Marine Institute

Irish Sea Cod Tagging Project

The Marine Institute, in partnership with AFBI in Northern Ireland and CEFAS in the UK, are conducting a cod tagging project in the Irish Sea. The project is funded by the European Commission and will see the three research agencies working alongside the fishing industry and recreational fishermen to gain a better understanding of the factors that have an influence on cod (Gadus morhua) in the Irish Sea.

BackgroundFloy Tags

Historically, landings of cod from the Irish Sea were an important source of revenue to the fishing industry in Ireland and the UK. Since a peak in landings of 14,168 tonnes in the late 1980s, data shows a decline in the landing of cod. Following advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the European Commission established measures to aid recovery in 2000, however in 2017 the population of cod in the Irish Sea remains low. Analysis of the Irish Sea cod stock shows that there is poor recruitment, mortality is high, and the stock is considered below a level suitable for a directed fishery to take place.

Measures were introduced to aid in the recovery of the stock, including selective gears to avoid catching cod, seasonal area closures to protect spawning aggregations and fishing effort management. Fishing effort is low in the Irish Sea; there are no directed cod fisheries and catch mainly occurs as bycatch in the Nephrops fishery. Despite this, and a long term management plan being in place, the stock has been very slow to respond to these measures with only small signs of recovery being seen so there is a need to further investigate the stock.


The aims of the project are to:Tagging Gun and Tags. Photo Macdara O'Cuaig.

  • Tag several thousand cod between 2016 and 2019 throughout the Irish Sea with floy tags.
  • Publicise the project to maximise the recovery of tagged cod – from commercial and recreational fishing.
  • Use information of tag recoveries to gain a better understanding of cod mortality, abundance, distribution and movement patterns.
  • Conduct a collaborative research project with interest groups, including other research agencies and stakeholders.
  • Make the data available to the public using online GIS mapping.
  • Compare results of previous cod tagging studies with project outcomes to assess changes.
Reporting a tagged cod

If a tagged cod is captured, a reward (€25 or €75 depending on its colour) is offered for the return of the following information (and preferably the whole fish):

  • Date of capture
  • Location of capture (Latitude and Longitude)Tagged Cod
  • Total length
  • Tag number and colour
  • Number of boxes/baskets and size detail (Small/Med/Large) of other untagged cod caught in the catch

Please store the cod UNGUTTED on ice/frozen and we will organise collection.


To report a tag and claim a reward or for more information on the cod tagging programme please contact Emma White on;
Phone: +353 91 387 200
Mobile: +353 879201448
E-mail: emma [dot] white [at] marine [dot] ie


 Agri-Food and Biosciences InstituteCefasMarine Institute EASME