants. In the context of the triennial egg surveys, it proved appropriate to hold a workshop prior to every survey to standardize approaches and methodologies in the run-up to the surveys. This will have the advantage of training new operators as well as harmonizing the approach of experienced operators. Egg staging workshops were held since 2000, and were very successful in achieving these aims. It is recommended that experiences gathered during these be used for setting up the procedures for the proposed workshop in 2022. The workshop will use the proven method of carrying out a set of sorting trials, analysing the results and identifying problems, and then repeating the trials on the basis of the new understanding.
The workshop will also be tasked to update the descriptions and photographs given in the MEGS manual to assist in the plankton sample handling procedure.