Static net fisheries are known to pose a potentially widespread risk of capture to a number of designated species including grey seal, harbour seal and small cetaceans (i.e. porpoises and dolphins).
This study investigated the possible effect of towed dredges during winter and spring fisheries for oyster and scallop on the potentially sensitive Zostera beds and the quality of Zostera in the following summer. A before and after control impact study (BACI) was established; seagrass plots were sampled for seagrass rhizome using SCUBA in mid-winter.
The razor clam (Ensis siliqua) fishery in the north Irish Sea is distributed in a continuous band of activity from Dundalk Bay in the north to Malahide in the south at depths from 2-15m. Fishing activity has increased significantly since 2013 in response to strong market demand for product. The fishery uses hydraulic dredging to extract razor clams and disturbs sediment to a depth of 25cm.
Over 90% of active fishing vessels in the inshore fleet use pots and nets to target crustaceans. Non-retained by-catch in these fisheries are significant especially in the static net (tangle net and gill net) metier. Commercial and non-commercial finfish are also captured in pots and some of this may be retained for bait.
The project aims to develop or adopt methods for automating data acquisition from inshore fishing vessels using digital methods. Data provision for the majority of the inshore fleet (
Vessel position reporting is mandatory for vessels under 12m carrying hydraulic dredges and fishing for razor clams in Irish waters. The number of vessels requiring iVMS increased in 2016 as new razor clam fishing areas were opened and as fishing effort in the north Irish Sea increases.
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.
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).
As part of the European Habitats Directive (EC 92/43/EEC), Member States need to take measures to avoid deterioration of protected habitats. Ireland is carrying out extensive mapping surveys of offshore reefs to evaluate status and introduce conservation and management measures in proportion to status and pressures from fishing. This study has been identified as high priority by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DCHG) for the marine environment to fulfil Ireland’s obligations under the Habitats Directive.