This cruise was part of an international hydroacoustic survey providing information on stock parameters of small pelagics in the North Sea (HERAS - North Sea, West of Scotland and Malin Shelf summer acoustic survey), coordinated by the ICES Working Group of International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS). Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland and Ireland also participated in the survey. In general, this survey provides the most important fisheries independent contribution to the assessment of herring stocks in the North
Sea, Western Baltic Sea, Skagerrak/Kattegat as well as areas west of Scotland and the Irish Sea. The total survey area largely covers ICES Divisions IIIa, Iva, Ivb and Via, with the area covered by FRV Solea comprising the southern North Sea from 52° to 56°30' N. Main focus was set on herring (Clupea harengus) and sprat (Sprattus sprattus), whereas distribution patterns of Anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) as well as Pilchard (Sardina pilchardus) distribution pattern was another objective of the survey.
Matthias Schaber (Thünen Institute of Sea Fisheries, Hamburg)