• Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds (FU17) 2012 UWTV Survey Report and catch options for 2013

      Lordan, Colm; Doyle, Jennifer; Hehir, Imelda; Fee, Dermot; Allsop, Chris; O'Neill, Ross (Marine Institute, 2012)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the eleventh annual underwater television on the Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne head Nephrops grounds, ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 17. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, fishing, CTD and other ecosystem data. The sampling intensity was reduced this year from around 75 stations in the past to 31 on the Aran grounds. A randomised isometric grid design was employed with UWTV stations at 3.5nmi or 6.5km intervals. Previously a 2.25 nmi square grid was used. The kigged burrow abundance estimate declined by 34% relative to 2011 with a CV (or relative standard error) of 5 %. Abundance estimates have fluctuated considerably over the time series but the 2012 abundance is the lowest in the 11 year history of the survey. Four UWTV stations were carried out on the Galway Bay and 3 on the Slyne Head Nephrops grounds. Raised abundance estimates for Galway Bay and Slyne Head are provided based on improved knowledge of the boundaries of those areas. Nephrops accounted for 85% of the benthic catch by weight from 4 beam trawl tows. The observed length frequency and maturity of female Nephops caught was similar to previous years. Various further investigations needed before the next ICES benchmark are discussed.
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds (FU17) 2013 UWTV Survey Report and catch options for 2014

      Lordan, C.; Doyle, J.; Hehir, I.; Allsop, C.; Butler, R.; Burke, C. (Marine Institute, 2013)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the twelfth annual underwater television on the Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne head Nephrops grounds, ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 17. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, fishing, CTD and other ecosystem data. In total 31 UWTV stations were successfully completed in a randomised isometric grid design at 3.5nmi or 6.5km intervals over the known range of the stock on the Aran Grounds. The mean burrow density observed in 2013, adjusted for edge effect, was 0.32 burrows/m². The final krigged burrow abundance estimate was 317 million burrows with a CV (or relative standard error) of 4 %. Abundance estimates have fluctuated considerably over the time series. The abundance decreased significantly in 2012 and the 2013 estimate was 2% lower and the lowest estimate in the 12 year time series. Raised abundance estimates for Galway Bay and Slyne Head were also low for those areas. Using the 2013 abundance estimate together with updated parameters for mean weight and proportions of removals retained implies 2014 total catch advice fishing at Fmsy (=F35%spr) of 699 tonnes which results in landings of no more than 591 tonnes. Nephrops accounted for approximately 70% of the benthic catch by weight from 7 beam trawl tows. The observed length frequency and maturity of female Nephops caught was similar to previous years. Virgilaria mirabilis was the most common of the two sea-pen species observed on the UWTV footage (Pennatula phosphorea was also present).
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds (FU17) 2014 UWTV Survey Report and catch options for 2015.

      Hehir, I.; Doyle, J.; Lordan, C.; O'Cuaig, M.; Hannify, O.; Fitzgerald, R.; O'Connor, S.; Keith, M.; Murphy, Á.; Sheridan, M.; et al. (Marine Institute, 2014-10)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the thirteenth annual underwater television on the Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne head Nephrops grounds, ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 17. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, fishing, CTD and other ecosystem data. In total 33 UWTV stations were successfully completed in a randomised isometric grid design at 3.5nmi or 6.5km intervals over the known range of the stock on the Aran Grounds. The mean burrow density observed in 2014, adjusted for edge effect, was 0.29 burrows/m². The final krigged burrow abundance estimate was 287 million burrows with a CV (or relative standard error) of 4 %. Abundance estimates have fluctuated considerably over the time series. The 2014 abundance estimate was 9% lower than in 2013 and the lowest estimate in the 13 year time series. Raised abundance estimates for Galway Bay and Slyne Head were also low for those areas. Using the 2014 abundance estimate together with updated parameters for mean weight and proportions of removals retained implies catch advice, fishing at Fmsy (=F35%spr), of 584 tonnes and landings of 524 tonnes in 2015. Nephrops accounted for approximately 70% of the benthic catch by weight from 5 beam trawl tows. The relatively high numbers caught around 15 CL mm (carapace length) may indicate strong incoming recruitment. Virgilaria mirabilis was the most common of the two sea-pen species observed on the UWTV footage. Funiculina quadrangularis was observed at one station on the Slyne Head Nephrops ground.
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds (FU17) 2015 UWTV Survey Report and catch options for 2016

      Doyle, J.; Lordan, C.; Fitzgerald, R.; O’Connor, S.; Fee, D.; Butler, R.; Stokes, D.; Ni Chonchuir, G.; Gallagher, J.; Sheridan, M.; et al. (Marine Institute, 2015)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the fourteenth annual underwater television on the Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne head Nephrops grounds, ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 17. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, fishing, CTD and other ecosystem data. In 2015 a total of 44 UWTV stations were successfully completed, 34 on the Aran Grounds and 5 on each of the Slyne Head and Galway Bay patches. The mean burrow density observed in 2015, adjusted for edge effect, was medium at 0.38 burrows/m². The final krigged burrow abundance estimate for the Aran Grounds was 480 million burrows with a CV (or relative standard error) of 6 %. The final abundance estimate for Galway Bay and Slyne Head was 56 and 20 million burrows with CVs of 15% and 4% respectively. The total abundance estimates have fluctuated considerably over the time series. The 2015 abundance estimate was 42% higher than in 2014 and at 556 million and is just above to the new MSY Btrigger (540 million). Using the 2015 abundance estimate and updated stock data implies catch of 991 tonnes and landings of 915 tonnes in 2016 fishing at Fmsy (assuming all catch is landed). Virgilaria mirabilis was the most common of the two sea-pen species observed on the UWTV footage. Pennatula phosphorea was observed at one station on the Slyne Head Nephrops ground. Key words: Nephrops norvegicus, stock assessment, geostatistics, underwater television (UWTV), benthos, CTD. Suggested citation:
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds (FU17) 2016 UWTV Survey Report and catch options for 2017

      Doyle, J.; Lordan, C.; Stokes, D.; O'Brien, S.; Kelly, C.; Bentley, K.; Vacherot, J.P. (Marine Institute, 2016)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the fifteenth annual underwater television on the Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne head Nephrops grounds, ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 17. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, fishing, CTD and other ecosystem data. In 2016 a total of 45 UWTV stations were successfully completed, 34 on the Aran Grounds, 7 on Galway Bay and 4 on Slyne Head patches. The mean burrow density observed in 2016, adjusted for edge effect, was medium at 0.29 burrows/m². The final krigged burrow abundance estimate for the Aran Grounds was 343 million burrows with a CV (or relative standard error) of 3 %. The final abundance estimate for Galway Bay and Slyne Head was 25 and 11 million burrows with CVs of 7% and 3% respectively. The total abundance estimates have fluctuated considerably over the time series. The 2016 combined abundance estimate was 32% lower than in 2015 and at 379 million and is below the MSY Btrigger (540 million). Using the 2016 abundance estimate and updated stock data implies catch of 489 tonnes and landings of 456 tonnes in 2017 when MSY approach is applied (assuming that discard rates and fishery selection patterns do not change from the average of 2013–2015). Virgilaria mirabilis was the only sea-pen species observed on the UWTV footage. Trawl marks were present at 20% of the Aran stations surveyed.
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds (FU17) 2017 UWTV Survey Report and catch options for 2018

      Lordan, C.; Doyle, J.; Butler, R.; Sugrue, S.; Allsop, C.; O'Connor, S.; Vacherot, J.P. (Marine Institute, 2017)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the fifteenth annual underwater television on the Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne head Nephrops grounds, ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 17. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, fishing, CTD and other ecosystem data. In 2017 a total of 40 UWTV stations were successfully completed, 31 on the Aran Grounds, 5 on Galway Bay and 4 on Slyne Head patches. The mean burrow density observed in 2017, adjusted for edge effect, was medium at 0.29 burrows/m². The final krigged burrow abundance estimate for the Aran Grounds was 343 million burrows with a CV (or relative standard error) of 3 %. The final abundance estimate for Galway Bay and Slyne Head was 25 and 11 million burrows with CVs of 7% and 3% respectively. The total abundance estimates have fluctuated considerably over the time series. The 2016 combined abundance estimate was 32% lower than in 2015 and at 379 million and is below the MSY Btrigger (540 million). Using the 2017 abundance estimate and updated stock data implies catch of 551 tonnes and landings of 513 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). Virgilaria mirabilis was the only sea-pen species observed on the UWTV footage. Trawl marks were present at 20% of the Aran stations surveyed.
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds (FU17) 2018 UWTV Survey Report and catch scenarios for 2019

      Doyle, J.; O’ Brien, S.; Ryan, G.; Galligan, S.; Hernon, P.; Aristegui, M.; Vacherot, J.P. (Marine Institute, 2018)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the seventeenth annual underwater television on the Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne head Nephrops grounds, ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 17. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, fishing, CTD and other ecosystem data. In 2018 a total of 43 UWTV stations were successfully completed, 33 on the Aran Grounds, 5 on Galway Bay and 5 on Slyne Head patches. The mean burrow density observed in 2018, adjusted for edge effect, was medium at 0.40 burrows/m². The final krigged burrow abundance estimate for the Aran Grounds was 488 million burrows with a CV (relative standard error) of 3%. The final abundance estimate for Galway Bay and Slyne Head was 33 million in both grounds with CVs of 17% and 12% respectively. The total abundance estimates have fluctuated considerably over the time series. The 2018 combined abundance estimate was a 37% increase compared to in 2017 and at 554 million burrows and is above the MSY Btrigger reference point (540 million burrows). Using the 2018 abundance estimate and updated stock data implies catch of 1002 tonnes and landings of 916 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). Virgularia mirabilis was the only sea-pen species observed on the UWTV footage. Trawl marks were present at 9% of the Aran stations surveyed.
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds (FU17) 2019 UWTV Survey Report and catch scenarios for 2020.

      Aristegui, M.; Doyle, J.; O’ Brien, S.; Fitzgerald, R.; Vacherot, J.P.; Sugrue, S.; Quinn, M. (Marine Institute, 2019)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the seventeenth annual underwater television on the Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne head Nephrops grounds, ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 17. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, CTD and other ecosystem data. In 2019 a total of 41 UWTV stations were successfully completed, 31 on the Aran Grounds, 5 on Galway Bay and 5 on Slyne Head patches. The mean burrow density observed in 2019, adjusted for edge effect, was medium at 0.38 burrows/m². The final krigged burrow abundance estimate for the Aran Grounds was 458 million burrows with a CV (relative standard error) of 4%. The final abundance estimate for Galway Bay was 23 million and for Slyne Head was 12 million, with CVs of 11% and 8% respectively. The total abundance estimates have fluctuated considerably over the time series. The 2019 combined abundance estimate (493 million burrows) is 11% lower than in 2018, and it is below the MSY Btrigger reference point (540 million burrows). Using the 2019 estimate of abundance and updated stock data implies catches between 696 and 800 tonnes in 2020 that correspond to the F ranges in the EU multi annual plan for Western Waters, assuming that discard rates and fishery selection patterns do not change from the average of 2016–2018. Virgularia mirabilis was the only sea-pen species observed on the UWTV footage. Trawl marks were present at 7% of the Aran stations surveyed.
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds 2006 UWTV Survey Report

      Lordan, C; Doyle, J; Sacchetti, F; O'Driscoll, D; Heir, I; Smith, T; Allsop, C (Marine Institute, 2007)
      The Nephrops fishery “at the back of the Aran Islands” is the mainstay of the Ros a Mhíl fleet and sustaining this valuable fishery would be at the heart of any management plan for fisheries in the area. In 2006 the fifth in a series of annual UWTV survey was completed, and the results of that survey together with a synthesis and analysis of the results were published. The survey is multidisciplinary in nature collecting data on burrow abundances from UWTV, Nephrops biological data from beam trawls, oceanographic data from CTD, sediment data, multi-beam and other habitat data. A geostatistical analysis indicates that burrow densities and abundances have fluctuated considerably in space and time. Highest densities occurred in 2004 with the lowest densities in the 2006 survey. There may be a negative relationship between abundance in landings in the autumn and a positive relationship between observed densities and landings the following spring.
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds 2007 UWTV Survey Report

      Lordan, Colm; Doyle, Jennifer (Marine Institute, 2008)
      In 2007 the sixth in a series of annual UWTV survey was complete and the results of that survey together with a synthesis and analysis of the results. A geostatistical analysis indicates that burrow densities and abundances have fluctuated considerably in space and time. The highest densities occurred in 2004 and the lowest densities in the 2006.The 2007 survey shows an increase in burrow density. Using the survey directly for assessment and management is not yet possible. However, there appears to a negative relationship between abundance and landings in the autumn and a positive relationship between observed densities and landings the following spring. The relationship between abundance and landings is not as clear. There is no serious concern about the stock given the recent survey abundance.
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds 2008 UWTV Survey Report

      Lordan, Colm; Doyle, Jennifer (Marine Institute, 2009-05)
      In 2008 the seventh in a series of annual UWTV survey was complete and the results of that survey together with a synthesis and analysis of the results is presented. A geostatistical analysis indicates that burrow densities and abundances have fluctuated considerably in space and time. The highest densities occurred in 2004 and the lowest densities in 2008.The 2008 survey shows a decrease in burrow density to the lowest observed. Using the survey directly for assessment and management has been discussed at WKNEPHTV (2007) and at SGNEP (2009).This stock was a focus at the benchmark workshop on Nephrops assessment held in Aberdeen WKNEPH, (2009). There appears to a negative relationship between abundance and landings in the autumn and a positive relationship between observed densities and landings the following spring. There is some concern about the stock given the most recent survey abundance observed to date. The time series is short and to date survey estimates have fluctuated across a large dynamic range.
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds 2009 UWTV Survey Report

      Lordan, C; Doyle, J (Marine Institute, 2009-09)
      The prawn (Nephrops norvegicus) are common around the Irish coast occurring in geographically distinct sandy/muddy areas were the sediment is suitable for them to construct their burrows. The Irish Nephrops fishery is extremely valuable with landings in recent years worth around €30m at first sale supporting an important indigenous processing industry. The Nephrops fishery “at the back of the Aran Islands” can be considered the mainstay of the Ros a Mhíl fleet. Without this Nephrops fishery the majority of vessels in the fleet would cease being economically viable (Meredith, 1999). Given these socio-economic realities, good scientific information on stock status to enable sustainable management of the resources are urgently required. This is the eight data point in a time series of UWTV surveys on the ‘Aran grounds’. The survey covers three distinct mud patches; the Aran Ground, Galway Bay and Slyne Head. These have approximate areas of 940, 41 and 26sq.km respectively. In 2009 this survey was used to develop catch options for the stock using a bias corrected survey estimate as an absolute measure of stock size and recent discard rates and mean weight to forecast catch (ICES, 2009a). This report details the results of the 2009 survey and updates the catch option table using the most recent survey estimate.
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds 2010 UWTV Survey Report

      Lordan, Colm; Doyle, Jennifer (Marine Institute, 2011-05)
      This is the ninth data point in a time series of UWTV surveys on the ‘Aran grounds’. The survey covers three distinct mud patches; the Aran Ground, Galway Bay and Slyne Head. These have approximate areas of 940, 41 and 26 km2 respectively. For the first time in 2009 this survey was used to develop catch options for the stock using a bias corrected survey estimate as an absolute measure of stock size and recent discard rates and mean weight to forecast catch (ICES, 2009a). This report details the results of the 2010 survey and updates the catch option table using the most recent survey estimate.
    • Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds 2011 UWTV Survey Report

      Lordan, Colm; Doyle, Jennifer; Bunn, Robert; Fee, Dermot; Allsop, Chris (Marine Institute, 2011-10)
      This report provides the main results and findings of the tenth annual underwater television on the ‘Aran grounds’ ICES assessment area; Functional Unit 17. The survey was multi-disciplinary in nature collecting UWTV, fishing, CTD and other ecosystem data. In total 76, 10 and 7 UWTV stations were successfully completed on the Aran, Galway Bay and Slyne Head Nephrops Grounds. The observed abundance estimate for the main Aran ground has declined by 23% relative to 2010. Abundance estimates have fluctuated over the time series. The 2011 abundance is the third lowest in the 10 year history of the survey. This is not a cause for immediate concern about the stocks sustainability. Raised abundance estimates for Galway Bay and Slyne Head are provided for the first time based on improved knowledge of the boundaries of those areas. Nephrops accounted for 26% of the catch weight from 10 beam trawl tows. The observed length frequency and maturity of female Nephops caught was similar to previous years. Various further investigations needed before the next ICES benchmark are discussed.
    • 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.
    • Atlantic Herring and Horse Mackerel in 6aS/7b; Industry Acoustic Survey Cruise Report

      O’Malley, M.; Clarke, M.; Smith, T.; Mullins, E. (Marine Institute, 2018)
      An acoustic survey of Atlantic herring Clupea harengus and horse mackerel Trachurus trachurus was conducted in ICES areas 6aS/7b in Nov 2017 using the pair trawl vessels MFV Eilean Croine S238 and MFV Sparkling Star D437. This survey is the second 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 1,482nmi of cruise track was completed using 27 transects and related to a total area coverage of approximately 2,200 nmi². Parallel transect spacing was set at 7.5nmi for the wider area, and 3.5nmi for Donegal Bay. Coverage extended from inshore coastal areas to the 200 m contour in the west and north. A mini 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 calibrated before the survey near Rathmullan Pier in Lough Swilly, Co. Donegal. Very strong herring marks (e.g. > 2nmi long, 200m wide and ~18m deep) were evident in Lough Swilly, an area where boats in the monitoring fishery were concentrating effort. There was also a series of strong herring marks in Bruckless Bay and Inver Bay in discreet areas. There were very few herring marks offshore. A total of four hauls were taken for biological analysis. Biological samples from the monitoring fishery were used to augment the samples from the survey. Samples were taken from boats fishing in Lough Swilly, Bruckless Bay and Inver Bay as close spatially and temporally as possible to the survey in these areas. Herring were dominated by 3-wr fish in all hauls. The 3-wr age class constituted 32% of the overall numbers. Horse mackerel were distributed throughout the survey area, but particularly throughout the area to the north and west of Tory Island. Horse mackerel length distribution was dominated by a mode at 24cm, with a smaller mode at 30cm. This corresponded to a dominance of 3-wr fish (~67%) in all of the samples. The total stock biomass (TSB) estimate of herring for the combined 6aS/7b area was 40,646 tonnes (Lough Swilly = 12,098 tonnes, Donegal Bay = 23,157 tonnes, and the remaining NW area = 5,391 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 68,079 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 (~0.50 for herring and ~ 0.62 for horse mackerel) for the survey in 2017. For herring, this is mostly caused by the over-reliance on a few acoustic marks of herring in Lough Swilly and Bruckless/Inver Bays in particular. For horse mackerel, this is most likely caused by and over-reliance of two transects in particular. Horse mackerel are a widely distributed stock, therefore the stock was not contained by this survey.
    • Atlantic Herring in 6aS/7b, c Industry Acoustic Survey Cruise Report, 28 November – 07 December, 2016

      O'Malley, M.; Clarke, M.; O'Donnell, C.; Murphy, I. (Marine Institute, 2017)
      The individual stock assessments for Atlantic herring Clupea harengus in 6aN and 6aS/7b, c have been combined into one assessment encompassing both stocks following a benchmark in 2015 (ICES 2015a). ICES still considers that two separate stocks exist. The main reason for the merging has been that the catches of mixed aggregations in the commercial fishery and in the summer acoustic survey could not be separated into the different stock components for the purposes of stock assessment. The consequence of this has been a zero TAC for herring in these areas for 2016 and 2017. In its autumn 2015 plenary report, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF PLEN 15-03, 2015), noted that from a stock assessment perspective, it would be beneficial to allow small catches in both management areas in the form of a monitoring TAC, to maintain an uninterrupted time series of fishery-dependent catch data from both stocks. On the request of industry, part of the monitoring TAC was set aside in 2016 to conduct acoustic/trawl surveys in both 6aN and 6aS/7b, c. An industry/science collaboration survey was conducted on pre-spawning aggregations of 6aS/7, c herring during late November/early December in 2016. Herring were found in very dense aggregations in a few specific locations (Lough Swilly and Donegal Bay), but schools were smaller and in low numbers throughout much of the survey area offshore. This behaviour was evident in the monitoring fishery also during the time of the survey. The dense shoals were in shallow inshore areas, and in some cases very large (> 1nmi long). Three acoustic validation hauls were also carried out, only one containing herring. Fishing could not take place in shallow areas with the survey vessel. Samples from the monitoring fishery were used to augment samples from the survey and work up an estimate of abundance and biomass of herring. The survey estimated a minimum of 35,475 tonnes herring in the survey area. The hyper-aggregating behaviour and relatively low numbers of herring schools during the survey led to a high CV (~0.37) on the estimates of abundance and biomass. The vast majority of herring were mature, assumed to be of 6aS/7b, c origin due to their proximity geographically to the spawning beds and temporally to spawning time for this mainly winter spawning stock. Small horse mackerel (~20 - 24cm) were found throughout the area to the north and west of Tory Island in many large schools on the bottom
    • Biological Sampling Survey: Celtic Voyager March 2004

      Marine Institute (Marine Institute, 2005)
      The survey is intended to address the requirements of the Data Collection Regulation 1639/2001. Information on growth, maturity and sex ratio (biological data) were collected for a range of commercially important species. Ovary samples were collected to validate visual maturity staging. Additionally, ovary samples were taken for CEFAS in Lowestoft, tissue samples were taken for genetics projects within the Marine Institute as well as other labs. Samples of whole flatfish were taken for meristics analysis in GMIT.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey Cruise Report March 26- April 15, 2013

      O’Donnell, C.; Mullins, E.; Johnston, G.; Keogh, N. (Marine Institute, 2013)
      Acoustic surveys targeting blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) spawning and post spawning aggregations 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 the main spawning grounds to the west of Ireland and Britain. Since 2004, an International coordinated survey program has expanded 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 edge from the southern Porcupine Bank area northwards to the aroe/Shetland Ridge including offshore areas as 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 effort allocation at the ICES led Working Group International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS). 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 (WGWIDE). Ultimately, combined data inputs into the management and catch advice for this international cross boundary stock. The 2013 survey was part of an international collaborative survey using the vessels RV Celtic Explorer (Ireland), FV Vilnus (Russia), RV Tridens (Netherlands) and the RV Magnus Heinason (Faroes). The total combined area coverage extended from the Faroe Islands in the north (62° N) to south of Ireland (52° N), with east -west extension from 4°-19° W. International survey participants meet shortly after the survey to present data and produce a combined relative abundance and biomass index the blue whiting spawning stock in western waters. The combined survey report is presented annually at the WGIPS meeting held in December. The information presented here relates to the Irish survey.
    • 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.