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Title: Boarfish Acoustic Survey Report 07 July – 28 July, 2011
Authors: O'Donnell, Ciaran
Farrell, Edward
Saunders, Ryan
Campbell, Andy
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Marine Institute
Citation: O'Donnell, C., Farrell, E., Saunders, R. & Campbell, A. "Boarfish Acoustic Survey Report 07 July – 28 July, 2011", Marine Institute 2011
Series/Report no.: FSS Survey Series;2011/03
Abstract: This survey represents the first dedicated exploratory research survey for boarfish (Capros aper) undertaken along the western seaboard. The commercial fishing vessel the MFV Felucca, an active participant in the fishery was equipped with a calibrated scientific echosounder. A consultant biologist from the Killybegs Fisherman’s Organisation (KFO) and a Marine Institute scientist headed the biological and acoustic research respectively during the cruise. Exploratory fishing for boarfish by Irish vessels began in the later 1980s when commercial quantities were encountered during the spring horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus) and mackerel (Scrombrus scomber) fishery in northern Biscay. Several landings were made into Ireland for fishmeal during this time but due to logistical problems related to handling (prominent dorsal spines) this species was not favoured by processors. Interest increased again around the mid 1990s when Dutch pelagic vessels landed frozen samples to determine if a market could be developed for human consumption. From the early 1970s onwards the abundance of boarfish was seen to increase exponentially and distribution ever increasingly spread northwards along the western seaboard (Blanchard and Vandermeirsch, 2005). With this increase in abundance boarfish were taken as bycatch in both the pelagic and demersal fisheries in ever increasing quantities and this caused serious problems relating to damaged target species due to the aforementioned formidable dorsal spines. During the early 2000s the Irish landings were relatively small (<700t per yr) and it wasn’t until 2006 that the directed fishery developed in earnest. Fishing was undertaken primarily by vessels from the Castletownbere and Killybegs based RSW fleets (refrigerated seawater vessels) which targeted boarfish from northern Biscay to the southern Celtic Sea. In 2007-08 Scotland and Denmark also began targeting boarfish in quantity. Irish landings are primarily landed into fishmeal plants in Denmark and the Faroe Islands with increasing amounts being landed in Killybegs. The boarfish fishery bridged an important gap between the short season fisheries for horse mackerel, mackerel and blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) affectively extending the fishing season for the RSW fleet from late August through to May. A precautionary interim management plan was adopted in November 2010 covering ICES Divisions VI, VII and VIII and an EU TAC of 33,000t was set. Of this the Irish allocation for 2011 was 22,000t. This precautionary TAC was based on 50-75% of total landings from the period 2007-2009 which peaked at over 83,400t (2009). Landings in 2010 reached over 137,000t in a scramble to build up a track record in the fishery prior to a fixed quota allocation. In 2010 Sweden now also shares the TAC allowance with those actively involved in the fishery. In addition to the TAC control, seasonal closures were also implemented; from September 1-October 31 ICES (area VIIg) to protect herring feeding and pre spawning aggregations and from March 15–August 31 where mackerel are frequently encountered as a large bycatch. A catch rule ceiling of 5% bycatch was also implemented within the fishery where boarfish are taken with other TAC controlled species. Data from this survey, in addition to the extensive biological research carried out on this species forms part of a larger program aimed at increasing the knowledge of this species and its abundance outside of the commercial fishery. Data from this survey will be presented for inclusion into the ICES Planning Group meeting for North Atlantic Pelagic Ecosystem Surveys in August 2011 (WGNAPES) and for the ICES assessment Working Group for Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE) also meeting in August 2011.
Description: Use the URI link below to search the Marine Institute Data Discovery Catalogue for datasets relevant to this report.
Appears in Collections:Acoustic Surveys

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