• Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey Cruise Report March 27- April 16, 2009

      O'Donnell, C; Mullins, E; Johnston, G; Saunders, R; Beattie, S; McCann, K; Lyons, K; Brkic, Z; O'Leary, E (Marine Institute, 2009)
      Acoustic surveys on the blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) stock in the north east Atlantic have been carried out by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Norway since the early 1970s. In the early 1980s a coordinated acoustic survey approach was adopted, with both Russia and Norway participating to estimate the size of this migratory stock within its key spawning grounds. Since 2004, the coordinated survey program has expanded and to include vessels from the EU (Ireland and the Netherlands) and the Faroes. Due to the highly migratory nature of the stock a large geographical area has to be surveyed. Spawning takes place from January through to April along the shelf break and offshore Banks including the Rosemary, Hatton and Rockall Banks. Peak spawning occurs between mid- March and mid April and acoustic surveys are timed to occur during this phase. To facilitate a more coordinated spatio-temporal approach to the survey, participating countries meet annually to discuss survey methods and define target areas at the ICES led Planning Group of Northern Pelagic Ecosystem Surveys (PGNAPES). Data from the annual spawning stock abundance survey (March/April, western waters), juvenile surveys (May, Norwegian Sea and January-March, Barents Sea trawl survey) and commercial landings data are presented annually at the ICES Working Group of Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWDS). Ultimately, combined data inputs into the management and catch advice for this international cross boundary stock. The 2009 survey was part of an International collaborative survey using the vessels RV Celtic Explorer (Ireland), RV Fridtjof Nansen (Russia), RV Tridens (Netherlands) and the RV Magnus Heinason (Faroes) and the FV Brennholm (Norwegian commercial charter). The total combined area coverage in 2009 extended from the Faroe Islands in the north (62°N) to south of Ireland (51.30°N), with east -west extension from 5°-18° W. Combined area coverage included shelf break areas (>250m) and large bathymetric features including the slope areas of the Porcupine, Rockall and Hatton Banks. The Irish component of the survey was made up of transects covering 2,545nmi (nautical miles) covering the slope areas (>250m) of the Hebrides shelf, the eastern fringes of the Rockall Bank, the Rockall Trough and the southern slopes of the Hatton Bank. This survey represents the 6th survey in the Irish time series.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey Cruise Report Spring 2007

      O'Donnell, C; Mullins, E; Johnston, G; Beattie, S; Ullgren, J; Heino, M; Anthonypillai, V (Marine Institute, 2007)
      Acoustic surveys on the blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) stock in the north east Atlantic have been carried out since the early 1970s by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Norway. In the early 1980s a coordinated acoustic survey approach was adopted, with both Russia and Norway participating to estimate the size of this migratory stock within its key spawning grounds. Since 2004, the coordinated survey program has expanded and now includes vessels from the Netherlands, Faroes and Ireland in addition to those from the Russian Federation and Norway. Due to the highly migratory nature of the stock, a large geographical area has to be surveyed. Spawning takes place from January through to April, with a peak time between mid-March and early April. Consequently acoustic surveys are routinely carried out during the peak spawning period within known geographic confines. To facilitate a more coordinated spatiotemporal approach to this spawning stock survey, participating countries meet annually to discuss survey methods and define target areas at the ICES led Planning Group of Northern Pelagic Ecosystem Surveys (PGNAPES). Data from the annual spawning stock abundance survey (March/April), juvenile surveys (May) and commercial landings data are presented annually at the ICES led Northern Pelagic and Blue Whiting Fisheries Working Group (WGNPBW). Ultimately, combined data inputs into the management and catch advice for this cross boundary stock. The 2007 survey was part of an International collaborative survey using the vessels RV “Celtic Explorer” (Marine Institute, Ireland), RV “Atlantida” (AtlantNIRO, Russian Federation), RV “Tridens” (IMARES, Netherlands) and the RV “Magnus Heinason” (FRS, Faroes) and the FV “Eros” (IMR commercial charter). The total combined area coverage in 2007 extended from the Faroe Islands in the north (61.30°N) to south of Ireland (50.30°N), with east –west extension from 5°-19° W. Combined area coverage included shelf break areas (>200m) and large bathymetric features including the Porcupine, Rockall and Hatton Banks. The Irish component of the survey was made up of transects covering 2,624 nmi (nautical miles) covering the north Porcupine area, the eastern and western fringes of the Rockall Bank and the western slopes of the Hatton Bank. This survey represents the 4th survey in the Irish time series.
    • Northwest Herring Acoustic Survey Report, 18 June – 07 July, 2010

      O'Donnell, C; Mullins, E; Lyons, K; Sullivan, M; Kavanagh, L; Bunn, R; Beattie, S; McAuliffe, M; Griffin, N; Boyd, J (Marine Institute, 2010)
      The northwest and west coast (ICES Divisions VIaS & VIIb, c) herring acoustic survey programme was first established in 1994. Prior to acoustic estimation, a larval survey programme was conducted from 1981-1986. In the early 1990s, the ICES herring working group (HAWG) identified the need for a dedicated herring acoustic survey in this area (Anon, 1994). From 1994 to 1996 surveys were carried out on this stock during the summer feeding phase. In 1997 a two-survey spawning survey was established covering both autumn and winter components. In 2004, this was modified into single spawning stock survey was carried out early in quarter 1 which continued until 2007. In 2008, it was decided that this survey should be incorporated into the larger coordinated Malin shelf survey on recommendation from SGHERWAY and WGHAWG. The summer 2010 survey represents the third in the new time series (est. in 2008). The Irish component was carried out concurrently with the West of Scotland (MarLab) and Irish Sea surveys (AFBI) and was coordinated through the ICES Working Group of International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS). Combined survey data on herring distribution, abundance and age are used to provide a measure of the relative abundance of herring within the Malin shelf stock complex. Survey data on stock numbers at age are submitted to the ICES Herring Assessment Working Group (HAWG) and used in the annual stock assessment process. The northwest and west coast (ICES Divisions VIaS & VIIb) herring stock is composed of 2 of spawning components, autumn and winter spawners. Spawning covers a large geographical area and extends over a 4-month period from late September through to late March (Molloy et al, 2000). Traditionally fishing effort has been concentrated on spawning and pre-spawning aggregations. The autumn spawning component, which mostly occurs within VIIb and VIaS, feeds along the shelf break area to the west of the spawning grounds. The winter spawning component is found further north in VIaS. In VIaS, summer distribution extends from close inshore to the shelf break. Components of the winter spawning fish are known to undertake northward feeding migration into VIaN before returning in the winter to spawn along the Irish coast.