• Atlantic Herring and Horse Mackerel in 6aS/7b; Industry Acoustic Survey Cruise Report

      O'Malley, M.; Blaszkowski, M.; White, Emma; O'Brien, S.; Mullins, E. (Marine Institute, 2019)
      An acoustic survey of Atlantic herring Clupea harengus and horse mackerel Trachurus trachurus was conducted in ICES areas 6aS/7b in Nov 2018 using the pair trawl vessels MFV Eilean Croine S238 and MFV Sparkling Star D437. This survey is the third in a time series that is hoped will be developed into a long-term index of spawning/pre-spawning herring and horse mackerel in 6aS/7b, for use in stock assessments in the future. The survey design was based on the predicted distribution of herring and horse mackerel in this area during this time. In total 1,400nmi of cruise track was completed using 37 transects and related to a total area coverage of approximately 5,600 nmi². Parallel transect spacing was set at 7.5nmi for the wider area strata, and 3.5nmi for Donegal Bay and Achill strata. Coverage extended from inshore coastal areas to the 200 m contour in the west and north where possible. A survey was carried out in Lough Swilly using a zig-zag design. A Simrad ES-38B (38 kHz) split-beam transducer mounted on a towed body was used to collect acoustic raw data. Very strong herring marks were evident in Lough Swilly, an area where boats in the monitoring fishery were concentrating effort. There were a few herring marks in discreet areas around Glen Head, Bruckless Bay, Inishmurray and Inishbofin. A total of four commercial fishing hauls on horse mackerel were completed during the survey. Biological samples from the monitoring fishery of herring were used to augment the samples from the survey. Herring samples were taken from boats fishing in Lough Swilly and Bruckless Bay as close spatially and temporally as possible to the survey in these areas. Herring were dominated overall by 4-wr fish, 29% of the overall numbers. Horse mackerel were distributed throughout the survey area, but particularly throughout the area to the north and west of the Stags of Broadhaven. Horse mackerel length distribution was dominated by a mode at 25-26cm. This corresponded to a dominance of 4-wr fish (~89%) in all of the samples. The total stock biomass (TSB) estimate of herring for the combined 6aS/7b area was 50,145 tonnes (Lough Swilly = 32,372 tonnes, Donegal Bay = 9,517 tonnes, NW area = 7,710 tonnes and the remaining Achill strata = 545 tonnes). This is considered to be a minimum estimate of herring in the 6aS/7b survey area at the time of the survey. The TSB estimate of horse mackerel for the total surveyed area in 6aS/7b area was 57,162 tonnes, considered to be a minimum estimate of horse mackerel in the 6aS/7b survey area at the time of the survey. The CV estimates on biomass and abundance are high (~0.51 for herring and ~ 0.36 for horse mackerel) for the survey in 2018. For herring, this is mostly caused by the over-reliance on a few acoustic marks of herring in Lough Swilly and Bruckless Bay in particular. Horse mackerel are a widely distributed stock, therefore the stock was not contained by this survey.
    • FU19 Nephrops Grounds 2013 UWTV Survey and catch options for 2014

      Lordan, C.; Doyle, J.; Hehir, I.; O’Sullivan, D.; Allsop, C.; O’Connor, S.; Blaszkowski, M.; Butler, R.; Burke, C.; Stewart, P. (Marine Institute, 2013)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the fourth underwater television survey of the various Nephrops grounds in Functional Unit 19. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, CTD, multi-beam and other ecosystem data. In 2013 a total 40 UWTV stations were successfully completed. Adjusted burrow density estimates varied considerably across the different grounds. The 2013 raised abundance estimate of 397 million burrows is a 20% decrease from the 2012 estimate. Taking into account the uncertainty (CV of 17%) this is not significantly different from abundance estimates in 2011 or 2012. Using the 2013 abundance and recent mean weight and discard implies 2014 total catch advice fishing at Fmsy (=F35%spr) of 618 tonnes which results in landings of no more than 521 tonnes.
    • FU19 Nephrops Grounds 2014 UWTV Survey and catch options for 2015

      Lordan, C.; Doyle, J.; Fitzgerald, R.; O'Connor, S.; Blaszkowski, M.; Simpson, S. (Marine Institute, 2014-10)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the fifth underwater television survey of the various Nephrops patches in Functional Unit 19. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, CTD, multi-beam and other ecosystem data. In 2014 a total 40 UWTV stations were successfully completed. The mean density estimates varied considerably across the different patches. The 2014 raised abundance estimate of 636 million burrows was a 31% increase from the 2013 estimate. Taking into account the uncertainty (CV of 15%) this is not significantly different from abundance estimates since 2011. Using the 2014 abundance and recent mean weight and discard parameters would imply total catches of 1119 t fishing at Fmsy in 2015. Based on recent discard patterns which are high in this area; 715 t would be landings and 404 t would be discards. Two species of sea pen were observed; Virgularia mirabilis and Pennatula phosphorea, both species have been observed on previous surveys of FU19.
    • FU19 Nephrops Grounds 2015 UWTV Survey and catch options for 2016

      Lordan, C.; Doyle, J.; Fitzgerald, R.; O’Connor, S.; Blaszkowski, M.; Stokes, D.; Ni Chonchuir, G.; Gallagher, J.; Butler, R.; Sheridan, M.; et al. (Marine Institute, 2015)
      This report provides the main results of the sixth underwater television survey of the various Nephrops patches in Functional Unit 19. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, CTD, multi-beam and other ecosystem data. In 2015 a total 39 UWTV stations were successfully completed. The mean density estimates varied considerably across the different patches. The 2015 raised abundance estimate of 482 million burrows was a 24% decrease from the 2014 estimate. Taking into account the uncertainty (CV of 13%) there is no significant difference in abundance estimates since 2011. Using the 2015 abundance estimate and recent mean weights and discard parameters would imply total catches of 793 t fishing at Fmsy in 2016. This stock will be subject to the landing obligation in 2016 and the calculation of catch options assume that all catches will be landed in 2016. The catch can be partitioned into landings of 543 t and discards of 250 t. The estimated discards rates in FU19 are relatively high and impact of this on the catch options is discussed. One species of sea pen was observed; Virgularia mirabilis which has been observed on previous surveys of FU19.
    • FU19 Nephrops grounds 2018 UWTV survey report and catch scenarios for 2019.

      Aristegui, M.; O’Brien, S.; Blaszkowski, M.; O’Connor, S.; Fitzgerald, R.; Doyle, J. (Marine Institute, 2018)
      This report provides the main results of the ninth underwater television survey of the various Nephrops patches in Functional Unit 19. The survey was multidisciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, multi-beam and other ecosystem data. In 2018 a total 42 UWTV stations were successfully completed. The mean density estimates varied considerably across the different patches. The 2018 raised abundance estimate was a 65% decrease from the 2017 estimate and at 176 million burrows is below the MSY Btrigger (430 million). Using the 2018 estimate of abundance and updated stock data implies catch of 173 tonnes and landings of 130 tonnes in 2018 when MSY approach is applied (assuming that discard rates and fishery selection patterns do not change from the average of 2015–2017). One species of sea pen was observed; Virgularia mirabilis, which has been observed on previous surveys of FU19. Trawl marks were observed at 36% of the stations surveyed.
    • FU19 Nephrops grounds 2020 UWTV survey report and catch scenarios for 2021

      Aristegui, M.; Doyle, J.; O’ Brien, S.; Tully, D.; McAuliffe, M; Fitzgerald, R.; Fee, D.; O'Connor, S.; Galligan, S.; Blaszkowski, M.; et al. (Marine Institute, 2020)
      This report provides the main results of the eleventh underwater television survey of the various Nephrops patches in Functional Unit 19. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, multi-beam and other ecosystem data. In 2020 a total 42 UWTV stations were successfully completed. The mean density estimates varied considerably across the different patches. The 2020 raised abundance estimate was a 20% decrease from the 2019 estimate and at 320 million burrows is below the MSY Btrigger reference point (430 million). Using the 2020 estimate of abundance and updated stock data implies catch in 2021 that correspond to the F ranges in the EU multi annual plan for Western Waters are between 531 and 595 tonnes (assuming that discard rates and fishery selection patterns do not change from the average of 2017–2019). Two species of sea pen were observed; Virgularia mirabilis and Pennatula phosphorea which have been observed on previous surveys of FU19. Trawl marks were observed at 26% of the stations surveyed.
    • Labadie, Jones and Cockburn Banks (FU20-21) 2013 UWTV Survey Report

      Doyle, J.; Lordan, C.; Hehir, I.; O’Sullivan, D.; O’Connor, S.; Blaszkowski, M.; Stewart, P. (Marine Institute, 2013)
      This report provides the main results of the 2013 underwater television survey on the ‘Labadie, Jones and Cockburn Banks’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 20-21. Some exploratory stations were carried out in 2006 and 2012. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, CTD, Multibeam and other ecosystem data. A randomised isometric grid design was employed with UWTV stations at 6.0 nmi intervals. Due to weather and technical downtime only 58 out of the 95 planned stations were successfully completed. The adjusted mean density for 2013 was 0.18/m2 which can be classified as “low density”. Scientific knowledge of the heterogeneous habitat and spatial distribution of the Nephrops population in this area is developing. Survey design and burrow identification are particularly difficult in this area due to factors discussed. The occurrence of sea-pens and trawl marks on the UWTV footage is also presented.
    • The Labadie, Jones and Cockburn Banks Nephrops Grounds (FU20-21) 2019 UWTV Survey Report and catch scenarios for 2020.

      White, J.; Aristegui, M.; Blaszkowski, M.; Fee, D.; O'Connor, S.; Power, J.; Notaro, D. A.; O’ Brien, S.; Doyle, J. (Marine Institute, 2019)
      This report provides the main results of the 2019 underwater television survey on the ‘Labadie, Jones and Cockburn Banks’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 20-21. The 2019 survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, and other ecosystem data. A total of 95 UWTV stations were completed at 6 nm intervals over a randomised isometric grid design. The mean burrow density was 0.06 burrows/m2 compared with 0.27 burrows/m2 in 2018. The 2019 geostatistical abundance estimate was 617 million, a 77% decrease on the abundance for 2018, with a CV of 5% which is well below the upper limit of 20% recommended by SGNEPS 2012. Low densities were observed throughout the ground. Using the 2019 estimate of abundance and updated stock data implies catch in 2020 that correspond to the F ranges in the EU multi annual plan for Western Waters are between 1131 and 1150 tonnes (assuming that discard rates and fishery selection patterns do not change from the average of 2016–2018). One species of sea-pen (Virgularia mirabilis) were recorded as present at the stations surveyed. Trawl marks were observed at 32% of the stations surveyed.
    • The Labadie, Jones and Cockburn Banks Nephrops Grounds (FU2021) 2015 UWTV Survey Report and catch options for 2016

      Lordan, C.; Doyle, J.; Fitzgerald, R.; O’Connor, S.; Blaszkowski, M.; Stokes, D.; Ni Chonchuir, G.; Gallagher, J.; Butler, R.; Sheridan, M.; et al. (Marine Institute, 2015)
      This report provides the main results of the 2015 underwater television survey on the ‘Labadie, Jones and Cockburn Banks’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 20-21. This was the second survey to achieve full coverage of the full area. The 2015 survey was multidisciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, CTD and other ecosystem data. A total of 96 UWTV stations were completed at 6 nmi intervals over a randomised isometric grid design. The mean burrow density was 0.20 burrows/m2 compared with 0.19 burrows/m2 in 2014. The 2015 geostatistical abundance estimate was 2.0±0.02 billion a 2% decrease on the abundance for 2014 with a CV of 3% which is well below the upper limit of 20% recommended by SGNEPS 2012. Highest densities were general observed towards the north and southwest of the ground, and there were also high densities observed close to boundaries. Using the 2015 abundance estimate and updated stock data implies catch of 3045 tonnes and landings of 2225 tonnes. Only one species of sea pen Virgilaria mirabilis was recorded as present at the stations surveyed. Trawl marks were observed at 30% of the stations surveyed.
    • The Labadie, Jones and Cockburn Banks Nephrops Grounds (FU2021) 2020 UWTV Survey Report and catch scenarios for 2021.

      Aristegui, M.; Tully, D.; Blaszkowski, M.; Doyle, J.; Fee, D.; O'Connor, S.; White, J. (Marine Institute, 2020)
      This report provides the main results of the 2020 underwater television survey on the ‘Labadie, Jones and Cockburn Banks’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 2021. The 2020 survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, and other ecosystem data. A total of 97 UWTV stations were completed at 6nm intervals over a randomised isometric grid design. The mean burrow density was 0.102 burrows/m2 compared with 0.06 burrows/m2 in 2019. The 2020 geostatistical abundance estimate was 1020 million, a 65% increase on the abundance from 2019, with a CV of 5%, which is well below the upper limit of 20% recommended by SGNEPS 2012. Low to medium densities were observed throughout the ground. Using the 2020 estimate of abundance and updated stock data implies catch in 2021 that correspond to the F ranges in the EU multi annual plan for Western Waters are between 1682 and 1710 tonnes (assuming that discard rates and fishery selection patterns do not change from the average of 2017–2019). One species of sea-pen (Virgularia mirabilis) were recorded as present at the stations surveyed. Trawl marks were observed at 36% of the stations surveyed.
    • Porcupine Bank Nephrops Grounds (FU16) 2013 UWTV Survey Report and catch options for 2014

      Lordan, C.; Doyle, J.; O'Connor, S.; Hehir, I.; Fitzgerald, R.; Blaszkowski, M.; O'Sullivan, D.; O’Donovan, S.; Salaun, M.; Stewart4, P. (Marine Institute, 2013)
      This report provides the results of the second underwater television on the ‘Porcupine Bank Nephrops grounds’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 16. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, CTD and other ecosystem data. In total 68 UWTV stations were successfully completed in a randomised 6 nautical mile isometric grid covering the full spatial extent of the stock. The mean burrow density observed in 2013, adjusted for edge effect, was 0.106 burrows/m². The final krigged abundance estimate was 768 million burrows with a relative standard error of 4% and an estimated stock area of 7,100km2. The abundance estimate was 2% lower than in 2012. Landings options at various different fishing mortalities were calculated in line with the recommendations of WKNEPH 2013. Fishing at Fmsy in 2014 implies a slight increase in the TAC from 1,800 t to 1,850 t. This increase is mainly due to an increase in average mean weight of the landings. The three species of sea-pen found on muddy habitat in Irish waters are Virgularia mirabilis, Funiculina quadrangularis and Pennatula phosphorea were all observed during the survey. Trawl marks were also observed on over half of the stations surveyed.
    • Porcupine Bank Nephrops Grounds (FU16) 2020 UWTV Survey Report and catch scenarios for 2021

      Aristegui, M.; Blaszkowski, M.; Doyle, J.; Hehir, I.; Lynch, D.; Ryan, G.; Lordan, C. (Marine Institute, 2020)
      This report provides the results of the eighth underwater television on the ‘Porcupine Bank Nephrops grounds’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 16. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV and other ecosystem data. In total 65 UWTV stations were successfully completed in a randomised 6 nautical mile isometric grid covering the full spatial extent of the stock. The mean burrow density observed in 2020, adjusted for edge effect, was 0.17 burrows/m². The final krigged abundance estimate was 1264 million burrows with a CV of 4% and an estimated stock area of 7,130 km2. The 2020 abundance estimate was 25% higher than in 2019. Using the 2020 estimate of abundance and updated stock data implies catches between 2653 and 3290 tonnes in 2021 that correspond to the F ranges in the EU multiannual plan for Western Waters (assuming that all catch is landed). Four species of sea-pen; Virgularia mirabilis, Funiculina quadrangularis, Pennatula phosphorea and the deepwater sea-pen Kophobelemnon stelliferum were observed during the survey. Trawl marks were also observed on 22% of the stations surveyed.
    • Porcupine Bank Nephrops Grounds (FU16) 2021 UWTV Survey Report and catch scenarios for 2022

      Aristegui, M.; Blaszkowski, M.; Doyle, Jennifer; O'Brien, S.; Hehir, Imelda; Bentley, K.; Fitzgerald, Ross (Marine Institute, 2021)
      This report provides the results of the ninth underwater television on the ‘Porcupine Bank Nephrops grounds’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 16. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV and other ecosystem data. In total 71 UWTV stations were successfully completed in a randomised 6 nautical mile isometric grid covering the full spatial extent of the stock. The mean burrow density observed in 2021, adjusted for edge effect, was 0.14 burrows/m². The final krigged abundance estimate was 1018 million burrows with a CV of 5% and an estimated stock area of 7,130 km2. The 2021 abundance estimate was 19% lower than in 2020. Using the 2021 estimate of abundance and updated stock data imply that catches in 2022 should be no more than 2804 tonnes, according to the EU MAP and ICES MSY approach (assuming that all catch is landed). Four species of sea-pen (Virgularia mirabilis, Funiculina quadrangularis, Pennatula phosphorea and the deepwater sea-pen Kophobelemnon stelliferum) were observed during the survey. Trawl marks were also observed on 38% of the stations surveyed.
    • The “Smalls” Nephrops Grounds (FU22) 2014 UWTV Survey Report and catch options for 2015

      Lordan, C.; Doyle, J.; Fitzgerald, R.; O'Connor, S.; Blaszkowski, M.; Simpson, S. (Marine Institute, 2014-10)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the ninth annual underwater television survey on the ‘Smalls grounds’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 22. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, CTD and other ecosystem data. A total of 52 stations UWTV stations were carried out over an isometric grid at 4.5nmi or 8.3km intervals. The krigged burrow abundance estimate for the Smalls ground increased by 22% relative to 2013 and was the highest in the 9 year time series. The final abundance estimate was 1,622 million with a CV of 8% which is well below the upper limit of 20% recommended by SGNEPS 2012. Using the 2014 estimate of abundance and recent mean weight and discard data would imply total catches at Fmsy in 2015 of 3,797t. This implies landings of 3,409 tonnes. Temperature on the seabed varied by 2oC over the Nephrops ground with coldest values around 9.4oC in the deepest part of the area. Only one species of sea pen Virgilaria mirabilis was recorded as present at 46% of the stations surveyed. Trawl marks were observed at 28% of the stations surveyed.
    • The “Smalls” Nephrops Grounds (FU22) 2015 UWTV Survey Report and catch options for 2016

      Lordan, C.; Doyle, J.; Fitzgerald, R.; O’Connor, S.; Blaszkowski, M.; Butler, R. (Marine Institute, 2015)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the tenth annual underwater television survey on the ‘Smalls grounds’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 22. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, CTD and other ecosystem data. A total of 33 UWTV stations were surveyed successfully (good quality video footage) carried out over an isometric grid at 4.5nmi or 8.3km intervals. Of the planned stations 17% (7) could not be completed due to very poor or nil visibility conditions encountered at seabed. For these stations density estimates were filled-in using and average of historic values within 2nmi. The resulting krigged burrow abundance estimate for the Smalls ground decreased by 16% relative to 2014. The final abundance estimate was 1,363 million. The precision, with a CV of 7%, was well below the upper limit of 20% recommended by SGNEPS 2012. Using the 2015 estimate of abundance and updated stock data implies catch of 3,027 tonnes and landings of 2634 tonnes in 2016 fishing at Fmsy (assuming that all catch is landed). Only one species of sea pen Virgilaria mirabilis was recorded as present at the stations surveyed. Trawl marks were observed at 12% of the stations surveyed.
    • The “Smalls” Nephrops Grounds (FU22) 2017 UWTV Survey Report and catch options for 2018

      O’Brien, S.; Blaszkowski, M.; Butler, R.; Fee, D.; Hernon, P.; Santana, C.; Lordan, C.; Doyle, J. (Marine Institute, 2017)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the twelfth annual underwater television survey on the ‘Smalls grounds’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 22. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, CTD and other ecosystem data. A total of 40 UWTV stations were surveyed successfully (good quality video footage) carried out over an isometric grid at 4.5nmi or 8.3km intervals. The precision, with a CV of 5%, was well below the upper limit of 20% recommended by SGNEPS 2012. The 2017 abundance estimate was 16% higher than in 2016 and at 1600 million is above the new MSY Btrigger (990 million). Using the 2017 estimate of abundance and updated stock data implies catch of 4,332 tonnes and landings of 3,784 tonnes in 2018 when MSY approach is applied (assuming that discard rates and fishery selection patterns do not change from the average of 2014–2016). Only one species of sea-pen Virgilaria mirabilis was recorded as present at the stations surveyed. Trawl marks were observed at 59% of the stations surveyed. Ten beam trawl tows were carried out providing important data on the benthic communities and size structure of the Nephrops population.
    • The “Smalls” Nephrops Grounds (FU22) 2018 UWTV Survey Report and catch scenarios for 2019.

      Aristegui, M.; O’ Brien, S.; Blaszkowski, M.; O’Connor, S.; Fitzgerald, R.; Doyle, J. (Marine Institute, 2018)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the thirteenth annual underwater television survey on the ‘Smalls grounds’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 22. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, CTD and other ecosystem data. A total of 42 UWTV stations were surveyed successfully (good quality video footage), carried out over an isometric grid at 4.5nmi or 8.3km intervals. The precision, with a CV of 9%, was well below the upper limit of 20% recommended by SGNEPS (ICES, 2012). The 2018 abundance estimate was 45% lower than in 2017 and at 876 million is below the MSY Btrigger reference point (990 million). Using the 2018 estimate of abundance and updated stock data implies catch of 2,084 tonnes and landings of 1,780 tonnes in 2019 when the MSY approach is applied (assuming that discard rates and fishery selection patterns do not change from the average of 2015–2017). Two species of sea pens were recorded as present at the stations surveyed: Virgularia mirabilis and Pennatula phosphorea. Trawl marks were observed at 55% of the stations surveyed. Nine beam trawl tows were carried out, providing important data on the benthic communities and size structure of the Nephrops population.
    • The “Smalls” Nephrops Grounds (FU22) 2020 UWTV Survey Report and catch scenarios for 2021

      Aristegui, M.; Blaszkowski, M.; Doyle, J.; Ryan, G.; McAuliffe, M (Marine Institute, 2020)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the fifteenth annual underwater television survey on the ‘Smalls grounds’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 22. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV and other ecosystem data. A total of 40 UWTV stations were surveyed successfully (high quality image data), carried out over an isometric grid at 4.5nmi or 8.3km intervals. The precision, with a CV of 8%, was well below the upper limit of 20% recommended by SGNEPS (ICES, 2012). The 2020 abundance estimate was 33% lower than in 2019 and at 750 million is below the MSY Btrigger reference point (990 million). Using the 2020 estimate of abundance and updated stock data implies catch in 2021 that correspond to the F ranges in the EU multi annual plan for Western Waters are between 1238 and 1560 tonnes (assuming that discard rates and fishery selection patterns do not change from the average of 2017–2019). One species of sea pens was recorded as present at the stations surveyed: Virgularia mirabilis. Trawl marks were observed at 48% of the stations surveyed.