The Marine Institute is the national agency responsible for Marine Research, Technology Development and Innovation (RTDI). We seek to assess and realise the economic potential of Ireland's 220 million acre marine resource; promote the sustainable development of marine industry through strategic funding programmes and essential scientific services; and safeguard our marine environment through research and environmental monitoring.

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  • Surface Temperature Observations at Coninbeg Lightship on the South Coast of Ireland

    Farran, G. (Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer (ICES), 1939)
  • Negotiations for the establishment of a pilchard fishery at Bantry in 1875

    Went, A. E. J. (Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, 1875)
  • The fat/water relationship in the mackerel Scomber scombrus L., pilchard, Sardina pilchardus (Walbaum) and sprat, Sprattus sprattus L., and the seasonal variation in fat content by size and maturity.

    Wallace, P. D.; Hulme, T. J. (Ministry of agriculture, fisheries and food Directorate of fisheries research., 1977)
    Mackerel, pilchard and sprat have the ability to store fat in their body tissues. During the spring and summer, when their main source of food, zooplankton, is abundant, fat reserves are accumulated. These reserves are utilized in the autumn and winter when zooplankton are scarce. Consequently, wide variations in fat content occur throughout a single year of life of these species. This report describes the relationship that exists between fat and water in these species and describes how the fat content varies with size, maturity stage and season.
  • Herring larval surveys in the Celtic Sea and division VIIj in 1982/83

    Grainger, R. J.; Barnwall, E.; Cullen, A. (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, 1983)
    Surveys for herring larvae in the Celtic Sea were conducted between October 1982 ~ and February 1983 for the fifth successive season. To take account of the amalgamation of the Celtic Sea and Div VIIJ herring for assessment purposes and to ascertain if many larval drift into the Irish Sea, the survey grid of previous years was modified for the 1982/83 season. However, because of the nature of the larvae distribution it appears reasonable to compare the larvae index for 1982/83 with those of the previous seasons. The increase in indices since 1978/79 has continued up to 1982/83 indicating a steady, but slow, recovery of the spawning stock. Very few larvae appear to drift into the Irish Sea.
  • Biosensors for the monitoring of harmful algal blooms

    McPartlin, D. A.; Loftus, J. H.; Crawley, A. S.; Silke, J.; Murphy, C. S.; O’Kennedy, R. J. (Elsevier, 2017)
    Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a major global concern due to their propensity to cause environmental damage, healthcare issues and economic losses. In particular, the presence of toxic phytoplankton is a cause for concern. Current HAB monitoring programs often involve laborious laboratory-based analysis at a high cost and with long turnaround times. The latter also hampers the potential to develop accurate and reliable models that can predict HAB occurrence. However, a promising solution for this issue may be in the form of remotely deployed biosensors, which can rapidly and continuously measure algal and toxin levels at the point-of-need (PON), at a low cost. This review summarises the issues HABs present, how they are difficult to monitor and recently developed biosensors that may improve HAB-monitoring challenges.
  • Gbm.auto: A software tool to simplify spatial modelling and Marine Protected Area planning

    Dedman, Simon; Officer, Rick; Clarke, Maurice; Reid, David G.; Brophy, Deirdre (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2017)
    Boosted Regression Trees. Excellent for data-poor spatial management but hard to use Marine resource managers and scientists often advocate spatial approaches to manage data-poor species. Existing spatial prediction and management techniques are either insufficiently robust, struggle with sparse input data, or make suboptimal use of multiple explanatory variables. Boosted Regression Trees feature excellent performance and are well suited to modelling the distribution of data-limited species, but are extremely complicated and time-consuming to learn and use, hindering access for a wide potential user base and therefore limiting uptake and usage. BRTs automated and simplified for accessible general use with rich feature set We have built a software suite in R which integrates pre-existing functions with new tailor-made functions to automate the processing and predictive mapping of species abundance data: by automating and greatly simplifying Boosted Regression Tree spatial modelling, the gbm.auto R package suite makes this powerful statistical modelling technique more accessible to potential users in the ecological and modelling communities. The package and its documentation allow the user to generate maps of predicted abundance, visualise the representativeness of those abundance maps and to plot the relative influence of explanatory variables and their relationship to the response variables. Databases of the processed model objects and a report explaining all the steps taken within the model are also generated. The package includes a previously unavailable Decision Support Tool which combines estimated escapement biomass (the percentage of an exploited population which must be retained each year to conserve it) with the predicted abundance maps to generate maps showing the location and size of habitat that should be protected to conserve the target stocks (candidate MPAs), based on stakeholder priorities, such as the minimisation of fishing effort displacement. Gbm.auto for management in various settings By bridging the gap between advanced statistical methods for species distribution modelling and conservation science, management and policy, these tools can allow improved spatial abundance predictions, and therefore better management, decision-making, and conservation. Although this package was built to support spatial management of a data-limited marine elasmobranch fishery, it should be equally applicable to spatial abundance modelling, area protection, and stakeholder engagement in various scenarios.
  • Evaluation of Non-destructive Molecular Diagnostics for the Detection of Neoparamoeba perurans

    Downes, Jamie K.; Rigby, Megan L.; Taylor, Richard S.; Maynard, Ben T.; MacCarthy, Eugene; O'Connor, Ian; Marcos-Lopez, Mar; Rodger, Hamish D.; Collins, Evelyn; Ruane, Neil M.; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2017)
    Amoebic gill disease (AGD) caused by Neoparamoeba perurans, has emerged in Europe as a significant problem for the Atlantic salmon farming industry. Gross gill score is the most widely used and practical method for determining AGD severity on farms and informing management decisions on disease mitigation strategies. As molecular diagnosis of AGD remains a high priority for much of the international salmon farming industry, there is a need to evaluate the suitability of currently available molecular assays in conjunction with the most appropriate non-destructive sampling methodology. The aims of this study were to assess a non-destructive sampling methodology (gill swabs) and to compare a range of currently available real-time polymerase chain-reaction (PCR) assays for the detection of N. perurans. Furthermore a comparison of the non-destructive molecular diagnostics with traditional screening methods of gill scoring and histopathology was also undertaken. The study found that all molecular protocols assessed performed well in cases of clinical AGD with high gill scores. A TaqMan based assay (protocol 1) was the optimal assay based on a range of parameters including % positive samples from a field trial performed on fish with gill scores ranging from 0 to 5. A higher proportion of gill swab samples tested positive by all protocols than gill filament biopsies and there was a strong correlation between gill swabs tested by protocol 1 and gross gill score and histology scores. Screening for N. perurans using protocol 1 in conjunction with non-destructive gill swab samples was shown to give the best results.
  • The GOSHIP A02 Survey 2017 Taking the Pulse and Temperature of the North Atlantic Ocean.

    McGovern, E.; Cusack, C.; Wallace, D.; Croot, P. (The Journal of Ocean Technology, 2017)
  • Fisher's preferences and trade-offs between management options

    Fitzpatrick, Mike; Maravelias, Christos D; Eigaard, Ole Ritzau; Hynes, Stephen; Reid, David (Wiley, 2017)
    Failure to understand the potential responses of fishers to management measures creates a significant risk of revisiting the familiar scenario of perverse and unintended consequences of those measures. This paper reports on a choice experiment survey to evaluate fisher's preferences for various management measures proposed under the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform process, but the conclusions have wider relevance as similar measures are used by comparable fleets in fisheries globally. The survey was conducted with fishers involved in mixed pelagic and demersal fisheries in Ireland, pelagic fisheries in Denmark and demersal fisheries in Greece. Fisheries management policies were characterized by five attributes designed both to cover the principal CFP reform proposals and to integrate ecological, social, economic and institutional factors affecting fisher's decisions. The study uses a random utility modelling framework to reveal the preferences of the fishers across the alternative policy attributes. Results show that while there are generally preferences both for healthy stocks and for maintaining the importance of fishing to the local community, strong interfishery preference differences exist. These differences are most notable in relation to a discard ban and to the use of individual transferable fishing rights, favoured in Denmark, but not in Ireland for instance. The strength of these interfishery differences supports the assertion that there are no panaceas in fisheries management and that solutions should be tailored within the context of specific fisheries. Not doing so could create a significant risk of inappropriately managed fisheries that may lead to unsustainable outcomes.
  • Decreased Performance of Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss Emergence Behaviors Following Embryonic Exposure to Benzo[a]pyrene

    Ostrander, G.K.; Anderson, J.J. (United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1990)
    The sublethal effects induced by a model carcinogen and environmental contaminant on salmonid emergence behaviors have been studied. Rainbow trout embryos were exposed for 24 hours to 25 IAg/mL of benzo[a)pyrene 1 week prior to hatching. Exposures occurred during the late organogenesis period of development and allowed assessment of how a single embryonic exposure might affect emergence behaviors nearly 6 weeks later. Though no differences in numbers of alevins successfully emerging were observed, a significant decrease was noted in performance of the upstream orientation behaviors characteristic ofemergence among wild individuals.These findings are discussed in terms ofa model describing the role of upstream swimming behavior after emergence.
  • Evidence for long-term change in length, mass and migration phenology of anadromous spawners in French Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

    Bal, G.; Montorio, L.; Rivot, E.; Prévost, E.; Baglinière, J.-L.; Nevoux, M. (Wiley, 2017)
    This study provides new data on Atlantic salmon Salmo salar life‐history traits across France. Using a long‐term recreational angling database (1987–2013) covering 34 rivers in three regions (genetic units), a decline in individual length, mass and a delayed adult return to French rivers was reported. Temporal similarities in trait variations between regions may be attributed to common change in environmental conditions at sea. The relative rate of change in phenotypic traits was more pronounced in early maturing fish [1 sea‐winter (1SW) fish] than in late maturing fish (2SW fish). Such contrasted response within populations highlights the need to account for the diversity in life histories when exploring mechanisms of phenotypic change in S. salar. Such detailed life‐history data on returning S. salar have not previously been reported from France. This study on French populations also contributes to reducing the gap in knowledge by providing further empirical evidence of a global pattern in S. salar across its distribution range. Results are consistent with the hypothesis that the observed changes in life‐history traits are primarily associated with environmental changes in the North Atlantic Ocean. They also emphasize the presence of less important, but still significant contrasts between region and life history.
  • A field deployable method for a rapid screening analysis of inorganic arsenic in seaweed.

    Bralatei, Edi; Nekrosiute, Karolina; Ronan, Jenny; Raab, Andrea; McGovern, Evin; Stengel, Dagmar B.; Krupp, Eva M.; Feldmann, Joerg (Springer Nature, 2017)
    Inorganic arsenic (iAs) in 13 store-bought edible seaweed samples and 34 dried kelp (Laminaria digitata) samples was determined by a newly developed, field-deployable method (FDM) with the aid of a field test kit for arsenic in water. Results from the FDM were compared to results from speciation analysis achieved by using high performance liquid chromatography coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (HPLC-ICP-MS). The FDM consisted of a simple extraction method using diluted HNO3 to quantitatively extract iAs without decomposing the organoarsenicals to iAs followed by the selective volatilisation of iAs as arsine (AsH3) and subsequent chemo-trapping on a filter paper soaked in mercury bromide (HgBr2) solution. Method optimization with a sub-set of samples showed 80–94% iAs recovery with the FDM with no matrix effect from organo-arsenic species in the form of dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) on the iAs concentration. The method displayed good reproducibility with an average error of ±19% and validation by HPLC-ICP-MS showed that the results from the FDM were comparable (slope = 1.03, R2 = 0.70) to those from speciation analysis with no bias. The FDM can be conducted within an hour and the observed limit of quantification was around 0.05 mg kg−1 (dry weight). This method is well suited for on-site monitoring of iAs in seaweed before it is harvested and can thus be recommended for use as a screening method for iAs in seaweed.
  • Latitude and lake size are important predictors of over-lake atmospheric stability

    Woolway, R. Iestyn; Verburg, Piet; Merchant, Christopher J.; Lenters, John D.; Hamilton, David P.; Brookes, Justin; Kelly, Sean; Hook, Simon; Laas, Alo; Pierson, Don; et al. (American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2017)
    Turbulent fluxes across the air‐water interface are integral to determining lake heat budgets, evaporation, and carbon emissions from lakes. The stability of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) influences the exchange of turbulent energy. We explore the differences in over‐lake ABL stability using data from 39 globally distributed lakes. The frequency of unstable ABL conditions varied between lakes from 71 to 100% of the time, with average air temperatures typically several degrees below the average lake surface temperature. This difference increased with decreasing latitude, resulting in a more frequently unstable ABL and a more efficient energy transfer to and from the atmosphere, toward the tropics. In addition, during summer the frequency of unstable ABL conditions decreased with increasing lake surface area. The dependency of ABL stability on latitude and lake size has implications for heat loss and carbon fluxes from lakes, the hydrologic cycle, and climate change effects.
  • Food for thought: pretty good multispecies yield

    Rindorf, Anna; Dichmont, Catherine Mary; Levin, Phillip S.; Mace, Pamela; Pascoe, Sean; Prellezo, Raul; Punt, André E.; Reid, David G.; Stephenson, Robert; Ulrich, Clara; et al. (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2017)
    MSY principles for marine fisheries management reflect a focus on obtaining continued high catches to provide food and livelihoods for humanity, while not compromising ecosystems. However, maintaining healthy stocks to provide the maximum sustainable yield on a single-species basis does not ensure that broader ecosystem, economic, and social objectives are addressed. We investigate how the principles of a “pretty good yield” range of fishing mortalities assumed to provide .95% of the average yield for a single stock can be expanded to a pretty good multispecies yield (PGMY) space and further to pretty good multidimensional yield to accommodate situations where the yield from a stock affects the ecosystem, economic and social benefits, or sustainability. We demonstrate in a European example that PGMY is a practical concept. As PGMY provides a safe operating space for management that adheres to the principles ofMSY, it allows the consideration of other aspects to be included in operational management advice in both data-rich and data-limited situations. PGMY furthermore provides a way to integrate advice across stocks, avoiding clearly infeasible management combinations, and thereby hopefully increasing confidence in scientific advice.
  • Advanced Spatial Modeling to Inform Management of Data-Poor Juvenile and Adult Female Rays

    Dedman, Simon; Officer, Rick; Brophy, Deirdre; Clarke, Maurice; Reid, David G. (MDPI AG, 2017)
    Chronic overfishing has depleted numerous elasmobranch stocks in the North East Atlantic, but addressing this issue has been hampered by management complications and lacking data. Spatial management approaches have thus been advocated. This work presents a novel application and further development of an advanced spatial modeling technique to identify candidate nursery grounds and spawning areas for conservation, by subsetting already limited data. Boosted Regression Tree models are used to predict abundance of juvenile and mature female cuckoo (Leucoraja naevus), thornback (Raja clavata), blonde (Raja brachyura), and spotted (Raja montagui) rays in the Irish Sea using fish survey data and data describing fishing pressure, predation and environmental variables. Model-predicted spatial abundance maps of these subsets reveal distinct nuances in species distributions with greater predictive power than maps of the whole stock. These resulting maps are then integrated into a single easily understood map using a novel approach, standardizing and facilitating the spatial management of data-limited fish stocks.
  • Moving beyond the MSY concept to reflect multidimensional fisheries management objectives

    Rindorf, Anna; Mumford, John; Baranowski, Paul; Clausen, Lotte Worsøe; García, Dorleta; Hintzen, Niels T.; Kempf, Alexander; Leach, Adrian; Levontin, Polina; Mace, Pamela; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2017)
    Maximising the long term average catch of single stock fisheries as prescribed by the globally-legislated MSY objective is unlikely to ensure ecosystem, economic, social and governance sustainability unless an effort is made to explicitly include these considerations. We investigated how objectives to be maximised can be combined with sustainability constraints aiming specifically at one or more of these four sustainability pillars. The study was conducted as a three-year interactive process involving 290 participating science, industry, NGO and management representatives from six different European regions. Economic considerations and inclusive governance were generally preferred as the key objectives to be maximised in complex fisheries, recognising that ecosystem, social and governance constraints are also key aspects of sustainability in all regions. Relative preferences differed between regions and cases but were similar across a series of workshops, different levels of information provided and the form of elicitation methods used as long as major shifts in context or stakeholder composition did not occur. Maximising inclusiveness in governance, particularly the inclusiveness of affected stakeholders, was highly preferred by participants across the project. This suggests that advice incorporating flexibility in the interpretation of objectives to leave room for meaningful inclusiveness in decision-making processes is likely to be a prerequisite for stakeholder buy-in to management decisions.
  • Inclusion of ecological, economic, social, and institutional considerations when setting targets and limits for multispecies fisheries

    Rindorf, Anna; Dichmont, Catherine M.; Thorson, James; Charles, Anthony; Clausen, Lotte Worsøe; Degnbol, Poul; Garcia, Dorleta; Hintzen, Niels T.; Kempf, Alexander; Levin, Phillip; et al. (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2017)
    Targets and limits for long-term management are used in fisheries advice to operationalize the way management reflects societal priorities on ecological, economic, social and institutional aspects. This study reflects on the available published literature as well as new research presented at the international ICES/Myfish symposium on targets and limits for long term fisheries management. We examine the inclusion of ecological, economic, social and institutional objectives in fisheries management, with the aim of progressing towards including all four objectives when setting management targets or limits, or both, for multispecies fisheries. The topics covered include ecological, economic, social and governance objectives in fisheries management, consistent approaches to management, uncertainty and variability, and fisheries governance. We end by identifying ten ways to more effectively include multiple objectives in setting targets and limits in ecosystem based fisheries management.
  • Balanced harvesting can emerge from fishing decisions by individual fishers in a small-scale fishery

    Plank, Michael J; Kolding, Jeppe; Law, Richard; Gerritsen, Hans D; Reid, David (Wiley, 2016)
    Catching fish in proportion to their productivity, termed balanced harvesting, has been suggested as a basis for the ecosystem approach to fishing. Balanced harvesting has been criticized as uneconomical and unachievable because of the level of micromanagement it would require. Here, we investigate the consequences of allowing a fixed number of fishers in a small‐scale fishery to choose what size fish to attempt to catch. We examine this from a game‐theoretic perspective and test our predictions using an agent‐based model for fishers’ decisions coupled with a size‐spectrum model for the dynamics of a single fish species. We show that small‐scale gillnet fishers, operating without size‐based regulations, would end up catching small and large fish in proportion to their productivity, in other words balanced harvesting. This is significant because it shows that, far from being unachievable, balanced harvesting can emerge without external intervention under some circumstances. Controls are needed to prevent overfishing, but minimum size regulations alone are not sufficient to achieve this, and actually reduce the sustainable yield by confining fishing to a relatively unproductive part of the size‐spectrum. Our findings are particularly relevant for small‐scale fisheries in areas where there is poverty and malnutrition because here provision of biomass for food is more important than the market value of the catch.
  • Cruise report: Irish Anglerfish & Megrim Survey 2019

    Kelly, E.; Stokes, D.; O'Cuaig, M.; Moore, S.J.; White, J.; Bouch, P.; Gerritsen, H.D. (Marine Institute, 2019)
    The 2019 Irish Anglerfish and Megrim Survey (IAMS) took place from 1-25th March (area 7bcjk) and 16-25th April 2019 (area 6a) on RV Celtic Explorer. The main objective of the survey is to obtain biomass and abundance indices for anglerfish (Lophius piscatorius and L. budegassa) and megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis and L. boscii) in areas 6a (south of 58°N) and 7 (west of 8°W). Secondary objectives are to collect data on the distribution, relative abundance and biology of other commercially exploited species. This year, additional sampling took place in deep water (up to 1,500m) in order to monitor the recovery of exploited deep-water species following the decline of the deep-water fisheries in Irish waters. The IAMS survey is coordinated with the Scottish Anglerfish and Megrim Survey (SIAMISS) and uses the same gear and fishing practices.
  • Using Hydroacoustics to Describe Pelagic Fish Distribution in the Penobscot Estuary, Maine

    O’Malley, Michael B.; Saunders, Rory; Stevens, Justin R.; Jech, J. Michael; Sheehan, Timothy F. (Taylor & Francis, 2017)
    Temperate estuaries are inherently variable and productive ecosystems that provide nursery habitat, migration pathways, and forage areas for diadromous, estuarine, and marine fish. We used multifrequency scientific echo sounders (SIMRAD EK60 split‐beam, 38 and 120 kHz) to describe the distribution of pelagic fish in the Penobscot River estuary, Maine, in 2012 and 2013. Differences in responses between frequencies were used to distinguish fish from other biota. Acoustic area backscatter from echo integration (sA [m2/nautical mile2], a common measure proportional to fish density) and target strength (TS; dB re 1 m2, an acoustic measure of fish size) distributions varied with season and salinity. Overall, the sA and TS distributions were similar in both years, with detectable spatial and temporal patterns. The highest value of sA occurred in July of both years, when dense schools of fish were detected in higher‐salinity areas of the lower estuary. The middle estuary had high sA values in April both years, particularly in the vicinity of the seawater–freshwater interface. The mixing area in the middle estuary stratum appears to be important fish habitat; we found fish in this area throughout the year. Fish of variable TS were using this mixing zone throughout the survey period. In full freshwater, upstream from the salinity mixing area, sA was generally low. The majority (~77%) of discrete fish detected had TS values less than −42 dB. The TS distributions varied seasonally, with the highest TS measurements occurring more frequently in April and May and the lowest ones occurring most frequently in July and August. This study demonstrates the efficacy of using a mobile hydroacoustic survey to assess pelagic fish distribution in a complex estuary and may provide a template for long‐term monitoring in dynamic estuarine ecosystems.

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