• 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
    • 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.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey Cruise Report March 28- April 16, 2011

      O'Donnell, C.; Saunders, R.; Mullins, E.; Johnston, G.; Lyons, K. (Marine Institute, 2011)
      Acoustic surveys on blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) spawning aggregations in the northeast 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 break from the southern Porcupine Bank area northwards to the Faroe Shetland Ridge including offshore areas as the Rosemary, Hatton and Rockall Banks. Peak spawning occurs from early March to 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 Working Group of Northern Pelagic Ecosystem Surveys (WGNAPES). 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 2011 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 RV G.O. Sars (Norway). The total combined area coverage extended from the Faroe Islands in the north (60.30°N) to south of Ireland (52°N), with east -west extension from 6°-17° 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 WGNAPES meeting held in August and made available to the WGWDS assessment group.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey cruise report, March 19- April 11, 2017

      O'Donnell, C.; Johnston, G.; Mullins, E.; Keogh, N.; O'Callaghan, S. (Marine Institute, 2017)
      Acoustic surveys on blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) spawning aggregations in the north east Atlantic have been carried out by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) Norway since the early 1970s. The 2017 survey was part of an international collaborative survey using the vessels RV Celtic Explorer (Ireland), RV Tridens (Netherlands), FV Kings Bay (Norway) 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 (51° N), with east -west extension from 1°-17° W. International survey participants meet shortly after the survey to present data and produce a combined relative abundance stock estimate and report. The combined survey report is presented annually at the WGIPS meeting held in January. The information presented here relates specifically to the Irish survey.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey Cruise Report, March 19- April 7, 2010

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; Mullins, Eugene; Johnston, Graham; Saunders, Ryan; Lyons, Kieran; Beattie, Susan; McCann, Kieran; Jorgen Pihl, Nils (Marine Institute, 2010)
      Acoustic surveys on blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) 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 break from the southern Porcupine Bank area northwards to the Faroe 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 target areas at the ICES led Working Group on Northeast Atlantic Pelagic Ecosystem Surveys (WGNAPES). 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 2010 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 RV G.O. Sars (Norway). The total combined area coverage extended from the Faroe Islands in the north (60.30°N) to south of Ireland (52°N), with east -west extension from 6°-18° 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 WGNAPES meeting held in August and made available to the WGWDS assessment group.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey Cruise Report, March 21 - April 11, 2012

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; Mullins, Eugene; Johnston, Graham; Nolan, Cormac; Power, John (Marine Institute, 2012)
      Acoustic surveys on blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) spawning aggregations in the north east Atlantic have been carried out by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) Norway since the early 1970s. The 2012 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 (Norway). 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 produced by the ICES led Working Group International Pelagic Surveys.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey Cruise Report, March 22 - April 01, 2015

      O'Donnell, C.; Nolan, C.; Johnston, G.; Keogh, N.; van der Knaap, I.; Borawska, A.; O’Donovan, M. (Marine Institute, 2015)
      Acoustic surveys on blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) spawning aggregations in the north east Atlantic have been carried out by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) Norway since the early 1970s. The 2015 survey was part of an international collaborative survey using the vessels RV Celtic Explorer (Ireland), FV Fridtjof Nansen (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 (51° N), with east -west extension from 4°-18° W. International survey participants meet shortly after the survey to present data and produce a combined relative abundance stock estimate and report. The combined survey report is presented annually at the WGIPS meeting held in January. The information presented here relates specifically to the Irish survey component.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey Cruise Report, March 22 - April 11, 2014

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; Mullins, Eugene; Johnston, Graham; Keogh, Niall; Oudejans, Machiel (Marine Institute, 2014)
      Acoustic surveys on blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) spawning aggregations in the north east Atlantic have been carried out by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) Norway since the early 1970s. The 2014 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). 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 stock estimate and report.The combined survey report is presented annually at the WGIPS meeting held in January. The information presented here relates specifically to the Irish survey.
    • Boarfish Acoustic Survey 09 July – 26 July, 2012

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; Farrell, Edward; Nolan, Cormac; Campbell, Andy (Marine Institute, 2012)
      From the early 1970s the abundance of boarfish (Capros aper) was seen to increase exponentially and distribution ever increasingly spread northwards along the western seaboard and Bay of Biscay (Blanchard and Vandermeirsch, 2005). This survey represents the second exploratory research survey for boarfish undertaken along the western seaboard of Ireland. The commercial fishing vessel the MFV Father McKee, an active participant in the fishery, was equipped with a calibrated scientific echosounder (Simrad EK 60) and transducer within a towed body. Data from this survey, in addition to the extensive biological research carried out on this species forms part of a larger program aimed at increasing the knowledge of this species and its abundance outside of the commercial fishery. Data from this survey will be presented for inclusion into the ICES Planning Group meeting for North Atlantic Pelagic Ecosystem Surveys in December 2012 (WGIPS) and for the ICES assessment Working Group for Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE) meeting in August 2012.
    • Boarfish Acoustic Survey Cruise Report 10 July – 31 July, 2013

      O’Donnell, C.; Farrell, E.; Nolan, C.; Campbell, A. (Marine Institute, 2013)
      From the early 1970s the abundance of boarfish (Capros aper) was seen to increase exponentially and distribution spread increasingly northwards along the western seaboard and Bay of Biscay (Blanchard and Vandermeirsch, 2005). This survey represents the third dedicated research survey for boarfish in the time series. The commercial fishing vessel MFV Felucca (as in 2011), an active participant in the fishery, was equipped with a calibrated scientific echosounder (Simrad EK 60) and transducer within a towed body. Data from this survey, in addition to the extensive biological research carried out on this species, forms part of a larger program aimed at increasing the knowledge of this species and its abundance outside of the commercial fishery. Data from this survey will be presented for inclusion into the ICES Planning Group meeting for International Pelagic Surveys in January 2014 (WGIPS) and for the ICES assessment Working Group for Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE) meeting in August 2013.
    • Boarfish Acoustic Survey Cruise Report 10 July – 31 July, 2014

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; Nolan, Cormac (Marine Institute, 2014)
      From the early 1970s the abundance of boarfish (Capros aper) was seen to increase exponentially and distribution spread increasingly northwards along the western seaboard and Bay of Biscay (Blanchard and Vandermeirsch, 2005). This survey represents the fourth dedicated research survey for boarfish in the time series. The commercial fishing vessel MFV Felucca was used for the third time and was equipped with a calibrated scientific echosounder (Simrad EK 60) and transducer within a towed body. Data from this survey will be presented to the ICES assessment Working Group for Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE) meeting in August 2014 and as part of the ICES Planning Group meeting for International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS) meeting in January 2015 (WGIPS).
    • Boarfish Acoustic Survey Cruise Report 10 July – 31 July, 2015

      O'Donnell, C.; Nolan, C. (Marine Institute, 2015)
      From the early 1970s the abundance of boarfish (Capros aper) was seen to increase exponentially and distribution spread increasingly northwards along the western seaboard and Bay of Biscay (Blanchard and Vandermeirsch, 2005).This survey represents the fifth dedicated research survey for boarfish in the time series. The commercial fishing vessel MFV Felucca was employed for the survey and the vessels hull mounted transducer was calibrated for scientific output. Data from this survey will be presented to the ICES assessment Working Group for Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE) meeting in August 2015 and as part of the ICES Planning Group meeting for International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS) meeting in January 2016 (WGIPS).
    • Boarfish Acoustic Survey Report 07 July – 28 July, 2011

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; Farrell, Edward; Saunders, Ryan; Campbell, Andy (Marine Institute, 2011)
      This survey represents the first dedicated exploratory research survey for boarfish (Capros aper) undertaken along the western seaboard. The commercial fishing vessel the MFV Felucca, an active participant in the fishery was equipped with a calibrated scientific echosounder. A consultant biologist from the Killybegs Fisherman’s Organisation (KFO) and a Marine Institute scientist headed the biological and acoustic research respectively during the cruise. Exploratory fishing for boarfish by Irish vessels began in the later 1980s when commercial quantities were encountered during the spring horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus) and mackerel (Scrombrus scomber) fishery in northern Biscay. Several landings were made into Ireland for fishmeal during this time but due to logistical problems related to handling (prominent dorsal spines) this species was not favoured by processors. Interest increased again around the mid 1990s when Dutch pelagic vessels landed frozen samples to determine if a market could be developed for human consumption. From the early 1970s onwards the abundance of boarfish was seen to increase exponentially and distribution ever increasingly spread northwards along the western seaboard (Blanchard and Vandermeirsch, 2005). With this increase in abundance boarfish were taken as bycatch in both the pelagic and demersal fisheries in ever increasing quantities and this caused serious problems relating to damaged target species due to the aforementioned formidable dorsal spines. During the early 2000s the Irish landings were relatively small (<700t per yr) and it wasn’t until 2006 that the directed fishery developed in earnest. Fishing was undertaken primarily by vessels from the Castletownbere and Killybegs based RSW fleets (refrigerated seawater vessels) which targeted boarfish from northern Biscay to the southern Celtic Sea. In 2007-08 Scotland and Denmark also began targeting boarfish in quantity. Irish landings are primarily landed into fishmeal plants in Denmark and the Faroe Islands with increasing amounts being landed in Killybegs. The boarfish fishery bridged an important gap between the short season fisheries for horse mackerel, mackerel and blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) affectively extending the fishing season for the RSW fleet from late August through to May. A precautionary interim management plan was adopted in November 2010 covering ICES Divisions VI, VII and VIII and an EU TAC of 33,000t was set. Of this the Irish allocation for 2011 was 22,000t. This precautionary TAC was based on 50-75% of total landings from the period 2007-2009 which peaked at over 83,400t (2009). Landings in 2010 reached over 137,000t in a scramble to build up a track record in the fishery prior to a fixed quota allocation. In 2010 Sweden now also shares the TAC allowance with those actively involved in the fishery. In addition to the TAC control, seasonal closures were also implemented; from September 1-October 31 ICES (area VIIg) to protect herring feeding and pre spawning aggregations and from March 15–August 31 where mackerel are frequently encountered as a large bycatch. A catch rule ceiling of 5% bycatch was also implemented within the fishery where boarfish are taken with other TAC controlled species. Data from this survey, in addition to the extensive biological research carried out on this species forms part of a larger program aimed at increasing the knowledge of this species and its abundance outside of the commercial fishery. Data from this survey will be presented for inclusion into the ICES Planning Group meeting for North Atlantic Pelagic Ecosystem Surveys in August 2011 (WGNAPES) and for the ICES assessment Working Group for Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE) also meeting in August 2011.