Planned maintenance — 18th January 2018 12:00 to 22nd January 2018 09:00 [more]

Cruise inventory

FRV Alba Na Mara 1713A

Cruise plan

Cruise Info. 
Ship name (ship code)FRV Alba Na Mara (74NM)
Cruise identifier1713A
Cruise period2013-11-16 — 2013-12-04
Port of departureGreenock, United Kingdom
Port of returnLeith, United Kingdom

1. To undertake flat fish sampling in the Clyde estuary, Firth of Clyde, East Scotland Coast, Forth estuary and Firth of Forth in support of OSPAR CEMP and MSFD Descriptor 8 temporal and spatial trend monitoring studies of contaminants and their effects.
2. To identify possible new fishing sites in support of MSFD Descriptor 8 monitoring.
3. To undertake sediment sampling in the Solway Firth, Clyde, East Scotland coast, and Forth sea areas in support of OSPAR CEMP and MSFD Descriptor 8; to collect subsamples of sediments for the analysis of dinoflagellate cysts in support of ST03p.
4. To collect samples of Nephrops in support of MSFD Descriptor 9 ROAME ST014.
5. To sample the sea surface in the inner Firth of Clyde and inner Firth of Forth for microplastics in support of ROAME ST013.
6. To analyse bile samples generated during the survey.
7. To collect and oestrogenise thornback rays for Aberdeen University PhD project.
8. If weather and time allow, to collect samples of sandeels for the Picmatops project (ST007).
9. To trial new Manta trawl for the collection of microplastics in the Firth of Forth (if time is available at the end of the survey)


Fishing and scientific gear will be loaded onto the Alba na Mara in Greenock on 14 November. The scientific staff will travel to Greenock and join the vessel on 16 November. The survey programme will be followed, with any amendments (due to weather, etc) made as required, and Alba na Mara is expected to berth in Leith on the evening of 3 December.

Throughout the survey by-catch of species identified as suitable for Descriptor 9 monitoring (Nephrops, haddock/cod, monk, herring) will be sampled for subsequent contaminants analyses. Additionally, trawling specifically for Nephrops and other D9 species will take place in the Minches and in the Moray Firth.

With the survey starting in Greenock on 16 November, the vessel will first sample the Bowling site (flounder), before sediment sampling and fishing at the Holy Loch site for plaice and dab (flounder if dab not available) and then sampling for sea surface microplastics in the inner Firth of Clyde. Further flatfish (plaice) and sediment sampling will take place at Hunterston and Garroch Head. Sediments will be collected from the outer Clyde, near Ailsa Craig en route to the Solway where sediments will be collected and trawling undertaken to collect rays; these will be oestrogenised and kept alive until being sampled one week later. Weather permitting, the potential for a fishing site (beam trawl) for flounder off the Kyle of Tongue will be investigated and sediments (if suitable) sampled. A half-landing will be taken in either a port on the NW coast or in Fraserburgh. On the east coast, the potential for a new flounder site in the Tay estuary will be investigated, and flounder and sediments sampled from St Andrews Bay. Further investigations of new sampling sites for dab and sediment will take place in the outer Firth of Forth before flounder and sediments will be collected from the Forth estuary (Tancred Bank). Any buckies caught from the Firth of Forth will be returned to MLA for imposex determination. Floating microplastics will be sampled from the Forth estuary and the inner Firth of Forth; if the new manta net is available then Marie Russell will join the vessel to oversee its use, otherwise the bongo net will be used.

If time and weather allow, ten minute tows using the sandeel dredge will be done in ICES squares 45E4, 46E4, and 46E5; further dredge tows may be undertaken to east and west of Orkney.

On completion of this survey, passage will be made to Leith where all scientific gear and samples will be transferred to the ML Aberdeen.
Chief scientistCraig D Robinson (Marine Scotland Aberdeen Marine Laboratory)
Cruise programmeFRV Alba Na Mara 1713A cruise programme 1713a.pdf — access key 'C' (0.93 MB) 
Ocean/sea areas 
GeneralNorth Sea
Inner Seas off the West Coast of Scotland
Irish Sea and St. George's Channel
SpecificFirth of Clyde, Firth of Tay, Firth of Forth, Solway Firth.