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Survey finds record numbers of small fish

Davie P

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2.3 Data analysis and interpretation


The analysis here was restricted to the main demersal species present throughout the surveys which are most commercially important. Selected species were:

 Cod (Gadus morhua)

 Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus)

 Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa)

 Whiting (Merlangius merlangus)

 Monkfish (Lophius spp.)

 Lemon sole (Microstomus kitt)

 Thornback ray (Raja clavata)

 Cuckoo ray (Raja naevus)

 Spotted ray (Raja montagui)

 Hake (Merluccius merluccius)

 Saithe (Pollachius virens)

 Megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis)

 Witch (Glyptocephalus cynoglossus)

 Ling (Molva molva)

 Turbot (Scophthalamus maximus)

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Results are presented for the 12 most significant commercially important demersal species sampled throughout the surveys. Key findings include:

  • Species-specific trends in relative abundance and inter-haul variability are shown by CPUE results with 2018 data indicating that catch rates were generally within the range of previous years.
  • A record high number of lemon sole (Microstomus kitt) and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) was observed in the 2018 inshore survey data, while a slight decrease in relative abundance since 2017 is shown for most other species.
  • Results from the shallow survey were considerably different from the inshore survey and suggest that shallow hauls were successfully targeting juvenile communities for some species.
  • Catch rates and length data from both the inshore and shallow surveys show that 2018 has been an exceptional year for high numbers of small cod (Gadus morhua), whiting (Merlangius merlangus), and in particular, haddock.
  • Trends over previous years indicate that the high abundances of young year-classes recorded for these species are likely to result in strong recruitment to the local commercial fishery.
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