The definition of marine habitats as ordinated biological community complexes can allow variations in structure and prevalence of species to be used to show change that may be linked to environmental pressures. To date, the inshore intertidal and subtidal reef has not been the subject of the same degree of focused surveys as the offshore. As a result, Ireland’s knowledge of the communities that occur here is qualitative and patchy.
The estimation of bycatch of protected, endangered and threatened species (PET) in commercial fisheries and its sustainability assessment is an important consideration in the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy, the Marine Strategy Framework directive (Descriptor 1) and the Habitats and Bird’s directives.
This proposes to conduct intense sediment sampling and environmental data collection surveys on areas of interest in coastal waters to develop high resolution sediment and habitat maps. Knowledge of offshore and coastal seabed sediment characteristics enable marine spatial planning decisions and contribute to fisheries resource management, aquaculture site selection, habitat mapping, conservation objectives and reporting under various environmental legislation including the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
This project proposal looks for funding to cover costs of a Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) on an Underwater Television (UWTV) survey of nine days in August 2022. This is the first time an UWTV survey will be conducted on a Research Vessel with enough on-board space to accommodate an MMO in addition to necessary scientific complement. UWTV surveys lend themselves well to MMO operations owing to their standardised operations in defined areas.
The capture of spatial data relating to bird use in inshore and offshore environments and interpreting these data as it relates to various anthropogenic activities is important in implementing management actions. Specifically, the capture of data and subsequent analysis will aid in understanding the interactions between bird species of special conservation interest (SCI) in Special Protection Areas (SPAs), and aquaculture and fisheries activities. This is an important requirement to the management and mitigation of these industries in Natura sites and more widely.
A very extensive data set exists in the Sea and Inland Fisheries Reports from the 1870s to 1987. In addition, data for the period 1900 to 1920 are available in the Fisheries Ireland Scientific Investigations series. These datasets could act as essential baseline information on the state of the Irish marine environment in the pre- or early exploitation era.
Ireland has obligations under the EU’ Marine Strategy Framework Directive to deliver food web indicators under Descriptor 4. Specifically certain elements must be met for at least 3 trophic guilds. This project will allow for collection and analysis of data to support the implementation of the MSFD Improved data provision to assess the impact of fisheries on biodiversity.
The assessment of ecological risk associated with marine industry activity and development is a key issue in providing advice to licensing authorities and planners in the marine environment. The project would take existing quantitative frameworks for risk assessment and add functions to incorporate effects of applying and withdrawing pressures over short time steps and to enable modelling of population responses to these pressure schedules. Developing these methods will allow us to incorporate them into decision support tools to allow for a more robust comparison between temporally and spatially explicit management measures.
The Biologically Sensitive Area (BSA) is situated off the west and south coasts of Ireland and is considered to encompass an area of high biological sensitivity. It contains important spawning and nursery grounds for exploited north east Atlantic fish species. This project will produce a report which details the biological basis for the BSA and the effectiveness of the designation as an instrument to afford protection to the area.
This project will establish a fish species list, including the marine and diadromous species, study their diet and establish the relative energy inputs (Carbon and Nitrogen) from both freshwater and marine sources. The project will provide baseline information on a vulnerable habitat (coastal lagoon) classified as an Annex I priority habitat (“in danger of disappearance”) under the EU Habitats Directive (EU, 1992). Also relevant to Descriptor 1 in the MFSD, setting a baseline for species and habitats identified under national and international legislation, such as the Clew Bay Complex SAC.
This project will monitor the recovery of exploited deep-water species following the decline of the deep-water fisheries in Irish waters.
Several studies have indicated large accumulations of plastic microfibers in the gut of Dublin Bay prawns Nephrops norvegicus and in the sediments in which they live. The complicated gut system in this species is suggested to retain plastic fibers and places these stocks at potentially high risk of interference from marine microplastic pollution. Fibers which are too large or numerous to pass through the gut can form balls of aggregated material over time.
The EMFF Offshore Reef project, SeaRover (Sensitive ecosystem Assessment & ROV Exploration of Reef) was a three-year project (2017-2019). Project objectives were to map offshore reef habitats with a view to protecting them from deterioration due to fishing pressures.This project will synthesise the output of all three surveys and, in consultation with the most important end-users, map out how the data should be disseminated, analysed and developed into products and tools used for policy support.
Many of the stocks which are caught by the Irish commercial fishing fleets are considered to be data-limited or are not assessed at all. These include a number of key stone species (like sprat, gurnards, saithe, pollack, ling) and species sensitive to the impacts of fishing (like rays and skates, john dory, brill and turbot). For these stocks, the fishing mortality is unknown and MSY reference points are not established. This lack of quantifiable targets is an impediment to the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) as well as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
The key importance of Tralee Bay (but also Clew and Galway) for endangered skates (and the skate-like angel shark) is well known and confirmed thanks to the first two years of EMFF work under the Biodiversity Scheme, and following on from Purse Search, IFI, ICES advice and the recent Irish Red List report. The threats to these species in the area are largely due to tangle netting for crawfish. The species in question are the white skate, common skates, undulate ray, common stingray and the angel shark.
Crayfish stocks are heavily depleted in Irish waters. This depletion has been driven by over exploitation since the introduction of tangle netting in the 1970s. The restoration potential relies on acquiring better data on crayfish essential habitat, information on migration and stock structure and in managing fishing interactions.
Data is a key input into the advice which drives fisheries management but access to it is often restricted to scientists. This project provides tools for a number of different audiences to discover and explore the fisheries data that is collected within Ireland.
As part of the data collection framework, the Marine Institute conducts ten annual fisheries research surveys at sea to provide fisheries independent data for stock assessment. These surveys can be used as platforms of opportunities for the collection of additional ecosystem data to support the reporting requirements for environmental legislation including MSFD, Natura and MSP.
Outreach through a variety of media including webpage, brochures, presentations, storymaps and videos to disseminate Marine Biodiversity Scheme and projects to a variety of audiences. This includes policy makers, stakeholders, scientists and the general public.