• Atlantic Herring in 6aS/7b, Industry Acoustic Survey Cruise Report, November-December 2020 and January 2021.

      O'Malley, M.; Mullins, Eugene; Nolan, Cormac (Marine Institute, 2021)
      An acoustic survey of Atlantic herring Clupea harengus was conducted in ICES areas 6aS/7b in November-December 2020 and January 2021. The 2020 survey was conducted using five vessels; MFVs Crystal Dawn WD201, Ros Ard SO745, Johnny G S653, Abigail S SO354, and St. Catherine D299. The 6aS/7b survey design changed in 2020 compared with previous years in that only 6 core areas with prior knowledge of herring distribution from the monitoring fishery were targeted for surveying. This was largely based on the results from ICES WKHASS (ICES 2020) and from lessons learned in the previous surveys in this area from 2016-2019. This design resulted in a much reduced survey area compared to previous years, but with better coverage of most of the important inshore bays where the monitoring fishery takes place. The survey design objective remained the same; to capture the distribution of winter spawning herring in the 6aS/7b area, but this design was not expected to achieve overall stock containment. The timing of surveys in the core areas was flexible from the outset by design. It was decided that greater flexibility would allow for a targeted spatial and temporal approach which avoided the inevitable poor weather that can happen in this area during this time of the year and which lead to reduced survey effort in previous years. Using smaller vessels allowed surveys to be conducted in shallow inshore areas where herring are known to aggregate during this time of the year. This survey is the fifth consecutive annual acoustic survey for herring in this area at this time of the year. A pole-mounted system with a combi 38 kHz (split) 200 kHz (single) transducer was used successfully for the survey on small vessels (<18m) in 2020. Herring were again distributed inshore in shallow areas, and the improved survey design and use of small vessels for the survey resulted in a good measure of uncertainty (CV). The stock was not overall contained in 2020, particularly in the Donegal Bay area (Bruckless, Inver Bays, etc.) and more effort is required to target survey effort later in December and January when herring appear to show up in these areas in greater numbers. The COVID pandemic affected the ability to conduct surveys in late December. Very strong herring marks were evident in Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly in the channel in marks that extended for many miles. This was in areas where smaller boats in the fishery were concentrating effort. There was also a series of herring marks in Bruckless Bay, Fintra Bay and Inver Bay in discreet areas. There were a few small herring marks in the Achill strata. The monitoring fishery was being conducted on smaller boats in the same areas and close to the same time as the survey and biological samples from some of these vessels were used. There was a wide distribution of length classes in all hauls, with most hauls dominated by larger (> 22 cm) mature fish. The 2- and 3-wr age class of herring accounted for 54% of the overall numbers in 2020. The total stock biomass (TSB) estimate of 45,046 tonnes is considered to be a minimum estimate of herring in the 6aS/7b survey area at the time of the survey. The flexible survey design and focusing on discreet areas was generally successful and should provide a template for future survey designs.
    • International Blue Whiting Spawning Stock Survey (IBWSS) Spring 2021

      Marine Institute; Wageningen Marine Research; PINRO; Faroe Marine Research Institute; Danish Institute for Fisheries Research; Spanish Institute of Oceanography; Institute of Marine Research (Marine Institute, 2021)
      Coordination of the survey was initiated at the meeting of the Working Group on International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS) in January 2021 and continued by correspondence until the start of the survey. During the survey effort was refined and adjusted by the survey coordinator (Norway) using real time observations. The survey design was based on methods described in ICES Manual for International Pelagic Surveys (ICES, 2015). Weather conditions were regarded as exceptionally poor and all vessels experienced multiple days of downtime, with the exception of the Spanish vessel working in the Porcupine Seabight. This considered, the stock was covered comprehensively and contained within the survey area. The entire survey was completed in 19 days, below 21-day target threshold.
    • Western European Shelf Pelagic Acoustic Survey (WESPAS), 03 June – 12 July, 2020

      O'Donnell, Ciaran; O’Malley, M.; Smith, T.; O’Brien, S.; Mullins, E.; Connaughton, P.; Perez Tadeo, M.; Barile, C. (Marine Institute, 2020)
      The WESPAS survey program is the consolidation of two existing survey programs carried out by FEAS, the Malin Shelf herring acoustic survey, and the boarfish acoustic survey. The Malin Shelf herring acoustic survey has been carried out annually since 2008 and reports on the annual abundance of summer feeding aggregations of herring to the west of Scotland and the north and west of Ireland from 54°N to 58°30’N. The boarfish survey was conducted from 2011 using a chartered fishing vessel and reported the abundance of spawning aggregations of boarfish from 47°N to 57°N. In 2016 both surveys were combined into the WESPAS survey and have been carried out onboard the RV Celtic Explorer over a 42-day period, providing synoptic coverage of shelf waters from 47°30’N northwards to 58°30’N. Age stratified relative stock abundance estimates of boarfish, herring and horse mackerel within the survey area were calculated using acoustic data and biological data from trawl sampling. Stock estimates of boarfish and horse mackerel were submitted to the ICES assessment Working Group for Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE) meeting in August 2020. Herring estimates are submitted to the Herring Assessment Working Group (HAWG) meeting in March every year. Survey performance will be reviewed at the ICES Planning Group meeting for International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS) meeting in January 2021.
    • Western European Shelf Pelagic Acoustic Survey (WESPAS) 13 June - 24 July, 2019

      O’Donnell, C.; O’Malley, M.; Lynch, D.; Mullins, E.; Connaughton, P.; Power, J.; Long, A.; Croot, P. (Marine Institute, 2020)
      The WESPAS survey program is the consolidation of two existing survey programs carried out by FEAS. The Malin Shelf herring acoustic survey has been carried out annually since 2008 and reports on the annual abundance of summer feeding aggregations of herring to the west of Scotland and to the north and west of Ireland from 54°N to 58°30’N. The boarfish survey was carried out from 2011 using a chartered fishing vessel and reports on the abundance of spawning aggregations of boarfish from 47°N to 57°N. In 2016 both surveys were combined and carried out onboard the RV Celtic Explorer over a 42 day period providing synoptic coverage of shelf waters from 47°N northwards to 58°30’N.
    • Atlantic Herring in 6aS/7b, Industry Acoustic Survey Cruise Report

      O’Malley, M.; Smith, T.; Mullins, E. (Marine Institute, 2020)
      An acoustic survey of Atlantic herring Clupea harengus was conducted in ICES areas 6aS/7b in Dec 2019 using the research vessel RV Celtic Voyager and the fishing vessel MFV Ros Ard SO745. This survey is the fourth in a time series that is hoped will be developed into a long-term index of spawning/pre-spawning herring in 6aS/7b. The survey design is based on the predicted distribution of this winter spawning herring in this area. Poor weather negatively impacted the survey in 2019, resulting in fewer transect miles completed and fewer strata areas covered than planned. In total, approximately 600nmi of cruise track was completed using 96 transects. This resulted in a total area coverage of approximately 606 nmi², a significant reduction compared to recent years. Parallel transect spacing was set at 3.5nmi for the Donegal Bay strata. Tightly spaced zig-zag transects were used in a relatively small area in Lough Swilly. A Simrad ES-120 7CD (120 kHz) split-beam echosounder was used to collect acoustic raw data. The transducer was mounted on a towed body from the Celtic Voyager in Donegal Bay and was pole mounted from the Ros Ard in Lough Swilly. Very strong herring marks were evident in Lough Swilly in deepest part of the channel. The herring marks continued for many miles in the upper Swilly, an area where boats in the monitoring fishery had also concentrated effort. There were some herring marks in discreet areas around Drumanoo Head, Bruckless Bay and Inver Bay in the Donegal Bay Strata. 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 Inver Bay as close spatially and temporally as possible to the survey in these areas. Herring were dominated overall by 1- and 2-wr fish, (52% of the overall numbers) followed by relatively strong 3- and 5-wr cohorts. The total stock biomass (TSB) estimate of herring for the combined 6aS/7b area was 25,289 tonnes (Lough Swilly = 19,697 tonnes, Donegal Bay = 5,591 tonnes). This is considered to be a minimum estimate of herring in the 6aS/7b survey area at the time of the survey, and a significant decrease on the previous 3 years surveys. The reduction in the survey area completed as a consequence of the poor weather resulted in the survey not containing the stock in 2019. However, the overall CV estimate on biomass and abundance for the survey area completed is low (~0.17) in 2019. This is driven by the improved survey design in Lough Swilly, with reduced transect spacing and increased transect miles in this strata. The CV for the Donegal Bay strata is relatively high (0.63), this is mostly caused by the over-reliance on a few acoustic marks of herring in Bruckless and Inver Bays in particular and many transects with little or no herring marks. The survey in 2019 had to be altered due to weather, requiring a change in design and approach. However, the template of focusing on discreet areas was generally successful and may provide a template for future designs, particularly when reduced effort is necessary during poor weather or resource limits.
    • Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey Cruise Report 2020, 04 - 24 October, 2020

      O’Donnell, C.; Mullins, E.; Lyons, K.; Connaughton, P.; Perez Tadeo, M. (Marine Institute, 2020)
      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. 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. Since 2004 the survey has been fixed in October and carried out onboard the RV Celtic Explorer. 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 complemented since 2004 by detailed hydrographic, marine mammal and seabird surveys.
    • 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.
    • International Blue Whiting Spawning Stock Survey (IBWSS) Spring 2019

      Marine Institute; Wageningen Marine Research; Institute of Marine Research; PINRO; Faroe Marine Research Institute; Marine Scotland Marine Laboratory; Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut; Danish Institute for Fisheries Research; Spanish Institute of Oceanography (Marine Institute, 2019)
      Coordination of the survey was initiated at the meeting of the Working Group on International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS) in January 2019 and continued by correspondence until the start of the survey. During the survey effort was refined and adjusted by the survey coordinator (Norway) using real time observations. The survey design was based on methods described in ICES Manual for International Pelagic Surveys (ICES, 2015). Overall weather conditions were mixed with periods of poor and good weather. All vessels experienced some downtime due to poor weather conditions. The entire survey was completed in 26 days, above the 21-day target threshold. However, the survey start was delayed by almost one week compared to 2018 and included additional effort by the Spanish survey in the Porcupine Sea bight.
    • Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey Cruise Report 2019, 09 - 29 October, 2019

      O'Donnell, C.; Mullins, E.; Lynch, D.; Lyons, K.; Connaughton, P.; Power, J. (Marine Institute, 2019)
      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. 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. Since 2004 the survey has been fixed in October and carried out onboard the RV Celtic Explorer. 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 complemented since 2004 by detailed hydrographic, marine mammal and seabird surveys.
    • 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.
    • International Blue Whiting Spawning Stock Survey (IBWSS) Spring 2018

      Marine Institute; Wageningen Marine Research; Institute of Marine Research; PINRO; Faroese Marine Research Institute; Marine Scotland Marine Laboratory; Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut; Danish Institute for Fisheries Research; Galway/Mayo Institute of technology; Irish Parks and Wildlife Service (Marine Institute, 2018)
      Coordination of the survey was initiated in the meeting of the Working Group on International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS) and continued by correspondence until the start of the survey. During the survey effort was refined and adjusted by the survey coordinator (Norway) using real time observations. The survey design was based on methods described in ICES Survey design Manual (2015). Overall weather conditions were mixed with periods of poor and good weather. All vessels experienced some downtime due to poor weather conditions. The entire survey was completed within 20 days, below the 21 day target threshold.
    • Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey Cruise Report 2018, 08 - 28 October, 2018

      O'Donnell, C.; Mullins, E.; Lynch, D.; Lyons, K.; Keogh, N.; O'Callaghan, S. (Marine Institute, 2018)
      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. 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. Since 2004 the survey has been fixed in October and carried out onboard the RV Celtic Explorer. 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 complemented since 2004 by detailed hydrographic, marine mammal and seabird surveys.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey cruise report, March 20- April 06, 2018

      O'Donnell, D.; Johnston, G.; Mullins, E.; Keogh, N.; Power, J. (O'Donnell, D., Johnston, G., Mullins, E., Keogh, N. and Power, J. (2018). Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey cruise report, March 20- April 06, 2018. FSS Survey Series: 2018/01. Marine Institute, 2018)
      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. The 2018 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°-18° W. To the south of 51°N the Spanish research vessel the RV Miguel Oliver conducted a survey, complimentary to, but separate to the IBWSS survey, as part of their annual PELACUS survey program. International survey participants met 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 unless otherwise stated.
    • Western European Shelf Pelagic Acoustic Survey (WESPAS) 10 June – 24 July, 2018

      O'Donnell, C.; O’Malley, M.; Lynch, D.; Mullins, E.; Keogh, N.; Power, J.; Long, A.; Croot, P. (Marine Institute, 2018)
      The WESPAS survey program is the consolidation of two existing survey programs carried out by FEAS, the Malin Shelf herring acoustic survey and the boarfish acoustic survey. The Malin Shelf herring acoustic survey has been carried out annually since 2008 and reports on the annual abundance of summer feeding aggregations of herring to the west of Scotland and to the north and west of Ireland from 54°N to 58°30’N. The boarfish survey was conducted from 2011 using a chartered fishing vessel and reported the abundance of spawning aggregations of boarfish from 47°N to 57°N. In 2016 both surveys were combined and since then have been carried out onboard the RV Celtic Explorer over a 42 day period providing synoptic coverage of shelf waters from 47°N northwards to 58°30’N. Age stratified relative stock abundance estimates of boarfish, herring and horse mackerel within the survey area were calculated using acoustic data and biological data from trawl sampling. Stock estimates of boarfish and horse mackerel were submitted to the ICES assessment Working Group for Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE) meeting in August 2018. Herring estimates are submitted to the Herring Assessment Working Group (HAWG) meeting in March every year. Survey performance will be reviewed at the ICES Planning Group meeting for International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS) meeting in January 2019.
    • 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
    • International Blue Whiting Spawning Stock Survey (IBWSS) Spring 2017

      Marine Institute; Wageningen Marine Research; Institute of Marine Research; PINRO; Faroe Marine Research Institute; Marine Scotland Marine Laboratory; Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut; Danish Institute for Fisheries Research; BirdWatch Ireland; Irish Whale and Dolphin Group; et al. (Marine Institute, 2017)
      Coordination of the survey was initiated in the meeting of the Working Group on International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS) and continued by correspondence until the start of the survey. During the survey effort was refined and adjusted by the coordinator based on real time observations. The survey design applied followed methods described in ICES Survey design Manual (2015) and allowed for a flexible transect design and comprehensive coverage of the spawning aggregations. Overall weather conditions were mixed with periods of poor and good weather. All vessels, with the exception of Kings Bay experienced some downtime due to conditions with the Faroes experiencing the most prolonged period of bad weather at the end of the survey period. The entire survey was undertaken within 20 days and below the 21 day target threshold. The bulk of the survey was temporally consistent with the exception of one transect in the southern Rockall Trough.
    • Western European Shelf Pelagic Acoustic Survey (WESPAS) 06 June - 21 July, 2017

      O’Donnell, C.; O’Malley, M.; Mullins, E.; Lynch, D.; Keogh, N.; O’Sullivan, C. (Marine Institute, 2017)
      The WESPAS survey program is the consolidation of two existing survey programs carried out by FEAS. The Malin Shelf herring acoustic survey has been carried out annually since 2008 and reports on the annual abundance of summer feeding aggregations of herring to the west of Scotland and to the north and west of Ireland from 54°N to 58°30’N. The boarfish survey was carried out from 2011 using a chartered fishing vessel and reports on the abundance of spawning aggregations of boarfish from 47°N to 57°N. In 2016 both surveys were combined and carried out onboard the RV Celtic Explorer over a 42 day period providing synoptic coverage of shelf waters from 47°N northwards to 58°30’N.
    • Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey Cruise Report 2017, 15-04 November 2017

      O'Donnell, C.; O'Malley, M.; Lynch, D.; Lyons, K.; Keogh, N.; O’Driscoll, D. (Marine Institute, 2017)
      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. 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. Since 2004 the survey has been fixed in October and carried out onboard the RV Celtic Explorer. 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 complemented since 2004 by detailed hydrographic, marine mammal and seabird surveys.
    • Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey cruise report, March 19- April 11, 2017

      O'Donnell, D.; 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.
    • International Blue Whiting Spawning Stock Survey (IBWSS) Spring 2016

      Marine Institute; Institute for Marine Resources & Ecosystem Studies; PINRO; Faroe Marine Research Institute; Marine Scotland Marine Laboratory; Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut; Danish Institute for Fisheries Research; Birdwatch Ireland; Galway/Mayo Institute of technology (Marine Institute, 2016)
      Coordination of the survey was initiated in the meeting of the Working Group on International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS) and continued by correspondence until the start of the survey. During the survey, updates on vessel positions and trawl activities were collated by the survey coordinator and distributed to the participants twice daily. The survey design used and described in ICES (2015) allowed for a flexible setup of transects and good coverage of the spawning aggregations. Overall weather conditions were good during the survey with a total of 3 days weather down time recorded. Transects undertaken by all vessels were consistent in spatial coverage and timing, delivering full coverage of the respective distribution areas within 23 days.