Data Portals

Eggs and larvae

Unified portal to access data from ichthyoplankton surveys carried out in ICES areas

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Fish egg and fish larvae data have been collected in the ICES area for a long time for use in stock assessments and fisheries management. The collection of the data is usually coordinated by international survey expert groups. The Eggs and Larvae database aims to store, and make available, data collected by ichthyoplankton surveys for use by ICES and the wider marine community. It provides an overview of available fish egg and larvae survey data, and a unified portal for access to these data.         

The surveys currently included are: 

  • The Mackerel and horse mackerel egg surveys (MEGS, 1992-present)
    The survey existed since 1968. It is carried out every 3 years in the north eastern Atlantic and in the North Sea. The survey creates a basis for the stock assessment of Atlantic and North Sea mackerel and management plan for Atlantic horse mackerel. The database contains information about the surveys conducted since 1992. ​The group responsible for the survey is WGMEGS.​
  • The International Herring Larvae Surveys in the North Sea (IHLS, 1967-present)
    The ICES programme of international herring larval surveys in the North Sea and adjacent areas is in operation since 1967. The main purpose of this programme is to provide quantitative estimates of herring larval abundance, which are used as a relative index of changes of the herring spawning‐stock biomass in the assessment. The database contains information about the surveys conducted since 1972. ICES responsible group for the dataset is WGSINS.
  • The North Sea Midwater Ring Net survey (MIK)
    Conducted annually since 1977 in the first quarter of the year. The main purpose is to provide abundance estimates for large herring larvae, which are used as recruitment index in the stock assessment of North Sea herring. The database contains the complete survey data for herring larvae since 1992, as well as some data for other species. The ICES group responsible for the dataset is WGSINS. 
  • The Rügen Herring Larvae Survey (RHLS, 1992-2014)
    Dataset with abundance and growth data of the western Baltic spring spawning herring in the m​ain spawning area Greifswald Bay. The yearly survey is carried out by the Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries once per week during the herring spawning season from March to June. The survey provides the base for an annual recruitment index (N20) used for the assessment of this herring stock. WGSINS is the ICES group responsible for this dataset.
  • Gulf of Riga Larvae survey (GORL, 2004-2013)
    Dataset provided to ICES by the Estonian Marine Institute with ichthyoplankton records from the Gulf of Riga (Baltic Sea).
  • North Sea cod and plaice egg surveys (CP-EGGS, 2004, 2009)
    The survey aims at studying fish egg and larval distributions in the winter in the North Sea, target species are cod and plaice. The program is steered by the WGSINS.
  • Atlantic Anguilla surveys (EEL, 1863-2007)
    This historical dataset includes data gathered from various surveys conducted in different times in the North Atlantic. The surveys were focused on different stages of eel larvae. The ICES group taking care of the data is WGEEL.

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Eggs and larvae

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