• Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey Cruise Report and Biomass Estimate, 2007

      O'Donnell, C; Egan, A; Lynch, D; Dransfeld, L; Boyd, J; Lyons, K; Wall, D (Marine Institute, 2007)
      In the southwest of Ireland and the Celtic Sea (ICES Divisions VIIaS, g & j), herring are an important commercial species to the pelagic and polyvalent fleet. The local fleet is composed of dry hold polyvalent vessels and a small number of purpose built RSW (Refrigerated seawater) vessels. The stock is composed of both autumn and winter spawning components and the fishery targets pre-spawning and spawning aggregations. The Irish commercial fishery has historically taken place within 1-20nmi (nautical miles) of the coast and focused on aggregated schools within the spawning cycle. In recent years the larger RSW vessels have actively targeted offshore summer feeding aggregations in the south Celtic Sea. In VIIj, the fishery traditionally begins in early October and is concentrated within several miles of the shore including many bays and inlets. The VIIaS fishery peaks towards the year end in December, but may be active from mid October depending on location. In VIIg, along the south coast herring are targeted from October to January at a number of known spawning sites and surrounding areas. Overall, the protracted spawning period of the two components extends from October through to January, with annual variation of up to 3 weeks. Spawning occurs in successive waves in a number of well known locations including large scale grounds and small discreet spawning beds. The geographical confines of the annual 21 day survey have been modified in recent years to include areas to the south of the main winter spawning grounds in an effort to identify the whereabouts of winter spawning fish before the annual inshore spawning migration. Spatial resolution of acoustic transects has been increased over the entire south coast survey area. The acoustic component of the survey has been further complimented by detailed hydrographic and marine mammal and seabird work programs first initiated during this survey in 2004.
    • Irish Multidisciplinary Deepwater Survey 2007 SSTI Project Report

      Dransfeld, L; Davie, S; Johnston, G; Leahy, Y; O'Beirn, F.X.; O'Hea, B; O'Shea, C; Wall, D; White, M; Gerritsen, H.D. (Marine Institute, 2007)
      The Marine Institute with the collaboration of the National University of Galway conducted a multidisciplinary deepwater survey along the continental slope of the Northeast Atlantic. At three selected sites northwest of Ireland and on the northern slopes of the Porcupine Bank, fishing transects were carried out at four depth strata (500m, 1000m 1500m and 1800m) during the day, while oceanographic measurements and plankton and benthic invertebrate sampling was carried out during the night. Data from CTD and ADCP measurements showed following distribution of water masses: The top 700 m was occupied by that of Eastern North Atlantic Water (ENAW) origin which is a basic feature of the upper layer hydrography in the Rockall Trough; small salinity maxima indicated the region associated with the core of the shelf edge current (SEC). At Area 6, immediately north of Porcupine Bank, a salinity maximum at a depth of 900-1000 m indicated the presence of Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) with the presence Labrador Sea Water (LSW) at 1800-2000 m. The SEC was identified in both CTD and ADCP transects and was characterised by a number of relatively narrow filaments evident in the salinity data. In terms of benthic invertebrate data, a total of 104 taxa were identified with a maximum number of 33 invertebrate taxa identified per haul (these values were recorded at two 1500m hauls in 2006 and 2007, in Areas 5 and 2, respectively). Overall, no clear relationship between the number of invertebrate species and depth was apparent, however there was some indication that the number of species appears to be more variable in deeper waters. Several species occurred in very large numbers; these were the echinoderms, Cidaris cidaris, Benthegone rosea and Stichopus tremulus and the bivalve, Pseudammusium septemradii. Fisheries data revealed distinct deepwater fish communities that changed with depth and to a lesser extent with area. The number of species increased with depth at all sites to reach a maximum at 1500m before decreasing again at 1800m. At 500m depth the fish community was mainly composed of rabbit fish and rattails with some shelf species present such as hake, ling and silver pout. The 1000m depth strata presented a transition of species composition. The most abundant species overall was Roundnose grenadier which had is highest abundance at 1500m in all three areas but could also be found in the 1000 and 18000m depth strata. Other species of high abundance which also had their highest number of individuals at 1500m were Baird’s smoothhead and other species of grenadiers. Cluster analysis revealed that Roundnose grenadier was a distinct species grouping as was that of Baird’s smoothhead. Species occurrences were similar in all three areas with some regional differences; in area 2, Phycis blennoides, greater forkbeard,occurred among the ten most abundant species while in area 5, species, such as Black Scabbard, Aphanopus carbo, and cut throat eel, Synaphobranchus kaupi, were being caught here in larger numbers while present in the other areas in low numbers. Seven comparative tows were carried out with the Scottish research vessels RV Scotia and indicated that overall similar numbers of species and total number of fish were caught. Size distribution also compared well between the two different vessels, however for some species the numbers or size ranges of fish caught differed.