Shetland pelagic fishing vessel Charisma recently returned to its home port of Symbister on the island of Whalsay after carrying out acoustic survey work for west coast herring.
Skippered by Davie Hutchison, and with scientific staff from the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA), NAFC Marine Centre, and Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Charisma spent eight days on survey, completing 1000 miles of transect lines around to the west and north of Scotland.
Industry vessels have been involved with west coast herring survey work over recent years, both supporting the International Herring Acoustic Survey (HERAS) carried out by research vessels Celtic Explorer (of the Marine Institute, Galway) and Scotia (the Marine Scotland Science vessel), and also on their own.
Acoustic surveying is used to estimate herring abundance, and biological samples of herring are taken from small-scale scientific sample hauls in order to determine the age structure of the stock. The acoustic survey onboard Charisma was the first of two planned industry surveys this year, with additional survey work planned onboard other Scottish pelagic vessels later this summer.
This activity is part of the pelagic industry’s ongoing work to improve knowledge on herring and provide data to ICES to assist in assessing the herring stocks and developing a rebuilding plan.