• Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey Cruise Report March-April 2004

      O’Donnell, Ciaran; Mullins, Eugene; Monstad, Terje; Macualay, Gavin; Power, Gavin; Ullgren, Jenny (Marine Institute, 2004)
      Acoustic surveys on northern blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) stocks have been carried out since the early 1970s by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Bergen. In the early 1980s a coordinated acoustic survey approach was adopted, with both Russia and Norway participating to estimate the size of the stock. The acoustic survey programme is carried out for fishery management purposes, results are presented annually at the ICES led Northern Pelagic and Blue Whiting Fisheries Working Group and from this catch advice is determined for the following year. The highly migratory nature of this stock and its components require a large geographical area to be surveyed during a relatively short spawning window. Acoustic surveys are routinely carried out on specific spawning and pre-spawning aggregations of blue whiting. This can allow for high concentrations of fish to be surveyed in a relatively small geographical and often well defined area, if the timing is synchronised. This survey was conducted as part of a collaborative survey coordinated by the Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway, using the vessel the MRV “Johan Hjort”. Also participating were the MRV “Fridtjof Nansen” (PINRO, Russia) and the MRV “Tridens” (RIVO, Netherlands). The total combined area surveyed in 2004 covered from the Faroe Islands in the north (62º of longitude) to the southern coast of Ireland (50.5º N), area coverage to the west extended from 2º -18º of latitude. The Irish component of the survey was made up of transects covering some 2,080 nautical miles. In addition to the collection of acoustic data fishing hauls were carried out to determine the make up of fish marks recorded by the equipment and to assess the length, weight, age, sex and maturity of the stock. Oceanographic data was collected using a number of spaced hydrograhic stations where salinity and temperature of the water column was recorded at depths of up to 1200 m.
    • Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey Cruise Report 2004

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; Griffin, Karen; Clarke, Maurice; Lynch, Deirdre; Ulgren, Jenny; Goddijn, Lonneke; Wall, David; Mackey, Mick (Marine Institute, 2004)
      In the Celtic Sea and ICES Division VIIj, to the south and southwest of Ireland, herring is an important commercial species and currently Ireland is the only country targeting this species in this area. Herring in this region comprise both autumn and winter spawning components. Commercial fishing has targeted the fish during spawning times, though in most recent years fish have been targeted during the summer feeding phase too. In VIIj, fishing has traditionally taken place in October, and concentrated in the bays and inlets. In contrast, fishing in VIIaS has mainly been in December to January, though in VIIg the fishery traditionally takes place from November to January. The protracted spawning period of herring and the overlap between the two spawning socks in this area (October to February) means that it is difficult to design a survey that covers all spawning fish in one specific survey. The stock structure and discrimination of herring in this area is not fully understood. It is known that fish in the eastern Celtic Sea recruit from nursery areas in the Irish Sea and tagging studies have shown linkages between these areas also. For the purpose of stock assessment and management these areas have been combined since 1982. A project is currently underway to describe stock structure and discrimination of herring around Ireland. The results of this project may have implications for the design of this survey and for the stock assessment. For a period in the 1980’s, egg and larval surveys were conducted for herring in this area. However, since 1989, acoustic surveys have been carried out, and currently are the only tuning indices available. In the Celtic Sea and VIIj, herring acoustic surveys have been carried out since 1989, and the current survey is the 15th in the series. In addition to the survey track a small component (Baginbun) was intensively surveyed using acoustic and multibeam mapping techniques. The Baginbun area is located east of Waterford Harbour in ICES division VIIaS. Baginbun has supported a large winter fishery for many years and is one of the most important and well known winter spawning areas on the south coast. This year for the first time the RV Celtic Explorer was to survey the area. This allowed a more extensive degree of coverage in the time allocated, the survey was further complemented with a number of hydrographic transects concentrating along the bays in the west and southwest and also along the southern coastline.
    • Northwest Herring Acoustic Survey Report 2004

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; Mullins, Eugene; Egan, Afra; Smith, Turloch; Bunn, Robert; Griffin, Karen; O’Driscol, Patrick; Bicknell, Simon; O’Driscol, Deirdre; Cross, Marcus; O’Brian, Joanne (Marine Institute, 2004)
      The objectives of this survey were to: 1). To assess the size of the herring stock in VIaS and VIIb using an EK60 scientific sounder and a 38 kHz mounted within the vessels drop keel. Observe fish marks along the survey track using 18, 120 and 200 kHz; 2). Collect biological data from herring samples within this area and determine composition of marks using a single pelagic mid-water trawl.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey Cruise Report March-April 2005

      O’Donnell, Ciaran; Mullins, Eugene; Power, Gavin; Goddijn, Lonneke; Mackey, Mick (Marine Institute, 2005)
      Acoustic surveys on northern blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) stocks have been carried out since the early 1970s by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Bergen. In the early 1980s a coordinated acoustic survey approach was adopted, with both Russia and Norway participating to estimate the size of the stock. The acoustic survey programme is carried out for fishery management purposes, results are presented annually at the ICES led Northern Pelagic and Blue Whiting Fisheries Working Group and from this catch advice is determined for the following year. The highly migratory nature of this stock and its components require a large geographical area to be surveyed during a relatively short spawning window. Acoustic surveys are routinely carried out on specific spawning and pre-spawning aggregations of blue whiting. This can allow for high concentrations of fish to be surveyed in a relatively small geographical and often well defined area, if the timing is synchronised. This survey was conducted as part of a collaborative survey coordinated by the Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway, using the vessel the RV “G.O. Sars”. Also participating were the RV “Fridtjof Nansen” (PINRO, Russia), RV “Atlantniro” (Russia), RV “Tridens” (RIVO, Netherlands) and the RV “Magnus Heinason” (Faroes). The total combined area surveyed in 2005 covered from the Faroe Islands in the north (62º of longitude) to the southern coast of Ireland (49º N), area coverage to the west extended from 2º -20º of latitude. The Irish component of the survey was made up of transects covering some 2,228 nautical miles. In addition to the collection of acoustic data fishing hauls were carried out to determine the make up of fish marks recorded by the equipment and to assess the length, weight, age, sex and maturity of the stock. Oceanographic data was collected using a number of spaced hydrograhic stations where salinity and temperature of the water column was recorded at depths of up to 1200 m.
    • Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey Cruise Report 2005

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; Doonan, Ian; Johnston, Graham; Lynch, Deirdre; Dransfeld, Leonie; Wall, David (Marine Institute, 2005)
      In the Celtic Sea and ICES Division VIIj, to the south and southwest of Ireland, herring are an important commercial species to the pelagic fleet. The local fleet is composed of dry hold polyvalent vessels and a number of purpose built RSW (Refrigerated seawater) vessels. This stock is composed of both autumn and winter spawning components. The commercial fishery has historically taken place within 6nmi (nautical miles) of the coast and focused on aggregated schools within the spawning cycle. In recent years the RSW fleet has actively targeted offshore summer feeding grounds in the south Celtic Sea. In division VIIj, the fishery traditionally begins in early October and is concentrated within several miles of the shore bays and inlets. The division VIIaS fishery peaks towards the year end in December, but may be active from mid October depending on location. In division 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 stock structure and discrimination of herring in this area is not fully understood. It is known that fish in the eastern Celtic Sea recruit from nursery areas in the Irish Sea and tagging studies have shown linkages between these areas also. For the purpose of stock assessment and management these areas have been combined since 1982. For a period in the 1980’s, egg and larval surveys were conducted for herring in this area. However, since 1989, acoustic surveys have been carried out, and currently are the only tuning indices available. In the Celtic Sea and VIIj, herring acoustic surveys have been carried out since 1989, and the current survey is the 16th in the series. The autumn 2005 survey is the most comprehensive survey carried out in the current time series. The geographical confines of the annual 21 day survey were expanded 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 were increased over the entire south coast survey areas. The acoustic component of the survey was complimented by a continuation of the detailed hydrographic work carried out in the Celtic Sea in 2004. In addition a second inshore survey was carried out along the southern coast using a chartered commercial fishing vessel (FV Regina Ponti). This second survey focused on area between 0.5nmi and 10nmi offshore and covered the main autumn and winter spawning areas along the south coast.
    • Northwest Herring Acoustic Survey Report 2005

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; Mullins, Eugene; Johnston, Graham; Power, Ayesha; Beatie, Susan (Marine Institute, 2005)
      The northwest and west coast herring acoustic survey programme was first implemented in 1994. Prior to this a larval survey programme was carried out between 1981 and 1986. The ICES herring working group (HAWG) identified the need for a dedicated herring acoustic survey in this area (Anon, 1993). The stock in this area is composed of a number of spawning components and spawning may extend from September through to March (Molloy et al, 2000). Commercial fishing has targeted the fish during spawning times, no summer matje fishery exists in this area. In VIaS, fishing has traditionally taken place in late December and continues until late February (winter spawners). Traditionally in VIIb, fishing is mainly concentrated on the later months of the year and would be concluded by the early part of the new year (Autumn spawners). The protracted spawning period of herring and the overlap between the two spawning socks in this area (October to February) means that it is difficult to design a survey that covers all spawning fish in one specific survey. A project is currently underway to describe stock structure and discrimination of herring around Ireland. The results of this project may have implications for the design of this survey and for the stock assessment. However, since 1994, acoustic surveys have been carried out, and currently are the only tuning indices available. The current survey makes up the 11th in the time series. The design and execution of this survey has evolved from summer feeding phase surveys, in the mid 1990s until its present winter spawning state.
    • International Blue Whiting Spawning Stock Survey Spring 2006

      Marine Institute; Institute of Marine Research; AtlantNIRO; PINRO; National University of Ireland, Galway; Faroese Fisheries Laboratory; Institute for Marine Resources & Ecosystem Studies; Danish Institute for Fisheries Research (Marine Institute, 2006)
      In spring 2006, five research vessels representing the Faroe Islands, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Russia surveyed the spawning grounds of blue whiting west of the British Isles. International co-operation allows for wider and more synoptic coverage of the stock and more rational utilisation of resources than uncoordinated national surveys. The survey was the second coordinated international blue whiting spawning stock survey since mid-1990s. The primary purpose of the survey was to obtain estimates of blue whiting stock abundance in the main spawning grounds using acoustic methods as well as to collect hydrographic information. Results of all the surveys are also presented in national reports (Atlantniro: Shnar et al. 2006; Celtic Explorer: Mullins et al. 2006; G. O. Sars: Heino et al. 2006; M. Heinason: Jacobsen et al. 2006; Tridens: Ybema et al. 2006). This report is based on a workshop held after the international survey in Tórshavn, 20–21/4/2006, where the data were analysed and the report written. Parts of the document were worked out through correspondence during and after the workshop.
    • Northwest Herring Acoustic Survey Report 2006

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; Doonan, Ian; Lynch, Deirdre; O’Hea, Brendan; Egan, Afra (Marine Institute, 2006)
      The northwest and west coast herring acoustic survey programme was first implemented in 1994. Prior to this a larval survey programme was carried out between 1981 and 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). The stock in this area is composed of 2 spawning components (autumn and winter), covering a large geographical area. Spawning may extend over a 4 month period from late September through to late March (Molloy et al, 2000). Traditionally fishing activity has targeted spawning and pre-spawning aggregations, no summer matje fishery exists in this area, as is the case in the Celtic Sea. In VIaS, fishing has traditionally taken place in late October and continues until late February (winter spawners). Traditionally in VIIb, fishing is mainly concentrated on the later months of the year and would be concluded by the early part of the new year (Autumn spawners). The protracted spawning period of herring and the overlap between the two spawning stocks in this area (October to February) is highly dynamic with variations between annual spawning events of up to 3 weeks. Accurate survey timing is a key component of the design to cover the overlap of peak spawning events. A project is currently underway to describe stock structure and discrimination of herring around Ireland. The results of this project may have implications for the design of this survey and for the stock assessment. However, since 1994, acoustic surveys have been carried out, and currently are the only tuning indices available. The current survey makes up the 13th in the time series. The design and execution of this survey has evolved from summer feeding phase surveys, in the mid 1990s until its present winter spawning state. This is the third survey of this stock carried out by the Celtic Explorer.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey Cruise Report March-April 2006

      Mullins, Eugene; Johnston, Graham; Power, Gavin; Goddijn, Lonneke; Mackey, Mick (Marine Institute, 2006)
      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 the combined stock. The acoustic survey programme is carried out for fishery management purposes and is continued to date. Results of this annual spawning stock assessment combined with juvenile surveys and commercial catch at age data are presented annually at the ICES led Northern Pelagic and Blue Whiting Fisheries Working Group. Ultimately, from this combined scientific data, management and catch advice is determined for the following year. The highly migratory nature of the combined stock requires a large geographical area to be surveyed during a protracted spawning period. Consequently Acoustic surveys are routinely carried out on specific spawning and post-spawning aggregations of blue whiting. To facilitate a more coordinated spatio-temporal approach to spawning stock assessment, several nations became involved in the PGNAPES coordinated survey programme in 2004. Ireland is one of these nations involved in this annual survey. The 2006 survey was part of an International collaborative survey coordinated by the Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway, using the vessel the RV “G.O. Sars”. Also participating were the RV “Atlantniro” (Russia), RV “Tridens” (RIVO, Netherlands) the RV “Magnus Heinason” (Faroes) and RV “Celtic Explorer” (Ireland). The total combined area surveyed in 2006 covered from the Faroe Islands in the north (62°of longitude) to the southern coast of Ireland (51° N), area coverage to the west extended from 4°-18° of latitude. The Irish component of the survey was made up of transects covering some 2,632 nautical miles (Figure 1). In addition to the collection of acoustic data, fishing hauls were carried out to determine the make up of fish marks recorded by the equipment and to assess the length, weight, age, sex and maturity of the stock. Oceanographic data was collected using a number of spaced hydrograhic stations where salinity and temperature of the water column was recorded at depths down to 800m.
    • Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey RV Celtic Explorer 1st – 21st October 2006

      O'Donnell, C; Doonan, I; Lynch, D; Egan, A; Boyd, J; Wall, D; Ullgren, J (Marine Institute, 2006)
      In the Celtic Sea and ICES Division VIIj the herring fishery is divided into 3 main catching seasons. In quarters four and one, the fishery is focused on autumn and winter pre-spawning and spawning aggregations. In the 2004/05 season 34 vessels participated in the fishery, ranging from small dry hold polyvalent vessels (<20m) to purpose built RSW (Refrigerated seawater) vessels of 23-40m. Single and pair midwater trawling are common, with the latter representing the preferred catching method. In recent years a quarter-3 summer fishery has developed targeting offshore feeding aggregations, 78nmi (nautical miles) offshore on the Labadie Bank. This offshore fishery is restricted to the RSW fleet on the grounds of product quality delivered to processors. The 2006 autumn survey is the most comprehensive survey carried out in the current time series. The geographical extent of the annual 21 day survey was extended further offshore to include areas to the south of the main coastal spawning grounds to target winter spawning fish on an inward spawning migration. Spatial resolution of acoustic transects were increased over the entire south coast survey areas, with a special focus on spawning grounds throughout the survey confines. The acoustic component of the survey was complimented by a continuation of the detailed hydrographic work first established in the Celtic Sea in 2004.
    • Northwest Herring Acoustic Survey Cruise Report and Abundance Estimate, 2007

      O'Donnell, C; Egan, A; Lynch, D; Boyd, J; Wall, D; Goddjin, L (Marine Institute, 2007)
      The northwest and west coast herring acoustic survey programme was first implemented in 1994, with the current winter spawning survey representing the 9th in the time series. The stock in this area is composed of 2 spawning components (autumn and winter), covering a large geographical area. Spawning occurs over a protracted period of over 4-months from late September through to late March. The age profile of the survey stock as generated from trawl samples indicated ages ranging from 1-7 years. Maturity samples indicate the largest proportion of the stock to be in a pre-spawning, spawning or spent state, with small amounts of immature fish, as would be expected at this time. The 2007 survey estimate generated a TSB (total stock biomass) of 14,200 t relating to a SSB (spawning stock biomass) of 13,974 t. Poor weather dominated the survey with almost 25% lost in downtime. As a result the survey area and track lines had to be reduced to compensate and hydrographic stations had to be sacrificed. The poor weather experienced no doubt had an impact on herring schooling behaviour and our detection ability.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • International Blue Whiting Spawning Stock Survey Spring 2007

      Marine Institute; Institute of Marine Research; National University of Ireland, Galway; Danish Institute for Fisheries Research; PINRO; AtlantNIRO; Faroese Fisheries Laboratory; Institute for Marine Resources & Ecosystem Studies; FRS Marine Laboratory; Federal Research Institute for Fisheries (Marine Institute, 2007)
      In spring 2007, five research vessels representing the Faroe Islands, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Russia surveyed the spawning grounds of blue whiting west of the British Isles. International co-operation allows for wider and more synoptic coverage of the stock and more rational utilisation of resources than uncoordinated national surveys. The survey was the fourth coordinated international blue whiting spawning stock survey since mid-1990s. The primary purpose of the survey was to obtain estimates of blue whiting stock abundance in the main spawning grounds using acoustic methods as well as to collect hydrographic information. Results of all the surveys are also presented in national reports (Celtic Explorer: O’Donnell et al. 2007; Eros: Godø et al. 2007; M. Heinason: Jacobsen et al. 2007; Tridens: Ybema 2007). This report is based on a workshop held after the international survey in IJmuiden, 18-19/4/2007 where the data were analysed and the report written. Parts of the document were worked out through correspondence during the workshop and during a protracted period after the workshop.
    • Northwest Herring Summer Acoustic Survey Cruise Report June 19 - July 8, 2008

      O'Donnell, C; Saunders, R; Lynch, D; Mullins, E; Lyons, K; Wragg, O; Smith, T; Hoare, D; Blaszkowski, M (Marine Institute, 2008)
      The northwest and west coast (ICES Divisions VIaS & VIIb, c) herring acoustic survey programme was first established in 1994. A larval survey programme was initially carried out between 1981 and 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 aggregation program was established covering both autumn and winter components. In 2004, a single spawning stock survey was carried out early in quarter 1 and continued until 2007, whereupon it was decided that this survey should be incorporated into the larger coordinated Malin shelf survey. This survey will be the first in a new time series and a step away from the traditional spawning stock surveys. The Irish survey will be carried out concurrently with the West of Scotland (MarLab) and Irish Sea surveys (AFBI) and was coordinated through the ICES Planning Group of Herring Acoustic Surveys (PGHERS). Combined survey data on herring distribution, abundance and age will be 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, c) herring stock is composed of 2 of spawning components (Autumn and Winter spawners) covering a large geographical area, which 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. In Vlas, fishing begins in late Novemember and continues until late March (winter spawners). Further south in Vlllb, peak fishing takes place from October to December (Autumn spawners). The protracted spawning period of herring and the overlap between the two spawning stocks in this area (October to February) is highly dynamic with variations between annual spawning events of up to 3 weeks. Up to 40 vessels commonly participate in the fishery, many of which are based in the Co. Donegal port of Killybegs. The fleet is made up of 20 RSW (Refrigerated Seawater) vessels of 40-70m in length; 20 polyvalent trawlers 10 of which are vessels of 22-40m and 10 of less than 25m.
    • Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey Cruise Report 2008

      O'Donnell, C; Saunders, R; Lynch, D; Lyons, K; Wall, D (Marine Institute, 2008)
      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 mid September 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.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey Cruise Report Spring 2008

      O'Donnell, C; Mullins, E; Johnston, G; Lyons, K; Bethke, E; Holst, G; Wall, D (Marine Institute, 2008)
      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, with a peak time between mid-March and mid-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 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 2008 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 Gardar (Norwegian commercial charter). The total combined area coverage in 2008 extended from the Faroe Islands in the north (62°N) to south of Ireland (51.30°N), with east - west extension from 5°-19° 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 2,480nmi (nautical miles) covering the slope areas (>250m) of the north Porcupine area, the eastern fringes of the Rockall Bank, the Rockall Trough and the eastern slopes of the Hebrides shelf. This survey represents the 5th survey in the Irish time series.
    • International Blue Whiting Spawning Stock Survey Spring 2008

      Marine Institute; Institute of Marine Research; Danish Institute for Fisheries Research; PINRO; Faroese Fisheries Laboratory; Institute for Marine Resources & Ecosystem Studies; FRS Marine Laboratory; Federal Research Institute for Fisheries; Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (Marine Institute, 2008)
      In spring 2008, five research vessels representing the Faroe Islands, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Russia surveyed the spawning grounds of blue whiting west of the British Isles. International co-operation allows for wider and more synoptic coverage of the stock and more rational utilisation of resources than uncoordinated national surveys. The survey was the fifth coordinated international blue whiting spawning stock survey since mid-1990s. The primary purpose of the survey was to obtain estimates of blue whiting stock abundance in the main spawning grounds using acoustic methods as well as to collect hydrographic information. Results of all the surveys are also presented in national reports (F. Nansen: Oganin et al. 2008; Celtic Explorer: O’Donnell et al. 2008; M. Heinason: Jacobsen et al. 2008; Tridens: Ybema et al. 2008). This report is based on a workshop held after the international survey in Kaliningrad, 23-25/4/2008 where the data were analysed and the report written. Parts of the document were worked out through correspondence during and after the workshop.
    • Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey, Cruise Report 2009

      Saunders, R; O'Donnell, C; Campbell, A; Lynch, D; Lyons, K; Wall, D (Marine Institute, 2009)
      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 Refrigerated seawater vessels (RSW). 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 1-20 nmi (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 mid September 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 stock structure and discrimination of herring in this area has been investigated recently. Hatfield et al. (2007) has shown the Celtic Sea stock to be fairly discrete. However, it is known that fish in the eastern Celtic Sea recruit from nursery areas in the Irish Sea, returning to the Celtic Sea as young adults (Brophy et al. 2002; Molloy et al., 1993). The stock identity of VIIj herring is less clear, though there is evidence that they have linkages with VIIb and VIaS (ICES, 1994; Grainger, 1978). Molloy (1968) identified possible linkages between young fish in VIIj and those of the Celtic Sea herring. For the purpose of stock assessment and management divisions VIIaS, VIIg and VII j have been combined since 1982. For a period in the 1970s and1980s, larval surveys were conducted for herring in this area. However, since 1989, acoustic surveys have been carried out, and currently are the only tuning indices available for this stock. In the Celtic Sea and VIIj, herring acoustic surveys have been carried out since 1989, and this survey represents the 18th in the overall acoustic series or the fourth in the modified time series. 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.
    • 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.