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Bluefin tuna in Irish coastal waters

This project aims to set up a monitoring programme to increase our knowledge of bluefin tuna migrations with special reference to their residency in Irish coastal waters and specific use of these habitats, reasons for their presence after more than a decade of near absence up to 2015 and establish whether they are likely to remain as persistent migrants in coming years. This project will contribute to the National reporting obligations for management of large pelagic fish species in Irish waters and to assess MSFD and OSPAR indicators for exploited deep-water species.

UWTV Marine Mammal Observer – a pilot project

This project proposal looked for funding to cover the costs of a Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) on an Underwater Television (UWTV) survey of nine days in August 2022 and 2023. This was the first time an UWTV survey was conducted on a Research Vessel with enough on-board space to accommodate an MMO and necessary scientific complement. UWTV surveys lend themselves well to MMO operations owing to their standardised operations in defined areas.

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.

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.

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.