The ocean research vessel Vizconde de Eza of the Spanish General Secretariat of Fisheries is sailing to the waters of the west coast of Ireland to begin the “Porcupine 2018” research campaign to assess fish stocks in the area. The mission will conclude on 10 October, with the ship returning to its port of departure.
For 33 days, studies will be conducted to obtain abundancy indices for benthic and demersal fauna in the Porcupine Bank. Particular attention will be paid to the commercial species of interest for the Spanish fleet, such as hake, anglerfish, megrim and Norway lobster.
Bottom trawling campaigns are one of the main methods used to directly study fish stock populations. This stems from the need to gather independent data on fishing activity in order to correctly manage target populations in fishing grounds.
Stratified data on abundancy indices are gathered for the main commercial species in order to assess fish stocks. Information is gathered on demersal and benthic species distribution patterns, recruitment strength, the location of young, and growth and reproduction data for the main species. Acoustic surveys and sampling will also take place with dredges to characterise the sea floor and hydrographic seasons in order to obtain water column data.
Porcupine 2018 is the 18th such campaign in the area and stems from a Spanish proposal following the entry into service of the ocean research vessel Vizconde de Eza in response to the communication from the Bottom Trawl Survey Working Group on the lack of data in this area. Continuing this sort of research is essential in Europe for fisheries and environmental management purposes. This campaign meets the commitments made within the European Data Collection Framework and the National Basic Data Programme.
It is essential nowadays to know more about our seas for the purpose of sustainable resource protection and management. To this end, the General Secretariat of Fisheries continues to invest effort in undertaking research campaigns aboard its oceanographic research vessels.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is maintaining its commitment to in-depth knowledge of the sea and its resources in order to guarantee sustainable protection and management. A partnership with the Spanish Institute of Oceanography provides access to and the use of the vessels owned by the General Secretariat of Fisheries and their equipment to the research staff, furnishing scientists with the best equipment for the purposes of the campaign while streamlining available resources.
Together with the Miguel Oliver and the Emma Bardán, the ocean research vessel Vizconde de Eza is one of the three fishing and oceanographic research vessels belonging to the General Secretariat of Fisheries. 16 years since it was launched, it continues to lead fishing research activity due to its excellent equipment and features.