1. To deploy fish traps over various habitat types within and around the South Arran MPA.
2. To synchronously deploy baited remote underwater video camera frames fitted with twin cameras calibrated for post-survey photogrammetric analysis.
Scientists will board the vessel on the morning of 3 September. Weather permitting Actinia will depart immediately, heading for the South Arran MPA. The vessel will operate on a day basis between the hours of 0600 and 1800 UTC.
Traps will be deployed and recovered each day following a minimum soak time of six hours. The approximate positions of each end marker buoy (GPS latitude and longitude), depth (m), soak time, and bait type and quantity will be recorded. Captured fish will be released from each trap, placed inside individually labelled bags, and frozen. Otoliths from gadoid species (cod, haddock, whiting and saithe) will be extracted back at the lab. In addition, a small hand-held drop frame will be used to deploy a GitUp Git 2 action camera and LED Electralume light in the immediate vicinity of the fish traps. Recorded footage will be used to verify the substrate types over which the traps are positioned. Trap station are derived from the midpoints of those sampled during the previous survey. Stations will be surveyed depending on the prevailing weather conditions i.e. if wind strengths or wave heights are adverse, a precautionary approach will be adopted and those with adequate shelter from the weather will be selected.
Underwater camera frames will be deployed a distance sufficient to avoid any interaction with the fleet ground gear (minimum 500 m between deployments). Two cameras oriented approximately ±6° perpendicular to the frame base will record high definition video (1080p @ 60 fps) for a nominal period of 1.5 hours. Footage will be downloaded to external media at the end of each working day. Species identification, relative density (MaxN) and substrate type (assessed visually) will be classified post-survey.
Unloading will occur in Millport on the evening of 7 September.
Joanne Clarke (University of Glasgow Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)