Cruise inventory

FRV Alba Na Mara 0409A

Cruise summary report

Cruise Info. 
Ship name (ship code)FRV Alba Na Mara (74NM)
Cruise identifier0409A
Cruise period2009-03-09 — 2009-03-16
Port of departureFraserburgh, United Kingdom
Port of returnFraserburgh, United Kingdom

1. To set-up and test UW camera survey equipment.
2. To produce survey quality video footage and digital stills of the benthos.
3. To collect preliminary data, such as information relating to species distribution and population variance, necessary for the design of a larger survey.
4. To perform rough scale ground truthing of 5 potential sample areas in the Firth of Lorn.
5. To collect grab samples from each area.
6. To produce a species identification key for future surveys based on objectives 2 & 5.


Scientists joined Alba na Mara at 1000 (all times GMT) on Monday 9 March in Fraserburgh. Due to high winds Alba na Mara remained in Fraserburgh all day. It was decided at this time that, given the weather forecast for the following week, Alba na Mara would be unable to make the crossing to the Firth of Lorn. Since many of the cruise objectives could be achieved in the more sheltered waters in and around the Cromarty Firth, a revised cruise was planned around the survey of commercial scallop beds known to exist in this area. The enforced stay in Fraserburgh was also used to set-up the pyramidal camera survey frame and to carry out on deck tests. Alba na Mara sailed at 0700 on the 10 March and made passage 15 km northwards to suitable substrate. Rough seas prevented the deployment of the frame at the designated site, and a decision to continue steaming towards the relative shelter of the Cromarty Firth was made. Alba na Mara arrived at the Cromarty Firth at 15:30. Several deployments of the camera frame were carried out successfully at this time. Alba na Mara then made passage to her berth at Invergordon, arriving at 1700 on Tuesday 10 March. Trevor Howell joined the Alba na Mara at 22:00.

The anchor was lifted at 0700 the following day, where Alba na Mara proceeded 20 nautical miles northwest to known scallop grounds. Camera surveys were carried out at 5 stations and adjustments to both camera settings and the lighting rig were made. Upon completion, Alba na Mara made her way to Invergordon where she tied up at 1900. An unscheduled change in crew was made at this time. Over the following three days, priority was given to the adjustment of the camera frame and to the re-arrangement of the lighting configuration. During this period, 5 scallop grounds were part-surveyed in order to test the camera technique and to examine scallop distribution patterns. Safe anchorage each evening was found in the waters adjacent to Loch Fleet. To assess its suitability in surveying different species, several biotope types were surveyed during this period. On the final day of the cruise, Alba na Mara made passage to a known scallop area 10 nm east of Cromarty. Alba na Mara then made passage to Fraserburgh, arriving in harbour at 17:30.
Chief scientistPhilip Boulcott (Fisheries Research Services Aberdeen Marine Laboratory), Trevor R W Howell (Fisheries Research Services Aberdeen Marine Laboratory)
Cruise programmeFRV Alba Na Mara 0409A cruise programme 0409a.pdf — access key 'C' (0.12 MB) 
Cruise reportFRV Alba Na Mara 0409A cruise report 0409a.pdf — access key 'C' (0.44 MB) 
Ocean/sea areas 
GeneralNorth Sea
SpecificMoray Firth/Cromarty Firth
Track chartsFRV Alba Na Mara 0409A cruise track — 0409atrk.pdf (0.07 MB)