FRV Alba Na Mara 2314A

Cruise plan

Cruise Info. 
Ship name (ship code)FRV Alba Na Mara (74NM)
Cruise identifier2314A
Cruise period2014-12-08 — 2014-12-22
Port of departureLeith, United Kingdom
Port of returnFraserburgh, United Kingdom

1. To determine the abundance, length and age of sandeels in the sediment in regions east of the Firth of Forth and around Turbot bank.
2. To collect and preserve samples of A. marinus for microchemistry analysis.
3. To collect and fertilise eggs from approximately 10 individual A. marinus females.


All required gear will be loaded onto the vessel on 5 December. Scientific staff will be transported to Leith to join the vessel on 8 December.

Two regions of historical importance for sandeel fishing will be surveyed (see Fig. 1). In the first half of the survey, a series of 8 dredge stations to the east of the Firth of Forth will be sampled following the protocol established in 1999. A modified scallop dredge will be used to catch sandeels buried in the substrate at the priority stations. Further stations in this region will be sampled if time permits. In the second half of the survey, the dredge will be deployed at stations 20 - 36 in the Turbot bank region. Ideally, 5 repeat tows will be conducted at each station although this may be reduced to a minimum of 2 if catch quantities are low or available time is limited. Dredge duration will be approximately 10 minutes at a towing speed of approximately 2.5 knots.

At each dredge station, all sandeels will be identified to species level, measured, and otoliths (5, 8 or 10 depending on length strata, per half centimetre) will be taken for age determination. Sub-samples of 100 sandeels ≤ 8 cm TL (age 0) will be taken from stations in the Firth of Forth, Turbot Bank and the Moray Firth and frozen individually for later analysis (objective 2). In addition, time permitting, eggs from around 10 female A. marinus will be fertilised and stored in isolated clutches before being transferred to the lab at the earliest opportunity.

Following the completion of survey work, Alba na Mara will return to Fraserburgh for unloading on 22 December 2014.
Chief scientistJoanne Clarke (University of Glasgow Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)
Cruise programmeFRV Alba Na Mara 2314A cruise programme 2314a.pdf  (0.19 MB) 
Ocean/sea areas 
GeneralNorth Sea
SpecificEast coast of Scotland (Firth of Forth, Turbot Bank, Moray Firth)
Track chartsFRV Alba Na Mara 2314A cruise track — 2314atrk.pdf (0.13 MB)