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Fisheries

Assessment of fisheries/habitat interaction on offshore reefs: SeaRover Phase 2

Consistent with sub-article 6.2 of the Habitats Directive (EC 92/43/EEC), which requires member states to take measures to avoid deterioration of protected habitats, Ireland will undertake a further mapping survey of offshore reefs in 2019 to evaluate status and introduce conservation and management measures in proportion to status and pressures from fishing. This study has been identified as highest priority by DAHG for the marine environment and is based on a letter by DAHCG to DAFM (attached).

Assessment of Species Catch Composition in Fisheries Posing a Risk to Biodiversity Phase 2

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.

Assessment of the Impacts of Hydraulic Dredging on Sedimentary Habitats in the Irish Sea

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.

Assessment of the Species Catch Composition in the Inshore Commercial Static Gear Fleet

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.

Ecological risk assessment for pressures that vary in time and space

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.

Evaluation of Biodiversity and habitat mapping in the Biologically Sensitive Area (BSA)

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.

Fish species occurrence and food-web dynamics in a coastal lagoon

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.

Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) Proxies for Data-Limited Stocks for Key Stone Species and Species Sensitive to the Impacts of Fishing

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).

MsY proxies for DAta-limited Stocks (MYDAS) for key stone species and species sensitive to the impacts of fishing Phase 2

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).

Multidisciplinary Digital Aerial Mapping of the Marine Coastal Environment

There are a number of data gaps on the marine coastal environment which limits Ireland’s capacity to report to various EU Directives such as the Habitats and Birds Directives, MSFD and MSP.  These include the monitoring and assessment of coastal habitats and wildlife populations and assessing the effects of human activities on these features. Furthermore these ecological and landscape features are difficult to access and assess using traditional ground based survey methods.

SeaRover (Phase 1) Assessment of Fisheries/Habitat Interaction on Offshore Reefs

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.

Synthesis and development of advisory products: SeaRover Phase 3

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.

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