RV Prince Madog BLUEFISH

Cruise plan

Cruise Info. 
Ship name (ship code)RV Prince Madog (74P2)
Cruise identifierBLUEFISH
Cruise period2017-09-26 — 2017-10-04
Port of departureMenai Bridge, United Kingdom
Port of returnMenai Bridge, United Kingdom
ObjectivesBLUEFISH is a 3 year collaborative research project involving Welsh and Irish research institutions, with multiple research aims. It commenced in May 2017. One aim of the project is concerned with assessment and management of king scallop stocks and fisheries in the Irish and Celtic Seas and also investigating potential impacts of climate change on this commercially important species. Another aim of the project is to investigate marine toxins and pathogens.
To meet these specific research aims we plan to undertake a number of activities during a research cruise in September 2017. We plan to sample scallop populations in Welsh and Irish waters using both underwater video and scallop dredges. This will enable a comparison of abundance indicators for the two sampling methods, and increase our knowledge on the abundance and distribution of scallops across the Irish Sea. This data will feed into work already underway in assessing the reliability of underwater camera for the non-invasive sampling of scallop beds. We also plan to alter the physical characteristics of the dredge gear (by using different length dredge teeth) to gain a better understanding of scallop dredge efficiency. We will conduct some of the sampling alongside the Irish research vessel, the RV Celtic Explorer, for the purpose of gear comparability (i.e. do both vessels catch similar amounts of scallops using the same set up of fishing gear?).
We will sample for algae and biotoxins that may be present in the water column. Sediment sampling for Vibrio and microorganisms will also be undertaken. The data gathered will be used to create maps of areas in the Irish/Celtic Seas at high risk of harbouring pathogens.
Scallop tissue samples will be obtained to investigate if the presence of toxins is linked to the intensity of scallop dredging in an area. DNA methods will be used to identify pathogens in the laboratory. Analysis of connectivity between stocks in the Irish and Celtic Seas will also be assessed used Genetic information, derived from microsatellite DNA.
Chief scientistClaire Szostek (Bangor University School of Ocean Sciences)
Ocean/sea areas 
GeneralIrish Sea and St. George's Channel
SpecificIn Welsh waters, around Anglesey and Cardigan Bay. In Irish Waters, across the Irish Sea front and south of Tuskar in southern Ireland.