The Bangor University research vessel Prince Madog arrived off the Isle of Man last week to undertake the annual survey of the scallop and queenie stocks there on behalf of the Isle of Man Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, reports Andy Read.
David Beard, CEO of the Isle of Man FPO, told Fishing News: “The Prince Madog survey tows through the same positions each year and typically samples around 50 sites. This allows it to produce an abundance index comparable to previous years.
“It is a long-term survey. More sites were added last year to sample the areas in between the historical sites, again in a grid system. The tows are 20 minutes per site, with four sample dredges.
“We don’t have anyone onboard – but do of course have our own, industry-led surveys that support the Bangor work, which will start very shortly. The industry survey is of a higher resolution and samples around 200 sites, randomly selected from the main fishing areas.
“Bangor scientists analyse the data from both surveys and compare results. Both surveys have shown similar trends in the past three years, with small increases in stock levels.
“The advantage of the Bangor survey is that it is long- term. The advantage of the industry survey is that it covers the whole of the fishing areas, and due to the number of sample tows is more likely to find any high-density stocks. It also provides information on the level of recruitment to both scallop fisheries.”
The Isle of Man FPO survey will include, in May, a separate survey of the scallop beds within the Ramsey Bay Marine Nature Reserve, which has featured previously in FN.
This year’s survey is likely to coincide with a visit from a party from the Jersey Fishermen’s Association, and FN will hope to cover this further soon.
This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here. Main image credit: Darren Purves