Celtic Sea Herring Survey Blog

15th Oct 2013

The annual Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey is underway off the south coast of Ireland. This survey attempts to determine the distribution, abundance and population structure of herring and sprat in the Celtic Sea, to determine the biomass of fish and ultimately inform quotas. The IWDG have had a cetacean recorder on this survey since 2004 and this long-term dataset is linking fish abundance to whale an dolphin distribution is incredibly valuable.

This data has already been used to support a recent PhD project by Conor Ryan from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) which looked at the diet of fin and humpback whales, showing that sprat seems to be more important than herring, small herring and sprat more important than large, commercially exploited fish and that fin whales also eat a lot of krill. This relationship between fish and predators is being further studied by PhD student Marieke Volkendandt (GMIT) who is currently onboard Celtic Explorer as part of the bird team.

The cetacean survey is being carried out by David Williams of the IWDG. David is based in Northern Ireland and has considerable surveying experience including participation in the Cetaceans on the Frontier Cruises.

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