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Marine Scotland Science Reports

Informal report series, containing contract reports and preliminary or routine results of research and monitoring carried out by Marine Scotland Science.


UK Open Government Licence (OGL)

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Deepwater survey trawl manual

Marine Scotland uses FRV Scotia to undertake a deep-water trawl survey along the continental slope of the Rockall Trough. The broad aim of the survey is to collect fisheries-independent data on the fish populations of the deepwater slope west of the Hebrides. As with any new survey, there is often a period over which the survey develops both from a technical and a scientific perspective. The deep-water survey developed over a longer period than most owing to the fact that it was initially only run once every two years and because it is a technically challenging survey due to the great depths to which it samples.

The purpose of this manual is to describe how the survey developed and, now the development phase is over, to document as precisely as possible the current (2010) protocols and methods that are considered standard.

Neat, F., Kynoch, R., Burns, F. & Drewery, J. (2010) Deepwater trawl survey manual. Marine Scotland Science Report 03/10, 45pp. DOI: 10.7489/12352-1

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The survey covers a core area of the continental slope from between 55 to 59 ° N with the slope stratified by depth at 500, 1000, 1500 and 1800 m (Figure 1.1). Additional stations have also been trawled at intermediate depth strata, most notably at 750 m. The survey takes place in September and has a typical duration of 14 days. From 1998 through 2004 the survey was biannual. In the early years the survey was exploratory and the gear was designed on the basis of advice from the fishing industry. No formal gear trials were performed during this period, although much was learned about deepwater fishing. From 2005 the survey became annual
and while retaining its core stations on the shelf slope, began to expand its geographic scope. By 2008 the survey had settled on a core survey area of the shelf slope and Rosemary Bank. In 2008 and 2009 a series of gear trials were completed, which have resulted in modifications that have increased the efficiency and quality of the survey.

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