Recently, fish producers in Scotland have joined the growing number of participants in the program to better understand mackerel populations on both sides of the Northeastern Atlantic. Nearly every Scottish mackerel processing factory is now employing low-frequency (LF) RFID readers to identify tagged fish before processing begins, joining factories in Iceland and at the Faroe Islands that were already doing so. Approximately 160,000 mackerel have been tagged to date. In 2016, 800 of those tagged fish were detected at all participating factories.
The IMR project results thus far indicate that mackerel populations are healthy — a critical result, since the mackerel serves one of the primary seafood sources for Scandinavia, as well as for Great Britain. Norway funds the IMR project at a rate of approximately 4 million Norwegian krone a year ($478,000), while the goal has been to see other nations in the region begin including the technology at their own factories as well, to both access and share data.
The solution consists of LF RFID tags embedded in fish, with readers deployed at factories. The RFID-based data is gathered in the global fish species database known as FishBase. The system — including LF RFID tags, readers and specialized antennas — is provided by Norway's RFID Solutions. The software that interprets the collected read data and forwards it to the FishBase system is provided by Smart Sea System. The collected data helps IMR, better understand — and thus manage — the mackerel population.
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