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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  • Western European Shelf Pelagic Acoustic Survey (WESPAS) 13 June - 24 July, 2019

    O’Donnell, C.; O’Malley, M.; Lynch, D.; Mullins, E.; Connaughton, P.; Power, J.; Long, A.; Croot, P. (Marine Institute, 2020)
    The WESPAS survey program is the consolidation of two existing survey programs carried out by FEAS. The Malin Shelf herring acoustic survey has been carried out annually since 2008 and reports on the annual abundance of summer feeding aggregations of herring to the west of Scotland and to the north and west of Ireland from 54°N to 58°30’N. The boarfish survey was carried out from 2011 using a chartered fishing vessel and reports on the abundance of spawning aggregations of boarfish from 47°N to 57°N. In 2016 both surveys were combined and carried out onboard the RV Celtic Explorer over a 42 day period providing synoptic coverage of shelf waters from 47°N northwards to 58°30’N.
  • The novel use of pop-off satellite tags (PSATs) to investigate the migratory behaviour of European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax

    O'Neill, R.; Ó Maoiléidigh, N.; McGinnity, P.; Bond, N.; Culloty, S. (Wiley, 2018)
    A total of 12 adult European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax were tagged with pop‐off satellite archival tags (PSAT) in Irish coastal waters and in offshore waters in the north‐east Celtic Sea between 2015 and 2016. Archived data were successfully recovered from five of the 12 tags deployed, three from fish released in inshore Irish waters and two from fish released offshore in the eastern Celtic Sea. All three fish tagged in inshore waters were found to undertake migrations into the open ocean coinciding with the spawning period. These fish also exhibited fidelity to inshore sites post‐migration, returning to the same general location (within c. 73 km, which is roughly the predicted mean accuracy of the method) of their original release site. Although the number of tracks obtained here was limited, some degree of aggregation between inshore and offshore tagged fish in the eastern Celtic Sea was noted during the expected spawning period suggesting PSATs can provide new information on specific spawning locations of European sea bass.
  • Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Tagging Programme in Ireland 2017

    Ó Maoiléidigh, N.; Connolly, P.; Drumm, A.; O'Neill, Ross; Maxwell, H.W.; Cooney, J.; Bunn, R; Tully, D.; Stokesbury, Michael J.W.; Schallert, R.; et al. (Marine Institute, 2017)
    It is important that stock origin, habitat utilisation and large-scale movement patterns of Atlantic bluefin are characterised in detail to ensure that the population models and concepts used in Atlantic bluefin tuna stock assessment and Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) are parameterised as accurately as possible. Investigation of the distribution and movements of Atlantic bluefin tuna in Irish waters is now a priority for Ireland. The ocean waters off south Donegal are now regarded by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) as an important area for Atlantic bluefin tuna and indications are that significant numbers arrive in the area over the period August to November each year. The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) requested that the Marine Institute carry out a bluefin tagging programme in autumn 2016 to support the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) Grand Bluefin Year Programme (GBYP) Atlantic research programme for Bluefin tuna.
  • Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Tagging Programme in Ireland 2016

    Ó Maoiléidigh, N.; Connolly, P.; Drumm, A.; O'Neill, Ross; Maxwell, H.W.; Ó Cuaig, M.; Cooney, J.; Bunn, R; Stokesbury, Michael J.W.; Schallert, R.; et al. (Marine Institute, 2016)
    It is important that stock origin, habitat utilisation and large-scale movement patterns of Atlantic bluefin are characterised in detail to ensure that the population models and concepts used in Atlantic bluefin tuna stock assessment and Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) are parameterised as accurately as possible. Investigation of the distribution and movements of Atlantic bluefin tuna in Irish waters is now a priority for Ireland. The ocean waters off south Donegal are now regarded by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) as an important area for Atlantic bluefin tuna and indications are that significant numbers arrive in the area over the period August to November each year. The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) requested that the Marine Institute carry out a bluefin tagging programme in autumn 2016 to support the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) Grand Bluefin Year Programme (GBYP) Atlantic research programme for Bluefin tuna.
  • Western Irish Sea Nephrops Grounds (FU15) 2019 UWTV Survey Report and catch options for 2020

    Lundy, M.; McCorriston, P.; McCausland, I.; Erskine, K.; Lilley, K.; Heaney, G.; McArdle, J.; Buick, A.; Graham, J.; Reeve, C.; et al. (Marine Institute, 2019)
    This report provides the main results and findings of the 17th annual underwater television survey on the ‘Irish sea west Nephrops grounds’ ICES assessment area, Functional Unit 15. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV and other ecosystem data. The 2019 design consisted of a randomised isometric grid of 100 stations at 4.5 nautical mile intervals out over the full known extent the stock. The resulting krigged burrow abundance estimate was 4.4 billion burrows. This was a similar result of that obtained in 2015, but a 10% lower than the abundance in 2018. In contrast to 2017 the spatial distribution of burrows shows a high density band on the central western area of the survey ground. The abundance remains within previously observed ranges and is above MSY Btrigger. The CV (or relative standard error) of 3% is in line with previous estimates and well below the upper limit of 20% recommended by SGNEPS 2012. Total catches and landings options at various different fishing mortalities were calculated and fishing at Fmsy in 2020 implies a total catch option at Fmsy (=Fmax) of 10,377 tonnes estimated to result in landings of no more than 8,546 tonnes. Sea-pens were observed at 21% of stations with high densities observed in the south-west of the ground. Trawl marks were noted at 15% of the UWTV stations.
  • Herring Fisheries on the South and South-West Coasts 1971-72

    Molloy, J. (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Fisheries Division), 1972)
    The 1971/72 winter herring fishery off the south coast began in the week ending 30 October, 1971, and ended on the 23 February, 1972. The total landing of 79,792 crans was over 30,000 crans (-28%) less than the total landed in the record previous season of the 1970/71. Most of the landings were auctioned at either Dunmore East or Cobh, although small quantities on occasion were landed at Kilmore Quay, Ballycotton and Kinsale. Eighty-three boats - three more than in 1970/71 season - took part in the fishery at various times throughout the season and landings were made on 77 days out of possible 103.
  • Dunmore East Herring Investigations, 1965/66

    Molloy, J. (Department of Lands, 1966)
  • Herring Investigations at Dunmore East - 1962/63

    Bracken, J. J. (Department of Lands, 1963)
  • The Dunmore East Herring Fishery, 1958-59

    Bracken, J. J. (Department of Lands, 1959)
  • Racial analyses of Dunmore East Herring stocks by means of the Otoliths

    Foster, M. (Fisheries Division, Department of Lands., 1963)
    Einarsson (1951) has shown that it is possible to separate in a mixed fishery the winter/spring spawned fish from summer/autumn spawned fish on the basis of the appearance of the nuclei of the otoliths. In general, the winter/spring spawned fish have small hyaline and opaque nuclei, whereas the summer/autumn spawned fish have large hyaline nuclei. Otoliths from herrings taken at Dunmore East in the period 1960 to 1964 were examined and classified using Einarsson's method.
  • The Herring Fisheries off the North coast of Donegal

    Farran, G. (Department of Agriculture, 1937)
    The herring fishery which takes place every spring and early summer off the North Coast of Donegal is one of the most regular and uniform on the coast of Ireland, and, as it has been under close observation from a scientific point of view since 1921, a short account of it will serve to illustrate the aims of modern methods of research and the extent to which these methods can lead to results of practical value.
  • Herring larval surveys in the Celtic Sea in 1981/82

    Barnwall, E.; Cullen, A.; Grainger, R. J. (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, 1982)
    The distributions of herring larvae sampled on ten cruises off the south coast of Ireland during the 1981/82 spawning season are described. A new larval abundance index, which is based on the abundances of <10mm larvae prior to 15 December and on <11mm larvae afterwards,has been calculated for the last four seasons. This index shows an increase each year since 1978/79 indicating that the spawning stock biomass has also increased.
  • The Irish herring fisheries in the twentieth century: their assessment and management

    Molloy, J. (Royal Dublin Society, 1995)
    For many centuries the herring fisheries throughout northern Europe have played a very important part in the economic development of maritime countries. The reason for this is that the herring has been an extremely important source of food for the populations throughout Europe, and the strength and prosperity of many communities depended on the success of the fisheries. The herring fisheries themselves have fluctuated considerably - periods of great abundance of shoals being followed by periods when shoals have been virtually absent from the coasts.
  • Reports from the FSS mini-symposia 2004-2005

    Codling, E.; Kelly, C.; (eds) (Marine Institute, 2006)
    The mini symposia documented in this publication were meetings organised in October 2004 and August 2005 by the 'Modelling and Simulation' team in Fisheries Science Services (FSS) of the Marine Institute, Ireland. Both symposia took place at the Harbour Hotel in Galway, Ireland. Each meeting consisted of a number of presentations (given as talks or posters) followed by a round-table informal discussion session. The two meetings were attended by participants from FSS and the Marine Institute, BIM (Bord Iascaigh Mara - Irish Sea Fisheries Board), FRS (Fisheries Research Services) Aberdeen, and universities in both Ireland and UK. The Appendix contains a full list of the participants at each meeting, while contact details for those who gave presentations are given at the start of each summary paper.
  • Irish Sea Young Herring Survey

    Molloy, J. (An Roinn Iascaigh agus Foraoiseachta, 1979)
    Corrected proof
  • Fecundity studies on herring from the north west of Ireland

    McArdle, E. (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, 1982)
    For some time past studies have been performed on herring fecundities by various scientists. Farren (1938) was the first to suggest that stocks could be separated by studying the different fecundity/length relationship of winter and autumn spawing populations from the Irish coast. Burd and Howlett (1974) calculated a fecundity index by length cubed and as a result clearly separated the spawning populations of Banks and Downs herring in the North Sea. Molloy (1979) regressed fecundity on length cubed for Celtic sea samples and was able to distinguish between the autumn spawning component and the winter spawning component in the Celtic Sea. This paper describes fecundity studies carried out on autumn spawning herring from the newly established management unit (V1a Lower and V11b) off the North west of Ireland. The results are compared with fecundity data from other Irish stocks and with the results obtained by Farran on the same stock over 40 years ago. It may be possible to use these results to calculate the spawning potential of the herring and those spawning off the Scottish coast. The spawning grounds from which these herring were taken are situated a few miles off the North West coast.
  • Mean weights at age in Celtic Sea Herrings

    Molloy, J. (Marine Institute, 2000)
    Stock recruitment analysis for Celtic sea herring suggest that exploitation rates of F >0.4 carry a high probability of long term SSB decline. Fmed, which would carry a much lower risk of reducing the SSB, has been suggested as a candidate for Fpa and most recent analyses give this value at 0.29. However based on last years assessment only 4 of the 41 estimated fishing mortalaties were equal or less than 0.3 while 26 were higher or equal to 0.4 with the series average being F=0.50. This would indicate that F>0.4 does not seem carry a high probability of stock collapse. Thus there is an apparent discrepancy between the analyses and experience.
  • Report on the State of the Herring Fisheries North-West of Ireland and West of Scotland

    Molloy, J. (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, 1970)
  • Strategies for Change in the Irish Herring Industry

    Department of the Marine and Natural Resources (Department of the Marine and Natural Resources, Government Publiations Office, 1998)
  • The Assessment of Irish Pelagic Species

    Molloy, J.; Mullins, E. (Marine Institute, 2001)
    The exploitation of pelagic species, particularly of herring and mackerel has for a long time been one of the most important components of the Irish fishing industry. Fisheries for both species have been responsible for the development of the very successful Irish pelagic fleet and also for the development of a very large processing industry in the Donegal area. The responsibility of assessing the stocks and providing management advice to the main Irish managing authority, The Department of the Marine and Natural Resources, lies with the Marine Fisheries Services Division (MFSD) of the Marine Institute. Both mackerel and herring have been continuously assessed since the 1960’s as a result of programmes carried out under the auspices of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) the international body that co-ordinates research and provides management advice to the EU. However, since the 1980’s both mackerel and herring stocks have been subjected to decreased total allowable catches (TACs) and decreased national quota and tighter management measures as a result of decreases in the stock sizes. This situation has forced the pelagic fleet, particularly that in the North west of Ireland to develop fisheries for alternative species so that it is not totally dependent on mackerel and herring. New fisheries have therefore developed for other pelagic species in recent years. Three species which are now exploited regularly are horse mackerel, (trachurus trachurus), also known as scad .or craig herring; blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) and Norwegian spring spawning herring (clupea harengus) also known as atlanto-scandian herring. When the fisheries for these species first developed there were no restrictions on catches for horse mackerel and blue whiting while catches on the Norwegian spring spawning herring were subject to an international agreement under which the EU was allowed a quota. None of these three species had previously been assessed by any Irish research project and the amount of scientific information was extremely limited. The international assessments carried out by ICES were based on poor data and had no input from Ireland. Ireland had for a number of years been taking significant catches of some species. The Processing Industry in Donegal were concerned that the lack of adequate biological sampling programmes could lead to inappropriate and inaccurate advice for the management of the stocks. This, it was felt, could have serious effects on the industry and would also demonstrate that Ireland had an irresponsible attitude to the development of these fisheries which was inconsistent with the Precautionary Approach to Fisheries Management. Therefore the Donegal Fish Merchants Association decided to co-operate with the Marine Institute to fund an initial biological sampling programmes on horse mackerel, blue whiting and Norwegian spring spawning herring and to make this data available to the relevant ICES Working Group. The objective of the sampling programme was to collect essential biological data necessary to expand the existing international programmes. In addition it was decided to provide an increased scientific input to existing MFSD assessment programmes such as the mackerel and horse mackerel tagging programmes, the international mackerel and horse mackerel egg surveys and the international blue whiting acoustic surveys. All the collected data has been submitted to the relevant ICES Assessment Working Groups from 1999 to 2001.

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