• Western European Shelf Pelagic Acoustic Survey (WESPAS), 03 June – 12 July, 2020

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; O’Malley, M.; Smith, T.; O’Brien, S.; Mullins, E.; Connaughton, P.; Perez Tadeo, M.; Barile, C. (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, and the boarfish acoustic survey. 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 the north and west of Ireland from 54°N to 58°30’N. The boarfish survey was conducted from 2011 using a chartered fishing vessel and reported the abundance of spawning aggregations of boarfish from 47°N to 57°N. In 2016 both surveys were combined into the WESPAS survey and have been carried out onboard the RV Celtic Explorer over a 42-day period, providing synoptic coverage of shelf waters from 47°30’N northwards to 58°30’N. Age stratified relative stock abundance estimates of boarfish, herring and horse mackerel within the survey area were calculated using acoustic data and biological data from trawl sampling. Stock estimates of boarfish and horse mackerel were submitted to the ICES assessment Working Group for Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE) meeting in August 2020. Herring estimates are submitted to the Herring Assessment Working Group (HAWG) meeting in March every year. Survey performance will be reviewed at the ICES Planning Group meeting for International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS) meeting in January 2021.