Marine Laboratory performs a research on the state of fish stocks and related environmental conditions in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga, included a coastal zone. Biological information on the main Baltic fish species (herring, sprat, cod, flounder) are obtained carrying out research cruises as well as on the basis of regular sampling of commercial catches.
Biological information primarily based on length-weight and age-length data as well as statistics on catches are needed in the further assessments of fish stocks and predictions. Some researches of Marine Laboratory specialize on fish age determination by otoliths (for herring, sprat and cod) on the basis of developed methods, so the accuracy of results is of great significance.
Two times a year, in May since 1977 and October since 1983, Laboratory’s specialists carry out a hydroacoustic survey on pelagic fish (herring and sprat) stocks in the Baltic Sea. The surveys cover the Latvian, Estonian and Swedish Economical zones. Since 1999 Laboratory’s scientists in July carry out a joint Latvian-Estonian hydroacoustic survey on the herring stock in the Gulf of Riga. Surveys on the demersal fish (cod, plaice, and turbot) are performed by Laboratory’s researchers carrying out its part of the Baltic International Trawl Survey (BITS) in the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian zones. Biological data on plaice and turbot also are obtained from the commercial catches. Since 2005 biological information to assess the catches of the main commercial Baltic fish species are collected in accordance with “Latvian National Fisheries Data Collection Programme (823.74 Kb)”, which is coordinated by European Commission.
In order to make an estimation of fish spawning affectivity the ichthyoplankton samples (pelagic eggs of sprat and cod, and larvae) in the Baltic Sea are also collected and analyzed. In the Latvian coastal waters surveys to monitor a fish community, its structure and abundance of juvenile demersal marine fish is conducted.
Research programmes of Marine Laboratory include also obtaining of oceanographic and hydrometeorological data in order to assess environmental changes and their impact on fish populations.
Marine Laboratory regularly takes a part in elaboration of the annual recommendations on the national management of commercial and recreational fishery and in giving the public services in research works.
Participation in the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) working groups:
Baltic Fisheries Assessment Working Group (WGBFAS),
Baltic International Fish Survey Working Group (WGBIFS);
ICES Advisory Committee (ACOM), giving scientific advice for participation of Latvia in the implementation of EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).