The IWDG are pleased to have won the tender to provide a marine mammal observer on three fisheries acoustic surveys this year. The surveys include Blue Whiting in March 2021, WESPAS during June and July and the Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey in October. These surveys are annual stock assessment surveys and cover a huge area of the Irish EEZ. Data on higher trophic predators such as marine mammals and seabirds are essential to provide the data to support the development n Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management.
Experienced offshore surveyor Dr Justin Judge will be joining each cruise to record all sightings of whales and dolphins and other interesting Endangered, Threatened and Protected (ETP) species as well as recording the vessels track and environmental conditions.
The IWDG started these offshore surveys onboard RV Celtic Explorer in 2014 when Dave Wall built the dataset to publish the first Offshore Atlas of MarinE Mammal Distribution (https://iwdg.ie/product/iwdg-offshore-atlas/). In recent years the Marine Institute have contracted other service providers so we are delighted to be back onboard.
A Cruise Blog is typical of these surveys and we will post a link once one is underway.