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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10793/787

Title: The abundance of boarfish (Capros aper) along the western shelf estimated using hydro-acoustics
Authors: O'Donnell, C.
Farrell, E.
Saunders, R.
Campbell, A.
Keywords: Boarfish
Acoustics
Shelf edge
Spawning aggregations
North Atlantic survey
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Marine Institute
Citation: O’Donnell, C., Farrell, E., Saunders, R. & Campbell, A., “The abundance of boarfish (Capros aper) along the western shelf estimated using hydro-acoustics”, Irish Fisheries Investigations No. 23, Marine Institute 2012
Series/Report no.: Irish Fisheries Investigations;23
Abstract: The Boarfish (Capros aper, Linnaeus) is a relatively small deep bodied fish growing up to 23 cm in total length. Typically reddish in colour with large eyes and a highly protrusible mouth boarfish are known to inhabit shallow shelf seas to shelf slopes from 40-600 m. Boarfish are a mesopelagic shoaling species distributed in the eastern Atlantic from Norway to Senegal including the Mediterranean. 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. During the early 2000s the Irish landings were relatively small (<700 t per yr) and it was not until 2006 that a directed fishery developed in earnest. Landings peaked in 2010 at over 137,000 t prior to the introduction of TAC control and interim management plan. This survey represents the first dedicated exploratory acoustic survey for boarfish (Capros aper) undertaken along the western seaboard of Ireland. The survey was timed to coincide with peak spawning time as determined from histological analysis of commercial catch samples. Area coverage was based on the distribution of catches from the IBTS survey time series and from catch data from the pelagic fleet targeting boarfish since 2005. In total 3,160 nmi (nautical miles) of cruise track was undertaken by the MFV Felucca, over 32 transects relating to an area coverage of over 89,500 nmi². Coverage extended from the 50 m contour to the shelf slope (250 m). Transect spacing was set at 15 nmi throughout to make best use of the time available and the large geographical area to be covered. The results presented here are a composite of data collected during this survey and on the northwest herring survey (RV Celtic Explorer). Both surveys were timed to link up and were carried out over 33 days from north (59°N) to south (47°30’N). Acoustic data were collected using a Simrad EK 60 scientific echosounder via a Simrad ES-38B (38 KHz) split-beam transducer which was mounted within a tow-body. This configuration was calibrated on the survey vessel prior to departure. An age length key (ALK) compiled primarily from commercial samples collected during 2010 was applied during the analysis of survey data. Age distribution indicate that the stock was dominated by the following age classes in terms of abundance: 6, 7, 20+ and 9 year old fish and 20+, 9, 7 and 10 years in terms of biomass respectively. Immature fish from 0-2 years were poorly represented in survey catches and this is consistent with a spawning movement of mature stock away from feeding grounds on the shelf. During the survey boarfish shoals were primarily distributed along the shelf edge occurring as aggregations actively spawning or in a state of near readiness to spawn. As a result the abundance estimate is almost exclusively composed of mature individuals (>99%) which is in contrast to the primarily on-shelf distribution of commercial catches. The biomass and abundance estimates presented here were calculated using a modelled TS-length relationship, from as yet unpublished data for boarfish and applied retrospectively to acoustic data.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10793/787
ISSN: 1649-0037
Appears in Collections:Irish Fisheries Investigations

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