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Support for MSFD and Biodiversity Support

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.

Seabed sediment and ecosystem data collection in support of MSFD, Natura and Habitat mapping

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.

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.

Ecosystem data collection on Irish fisheries surveys in support of MSFD, Natura and Habitat mapping Phase 2

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.

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).