At SLU Aqua, quality assurance is an important part of the progress of age analysis. We aim for cooperation between age readers, between researchers and age readers, on a national and international level. We develop methods for preparing tissues used for age reading. We have procedures for training and educating new staff. We calibrate age analysis results.
- We work within a network SFAN, SLU Fish Ageing Network.
- We attend international workgroups and calibration activities, such as ICES.
- We always use otoliths for age determination, with some exceptions. When possible, we use a complementary tissue (i.e. operculum bones or scales), to gain high quality results.
- A training program is used for our employees, following Methodological manual for age determination of fish at SLU’s laboratories.
- We make annual age reading comparisons.
- We work according to the guidelines recommended in TACADAR's (Towards Accreditation and Certification of Age Determination of Aquatic Resources) final report.
- At least two age readers share the expertise of each species, to assure continuity and quality.
- We analyse time series when possible. By analysing strong and weak year classes, we get valuable information on fish populations.
- A reference library is under construction, with images and species characteristics.