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Study on stomach content of fish

Study on stomach content of fish to support the assessment of good environmental status of marine food webs and the prediction of MSY after stock restoration

The aim of the project is to improve the data basis for multi-species and ecosystem models. Predator-prey relationships are an important driver of fish population dynamics.

Background and Objective

The aim of the project is to improve the data basis for multi-species and ecosystem models. Stomach data will be used to determine the current status of the North Sea and Baltic food web. This will help to evaluate the environmental status and will lead to more realistic predictions of MSY (maximum sustainable yield).

Target Group

science, politics


International surveys (research trips at sea) are used to collect fish stomach data. These are analysed in labs. With the help of new data, the parameterisation of multi-species models can be improved and an analysis on the current status of the food webs can be carried out.

Our Research Questions

  • What is the main prey for important predators and how variable is the diet composition over time?
  • Which factors influence the diet selection of predators?


  • Up-to-date information on diet composition
  • Updated predictions from multi-species and ecosystem models

Final Report - November 2014

Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • European Union (EU)
    (international, öffentlich)


1.2013 - 12.2014

More Information

Project funding number: Tender MARE/2012/02
Project status: finished


  1. 0

    Lauerburg RAM, Temming A, Pinnegar JK, Kotterba P, Sell AF, Kempf A, Floeter J (2018) Forage fish control population dynamics of North Sea whiting Merlangius merlangus. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 594:213-230, DOI:10.3354/meps12533

  2. 1

    Tam JC, Link JS, Large SL, Bogstad B, Bundy A, Cook AM, Dingsør GE, Dolgov AV, Howell D, Kempf A, Pinnegar JK, Rindorf A, Schückel S, Sell AF, Smith BE (2016) A trans-Atlantic examination of haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus food habits. J Fish Biol 88(6):2203-2218, DOI:10.1111/jfb.12983

  3. 2

    Cormon X, Kempf A, Vermard Y, Vinther M, Marchal P (2016) Emergence of a new predator in the North Sea: evaluation of potential trophic impacts focused on hake, saithe, and Norway pout. ICES J Mar Sci 73(5):1370-1381, DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsw050

  4. 3

    Cormon X, Ernande B, Kempf A, Vermard Y, Marchal P (2016) North Sea saithe Pollachius virens growth in relation to food availability, density dependence and temporature. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 542:141-151, DOI:10.3354/meps11559

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