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Updated: 1 hour 20 min ago

Jointly Surveying Marine Protected Areas

Fri, 2017-10-20 10:00

Figure 1: Location of Marine Protected Areas to be visited by 1517S survey.

Duration: 20 October – 9 November 2017

Fishing Gear

  • TV drop frame and wiring harness
  • TV sledge and wiring harness
  • Valeport mini-CTD
  • 0.25m2 USNEL BSL Box core
  • 0.1m mini Hamon grab
  • 0.1m Day Grab (backup)
  • 0.1m Van Veen Grab (backup)


Marine Scotland Science (MSS) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) will undertake an offshore seabed survey in the Northeast Faroe-Shetland Channel (NEF hereafter), Scottish Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (NCMPA) and the Wyville Thomson Ridge (WTR) on the Marine Research Vessel (MRV) Scotia (Figure 1).  Habitats within the NEF MPA vary down the slope with the descent into deeper (arctic) water.  In particular the FSC survey will focus on deep-sea sponge aggregations that are expected to be found between depths of 400 and 600 m.  The MPA represents the variation in sand, mud and gravel habitat types present, and the animal communities they support.


Figure 2: Sampling boxes A, B and C with chariot tow start and end points for North-east Faroe-Shetland Channel NCMPA.

  1. Conduct a Type 1 (Henry and Roberts, 2014) monitoring survey of the NEF NCMPA focusing sampling within boxes positioned to allow for sampling to occur across the range of depths, biological zones and proposed management measures at the site. This will include visual (camera) and physical (box corer or grab)sampling (Figures 2 and 3). Visual data will be collected from areas understood to contain deep-sea sponge aggregations within the site boundary (Box A) and from adjacent areas outside the site (Boxes B and C) along the same depth contours. Physical samples will be obtained for further for further characterisation of the wider seabed within the site (Box D). Environmental data will be collected during visual sampling.

    Figure 3. Physical sampling stations (60) generated for NEF NCMPA in Box D (purple). Note 30 of these stations are considered core with a further 30 contingency only.

  2. Conduct a Type 1 monitoring survey of the WTR (Figures 4 and 5) focusing on sampling within boxes A, B and C which are positioned to allow for sampling to occur across the range of depths, biological zones and proposed management measures at the site. The focus will be on visual (camera) methods only. Environmental data will be collected during visual sampling.


After completion of safety drills and exercises, there will be shakedown deployments of the chariot, box corer and Harmon grabs.  Thereafter, Scotia will proceed north towards the NEF area.

In boxes A-C four long (~3km) chariot tows (Figure 2) will be used to characterise the epifaunal communities present within the boxes and 16 short (200m) drop-frame camera transect stations (not illustrated) will facilitate collection of high definition video and still images. In box D 60 stations have been generated of which a core 30 will be prioritised for physical sampling.  Initially the vessel will sample with chariot and box core/Harmon grab in alternate 12 hour shifts until all chariot runs are completed.  Thereafter, sampling may concentrate on the dropframe runs until these are completed with the remainder of the time used for remaining box core/Harmon grab deployments.  Where time permits sampling of suitable sponge aggregations may be undertaken in boxes B or C using box core or Harmon grab.

Figure 4. WTR sampling box A and drop-frame stations.

Upon completion of work at NEF the vessel will proceed to WTR and visually sample in box A using the drop frame using a systematic grid approach (Figure 4). Sampling will also focus on the area within and adjacent to a proposed static gear closure to determine the distribution and extent of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs), including sponges and corals (Figure 5).

Figure 5. WTR sampling boxes B and C along with existing data and drop-frame stations.

Tables 1-3 show positional information for the visual aspects of the survey. Positions of physical sampling stations and all contingency stations will be available to MRV Scotia.

For the purposes of this survey the NEF will be prioritised over the WTR and visual sampling will be prioritised over physical sampling.

Contingency plans in NEF to undertake further physical sampling in box D where moderate conditions preclude camera work. In WTR contingency for moderate weather is sampling with Harmon grab at a predefined location to the west of the site.  In both cases contingency includes transit to already identified inshore survey locations in the event of prolonged unworkable conditions.

A full and detailed survey plan and scientific rationale will be presented at the pre-brief meeting, before the beginning of the survey.

Table 1: NEF Chariot tows and positions.

Stn Code Deployment Recovery Box A Deg NEF_Tow_A01 61 57.268 N 0 37.968 W 61 58.047 N 0 34.842 W NEF_Tow_A02 61 56.861 N 0 27.718 W 61 57.465 N 0 23.990 W NEF_Tow_A03 62 0.908 N 0 17.895 W 62 1.251 N 0 14.178 W NEF_Tow_A04 62 0.183 N 0 10.523 W 62 0.686 N 0 6.927 W Box B NEF_Tow_B01 61 43.293 N 1 13.743 W 61 44.086 N 1 10.655 W NEF_Tow_B02 61 43.705 N 1 3.603 W 61 44.801 N 1 0.763 W NEF_Tow_B03 61 47.890 N 0 59.275 W 61 49.142 N 0 56.121 W NEF_Tow_B04 61 50.701 N 0 48.649 W 61 51.817 N 0 46.022 W Box C NEF_Tow_C01 62 4.079 N 0 6.789 E 62 4.841 N 0 9.945 E NEF_Tow_C02 62 2.049 N 0 17.017 E 62 2.325 N 0 20.493 E NEF_Tow_C03 62 6.553 N 0 26.445 E 62 6.877 N 0 30.181 E NEF_Tow_C04 62 6.225 N 0 38.439 E 62 6.706 N 0 42.059 E


Table 2: NEF Dropframe stations and positions.

Stn Code Deg DecMin N Deg DecMin E/W Box A NEF_A01 61 57.710 N 0 36.368 W NEF_A02 62 1.068 N 0 16.077 W NEF_A03 62 0.519 N 0 8.663 W NEF_A04 61 57.172 N 0 25.510 W NEF_A05 61 56.608 N 0 40.328 W NEF_A06 61 59.047 N 0 31.353 W NEF_A07 61 59.852 N 0 27.042 W NEF_A08 62 0.499 N 0 22.013 W NEF_A09 61 54.385 N 0 38.684 W NEF_A10 61 56.026 N 0 33.050 W NEF_A11 61 58.003 N 0 19.744 W NEF_A12 62 1.060 N 0 3.211 W NEF_A13 61 58.959 N 0 16.145 W NEF_A14 61 59.802 N 0 12.673 W NEF_A15 62 1.962 N 0 10.896 W NEF_A16 62 2.562 N 0 5.434 W Box B NEF_B01 61 43.728 N 1 12.023 W NEF_B02 61 48.573 N 0 57.578 W NEF_B03 61 44.251 N 1 2.313 W NEF_B04 61 51.322 N 0 47.316 W NEF_B05 61 41.637 N 1 15.627 W NEF_B06 61 44.859 N 1 7.086 W NEF_B07 61 46.564 N 1 2.587 W NEF_B08 61 50.693 N 0 52.610 W NEF_B09 61 52.391 N 0 50.681 W NEF_B10 61 54.081 N 0 47.600 W NEF_B11 61 49.452 N 0 50.586 W NEF_B12 61 48.159 N 0 53.629 W NEF_B13 61 46.275 N 0 57.249 W NEF_B14 61 42.370 N 1 5.195 W NEF_B15 61 41.350 N 1 9.640 W NEF_B16 61 39.564 N 1 12.565 W Box C NEF_C01 62 4.459 N 0 8.347 E NEF_C02 62 6.794 N 0 28.457 E NEF_C03 62 2.157 N 0 18.821 E NEF_C04 62 6.421 N 0 40.138 E NEF_C05 62 3.373 N 0 2.688 E NEF_C06 62 5.709 N 0 14.410 E NEF_C07 62 6.291 N 0 21.398 E NEF_C08 62 7.232 N 0 35.057 E NEF_C09 62 8.661 N 0 43.077 E NEF_C10 62 10.457 N 0 47.875 E NEF_C11 62 2.230 N 0 6.594 E NEF_C12 62 3.161 N 0 13.272 E NEF_C13 62 3.936 N 0 19.982 E NEF_C14 62 4.489 N 0 26.802 E NEF_C15 62 5.032 N 0 33.664 E NEF_C16 62 7.788 N 0 46.596 E


Table 3 WTR Dropframe Station

Stn Code Deg DecMin Deg DecMin Box A WTR_A001 60 4.519 N 7 26.152 W WTR_A002 60 2.628 N 7 24.087 W WTR_A003 60 6.359 N 7 23.906 W WTR_A004 60 0.736 N 7 22.026 W WTR_A005 60 4.467 N 7 21.841 W WTR_A006 60 2.575 N 7 19.780 W WTR_A007 60 6.306 N 7 19.591 W WTR_A008 60 0.682 N 7 17.723 W WTR_A009 60 4.413 N 7 17.531 W WTR_A010 60 2.519 N 7 15.474 W WTR_A011 60 6.250 N 7 15.277 W WTR_A012 60 0.625 N 7 13.421 W WTR_A013 60 4.356 N 7 13.220 W WTR_A014 60 8.086 N 7 13.019 W WTR_A015 59 58.730 N 7 11.372 W WTR_A016 60 2.461 N 7 11.168 W WTR_A017 60 6.192 N 7 10.963 W WTR_A018 60 0.566 N 7 9.119 W WTR_A019 60 4.297 N 7 8.910 W WTR_A020 60 8.027 N 7 8.701 W WTR_A021 59 58.670 N 7 7.074 W WTR_A022 60 2.401 N 7 6.862 W WTR_A023 60 6.131 N 7 6.649 W WTR_A024 60 0.505 N 7 4.817 W WTR_A025 60 4.235 N 7 4.601 W WTR_A026 60 7.966 N 7 4.383 W WTR_A027 59 58.608 N 7 2.777 W WTR_A028 60 2.338 N 7 2.556 W WTR_A029 60 6.069 N 7 2.335 W WTR_A030 60 0.441 N 7 0.516 W WTR_A031 60 4.171 N 7 0.291 W WTR_A032 59 58.543 N 6 58.480 W WTR_A033 60 2.273 N 6 58.251 W WTR_A034 60 6.004 N 6 58.022 W WTR_A035 60 0.375 N 6 56.215 W WTR_A036 60 4.105 N 6 55.982 W WTR_A037 60 2.206 N 6 53.946 W WTR_A038 60 5.936 N 6 53.709 W WTR_A039 60 0.307 N 6 51.914 W WTR_A040 60 4.036 N 6 51.673 W WTR_A041 59 58.406 N 6 49.886 W WTR_A042 60 2.136 N 6 49.642 W WTR_A043 60 0.236 N 6 47.614 W WTR_A044 60 3.966 N 6 47.365 W WTR_A045 59 58.335 N 6 45.590 W WTR_A046 60 2.064 N 6 45.338 W WTR_A047 59 56.433 N 6 43.570 W WTR_A048 60 0.163 N 6 43.314 W WTR_A049 60 3.892 N 6 43.057 W WTR_A050 59 58.261 N 6 41.295 W WTR_A051 60 1.990 N 6 41.034 W WTR_A052 59 56.358 N 6 39.279 W WTR_A053 60 0.087 N 6 39.015 W WTR_A054 59 54.455 N 6 37.267 W WTR_A055 59 58.184 N 6 36.999 W WTR_A056 60 1.914 N 6 36.731 W WTR_A057 59 56.280 N 6 34.988 W WTR_A058 60 0.010 N 6 34.715 W WTR_A059 59 54.376 N 6 32.980 W WTR_A060 59 58.105 N 6 32.704 W WTR_A061 60 1.835 N 6 32.428 W WTR_A062 59 56.201 N 6 30.697 W WTR_A063 59 59.930 N 6 30.417 W WTR_A064 59 54.295 N 6 28.693 W WTR_A065 59 58.024 N 6 28.410 W WTR_A066 60 1.753 N 6 28.125 W WTR_A067 59 52.390 N 6 26.693 W WTR_A068 59 56.119 N 6 26.406 W WTR_A069 59 59.847 N 6 26.118 W WTR_A070 59 54.212 N 6 24.407 W WTR_A071 59 57.941 N 6 24.116 W WTR_A072 59 52.305 N 6 22.411 W WTR_A073 59 56.034 N 6 22.117 W WTR_A074 59 59.763 N 6 21.820 W WTR_A075 59 50.398 N 6 20.420 W WTR_A076 59 54.127 N 6 20.121 W WTR_A077 59 57.855 N 6 19.822 W WTR_A078 59 48.490 N 6 18.432 W WTR_A079 59 52.219 N 6 18.130 W WTR_A080 59 55.947 N 6 17.827 W WTR_A081 59 59.676 N 6 17.523 W WTR_A082 59 50.310 N 6 16.142 W WTR_A083 59 54.039 N 6 15.836 W WTR_A084 59 57.767 N 6 15.529 W WTR_A085 59 52.130 N 6 13.849 W WTR_A086 59 55.858 N 6 13.538 W WTR_A087 59 50.220 N 6 11.865 W WTR_A088 59 53.949 N 6 11.551 W WTR_A089 59 52.039 N 6 9.568 W WTR_A090 59 50.128 N 6 7.589 W WTR_A091 59 51.945 N 6 5.288 W Box B WTR_B001 59 52.515 N 5 56.750 W WTR_B002 59 52.323 N 5 57.857 W WTR_B003 59 51.811 N 5 57.503 W Box C WTR_C001 59 51.935 N 5 54.408 W WTR_C002 59 51.864 N 5 58.711 W WTR_C003 59 52.608 N 5 55.580 W WTR_C004 59 52.029 N 5 55.759 W WTR_C005 59 52.989 N 5 58.700 W


Further Information

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Fun activities for the October holidays

Thu, 2017-10-19 10:00

Fish Hat

The October holidays have arrived again and if you’re looking for something to keep your little ones – and no-so-little ones – occupied, have you had a look at our Education Zone?

We’ve got information about our history and our fleet, as well as colouring in sheets, puzzle sheets and links to lots of other websites, where you’ll find other fun things to do.

But for starters, why not make your own fish hat?

Further Information


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Clyde Herring Acoustic Survey

Wed, 2017-10-18 10:00

Duration: 20 October – 3 November 2017

Figure 1: Track executed by MRV Alba na Mara on the Clyde Herring Acoustic Survey October 2012.


Sampling Equipment: PT154, CTD


  1. To conduct an acoustic survey designed to survey both the open and enclosed areas of the Clyde to ultimately provide an estimate of the abundance and distribution of herring and sprat.
  2. To obtain samples of herring and sprat for biological analysis, including age, length, weight, sex, maturity and ichthyophonus infection.
  3. All other species caught will be measured for length and weight to establish a length weight relationship.
  4. CTD profiles will be taken at the end of each trawl.


The survey will be carried out within an area bounded by approximately 55°N to 56°N and 04° 40’ W to 05° 40’ W. Echointegration will be carried out at 38, 120 and 200 kHz.  Data gathered in the hours of darkness will not be used for stock assessment.  Trawling operations will be carried out as and when marks are identified.  Otoliths will be collected from a sub-sample of the herring and sprat to determine age.  The maturity state and. presence of Icthyophonus infection will also be recorded.

A CTD profile will be taken at the end of each trawl.

The track will be similar to that of previous surveys (Figure 1).

TSG data will be gathered during the survey.

The survey will involve following a pre-set survey pattern, at a steaming speed of 8 knots.

Further Information

The post Clyde Herring Acoustic Survey appeared first on Marine Scotland.

ECOMMAS makes some more noise

Tue, 2017-10-17 10:00

Figure showing location of deployment stationsThe East Coast Marine Mammal Acoustics Study (ECOMMAS) is a long-term, on-going study into how underwater noise generated by offshore industry impacts the distribution of dolphins and porpoises in Scottish coastal waters of the North Sea. Acoustic recorders (C-PODs and SM2Ms) are deployed at 30 sites across 10 locations along the east coast, extending from Latheron in the outer Moray Firth to St Abbs in Berwickshire. They record underwater noise and count echolocation clicks to detect dolphins and porpoise. They have been deployed to collect data over a 7 month period, beginning in Spring, since 2013.

This work will allow Marine Scotland Science to gain a clearer picture of the distributions harbour porpoise and dolphin species, to help us understand whether major construction projects have any effect on this.

Marine Scotland has recently published the 2013-16 CPOD data, presented as detection-positive days (DPD) and detection positive hours (DPH) for porpoise and dolphins species. The data has also been uploaded into Marine Scotland’s National Marine Plan Interactive (NMPi) website where graphical representations of detections for each year, across both species, can be seen.

Further Information

For those of you looking for data on particular mammals:

The post ECOMMAS makes some more noise appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Crab and Lobster Fisheries in Scotland: Results of Stock Assessments 2013 – 2015

Mon, 2017-10-16 10:00

CrabToday, Marine Scotland published the latest in its Scottish Marine & Freshwater Science series – Crab and Lobster Fisheries in Scotland: Results of Stock Assessments 2013 – 2015.

Crabs and lobsters are important species for the Scottish fishing industry. Although the total quantity landed is small relative to finfish landings, crab and lobster attain high prices. In 2015, the combined crab and lobster species landings of 16,000 tonnes had a value at first-sale of over £29M (Scottish Government, 2016). The fishery is long established and was traditionally an inshore mixed species creel fishery, however, improved technology and the ability to store and transport live animals in the 1980s led to the development of an offshore fishery for brown crab. This, and the demand from new markets, has resulted in a substantial increase in the Scottish landings over the last thirty years.

The most important crab species landed in Scotland, in terms of weight and value, is the edible or brown crab (Cancer pagurus) which is found all around the Scottish coast. The second most important by landed weight is the velvet swimmer crab (Necora puber). Velvet crabs are often caught in the inshore creel fishery with lobster and brown crab and very few fishermen fish solely for velvet crab, although some target the species at certain times of the year.

The lobster most commonly landed in Scotland is the European lobster (Homarus gammarus), a valuable species for which seasonal prices can be as high as £20 per kg at first sale. Other lobsters landed include the spiny lobster or crawfish (Palinurus elephas), squat lobsters (family: Galatheidae) and the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus), also known as langoustine or Nephrops.

Creel fishing in Scotland continues today as an inshore fishery around most of the Scottish coast, with vessels setting their gear within a few miles of the shore. The fishery is typically a mixed species fishery with both crab and lobster being targeted, albeit with some seasonal and regional variation. Most creel vessels are small, less than 10 m in length and with only one or two crew, and make short day trips to haul creels. However, a number of larger vessels now take part in an offshore fishery to the north and west of Scotland.

The report presents the results of Scottish regional brown crab (Cancer pagurus), velvet crab (Necora puber) and lobster (Homarus gammarus) stock assessments carried out by Marine Scotland Science (MSS) based on length cohort analyses (LCAs), which is applied to commercial length frequency data for the period 2013-15.

Further Information


The post Crab and Lobster Fisheries in Scotland: Results of Stock Assessments 2013 – 2015 appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Predicting the impact of underwater noise on marine mammals

Fri, 2017-10-13 09:00

DolphinsMarine mammals, such as seals and dolphins, are sensitive to underwater noise and other disturbances which can affect their ability to forage or communicate. Our understanding of the effects of these pressures on marine mammal, and of how to assess and quantify potential impacts on populations, is rapidly evolving.

One tool that can be used to assess potential impacts of disturbance on marine mammal populations is the iPCoD (Interim Population Consequences of Disturbance) model. It was developed by SMRU Consulting and the University of St Andrews in 2013 and released by Marine Scotland in 2014.  It considers the consequences of disturbance, hearing damage or collisions that might result from the construction or operation of offshore renewable energy devices.  Marine Scotland is happy to announce that in keeping with our evolving understanding of effects of underwater noise, and how to assess them, we have recently published an update to the iPCoD model.

The newly released iPCoD model (version 3) is an update developed by SMRU Consulting, the University of St. Andrews, and Marine Scotland.

This update mainly contains improvements and developments such as:

  • improvements to run-time
  • flexibility in the way the effects of the persistence of disturbance are modelled
  • provision to specify different effects for animals close to the noise source and those further away
  • simplified data entry and a number of other smaller improvements

The download file contains the R code required to run the model as well as a new helpfile.

For more information, please visit our page at the following link:

Further Information

The post Predicting the impact of underwater noise on marine mammals appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Model Movements

Thu, 2017-10-12 11:00

This morning, Marine Scotland has published a report on approaches for modelling harbour seal movement. This type of information is important because it may be able to help predict the consequences of environmental change, such as the establishment and operation of marine renewable energy, on the distribution and movement of seal populations.

The work, undertaken by the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at the University of St Andrews, investigated two modelling approaches:

  • An Inter-Haulout Transition Rate (I-HTR) model, which uses data from tagged seals to quantify the frequency of movement between haulout sites.
  •  A prototype Individual Based Model (IBM), which extended the work of the I-HTR to consider the causes of movement.

Both models used telemetry data from harbour seals tracked in the Orkney and Pentland Firth area. Where the I-HTR made inferences about the frequency of movement of the local population of seals, as well as movement of the larger population, it did not consider the causes of movement and was unable to predict the consequences of environmental change.

However the IBM Model, although in the very early stages of development, monitored activity over a number of weeks and demonstrated the ability to capture the basic movement patterns and behaviour that are observed in harbour seal telemetry data.

Further Information


The post Model Movements appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Clyde 2020 – Sampling the sediment

Wed, 2017-10-11 10:00

Figure 1. Map showing the proposed sampling stations (Black points) and stations sampled in April 2017 (grey points) in the Firth of Clyde superimposed over gridded stratified clusters of high and low mud content (>25%) and depth (50m).
E_LM_LD: Low Mud / Low Depth, F_LM_HD: Low Mud / High Depth, G_HM_LD: High Mud / Low Depth, H_HM_HD: High Mud / Low Depth.

Duration: 13-17 October 2017

Fishing Gear:

  • Craib corer
  • Day Grab – 0.1m2
  • Autosieve (0.5mm & 1mm mesh sieves)
  • CTD


  1. To map spatial distribution of sediment characteristics, infauna composition, pore-water nutrients and organic matter content within the inner Firth of Clyde, Clyde sea lochs and Clyde Estuary.
  2. To map the relationship between mean particle grain size and permeability/porosity in the Firth of Clyde.
  3. Determine how relationships among sediment properties and sediment nutrient content are modified by natural disturbance, fishing activity and bioturbation potential.


Figure 1 shows the proposed stations from which grab and core samples of seabed sediment will be collected. Stations are stratified according to depth and sediment mud content (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Maps of the Firth of Clyde superimposing proposed sampling stations (Black points) and stations sampled in April 2017 (grey points) over spatial distributions of fishing effort (number of vessels) for vessels < 15 m. ScotMap data.

Stations in the Clyde Estuary and in the vicinity of the isles of Bute and Cumbrae will be sampled Day 1 (13 October). Subsequent sampling days will then focus on sampling stations south of Bute and east of Arran, and stations west of Bute and in Loch Fyne.  It is expected that ~ 5 stations will be sampled per day.

The survey anticipates equal emphasis on grab sampling and coring. The target would, therefore, be six cores, two grab samples and one CTD profile from each station.

Grab sampling

Two replicate grab samples will be collected per station. Subsamples will be taken from each grab samples and frozen for subsequent laboratory analysis of grain size distribution, % TOC/TN, sediment Chlorophyll-a & Phaeophytin-a content.  The remaining sample will be sieved through a 0.5 mm mesh and the retained material preserved in 4% Saline Formaldehyde for subsequent laboratory extraction and identification of benthic invertebrates.  Samples will augment data from SEPA and SNH, and provide estimates of benthic biomass for hitherto unsampled areas.


Coring may not be possible in sediments with low mud content and high tidal currents. Hence, coring will be attempted until three hours elapse or six cores are collected.

Assuming the collection of six replicate cores per station, three will analysed for permeability, porosity and grain size distribution, and three for pore-water nutrients (Ammonium, Phosphates, Silicates and Nitrates), with the extraction of four pore-water nutrient samples and 3 measurements of porosity per core.

Sampling 20 stations would yield:

  • (Core samples from 10 stations) 60 cores
    • 30 overlying water nutrient samples
    • 90 pore-water nutrient samples
    • 30 overlying water Chl-a and Pheo-a
    • 30 measurements of permeability
    • 90 measurements of porosity
    • 180 measurements of PSA
  • (Grab samples from 20 stations) 40 grab samples
    • 40 PSA samples
    • 40 %TOC/TN samples
    • 40 Sediment Chlorophyll-a and Phaeophytin-a content
    • 40 Benthic infauna samples

Ancillary Information – Chemicals to be Carried

  1. 4% Formaldehyde – Seawater solution (~20L) – 40% aqueous Formaldehyde is diluted with seawater and stored above 5oC.
  2. Di-sodium tetraborate 10-hydrate GPR (Borax) – Added at a concentration of 1g / 500ml of formosaline. Serves to prevent dissolution of bivalve shells by neutralising acidity.
  3. Acetone.

Further Information

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Meet our scientists – Dr Carey Fraser

Tue, 2017-10-10 10:00

Carey FraserWho are you and what do you do?

I am Carey Fraser. I work 30 hours a week and spend half of my week as Science Operations Programme Manager for Marine Scotland Science, and half on secondment as Head of Professional Development for Science in the Scottish Government.

Why is what you do important?

Science Operations provide specialist services to all areas of Marine Scotland Science (MSS) and beyond so it is important that I communicate details about Marine Scotland’s priorities, resources and likely future changes to the specialist groups. The Head of Professional Development is a new role and my first task is to set up a career development strategy for scientists working in the Scottish Government. There are scientists of all disciplines working in many different areas of Government including bench scientists and specialists in MSS and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), advisors in the Agriculture & Rural Economy and Environment & Forestry Directorates of the Scottish Government, as well as Food Standards Scotland, and scientists providing advice or commissioning science for other areas of Government, such as Health and Social Care. Any strategy needs to provide for this diverse range of staff and link to other Government analytical professions, such as Economists, Statisticians and Social Researchers.

What’s your career path been – how did you get here?

I began as an Assistant Scientific Officer in the Parasitology section of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland (DAFS) in 1984. I carried out lab work, fish farm visits and a couple of sea trips but I was never a good sailor.   Thanks to a very supportive line manager, I studied part-time for a degree with the Open University. I moved to a brand new Molecular Genetics section after completing my degree and studied part-time for a PhD while developing DNA tests to identify parasite species. I was promoted to Group Leader for the Molecular Genetics at a very exciting time when we developed world-leading testing services and research team. I was seconded to the senior management team at the time when we were Fisheries Research Services (the predecessor to Marine Scotland Science), and coordinated the planning and reporting of the Scottish Government-funded science programme. Not content with just the two degrees, I completed a part-time MBA around this stage.

Since the inception of Marine Scotland I have become Science Operations Programme Manager and have had duties that include chairing the UK and Scottish Research Vessel Working Groups, a secondment to conduct a review of the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, and helping and supporting both MSS and SASA in joining the Athena SWAN to begin working towards the Bronze charter for gender equality. It feels like I have had several different jobs, just all in more or less the same location!

If you weren’t doing this, what do you think you’d be doing instead?

We used to ask this question in the labs some days and I honestly don’t know. I’d like to say I would have been a Vet. I think I would have enjoyed that career, but I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t have worked hard enough in my last year at school to get in.

GS bugWhat’s your favourite fishy fact?

Gyrodactylus parasites give birth to live young. The electron micrographs of this look like a scene from ‘Alien’ (see right).

And one fun fact about you?

I like going to the gym to stave off running injuries. My 100kg deadlift personal best pales into insignificance compared to the achievements of my powerlifting champion colleague in communications, who is my hero!

Further Information

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The Buckland Foundation lecture – 12 October 2017

Tue, 2017-10-03 10:00

Buckland LogoThe Buckland Foundation: Stewards of the Sea: Returning Power to Fishers

Thursday 12 October 2017, The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, St Andrews, KY16 9LA, 16.30 for 17.00.
Free Entry & Refreshments Available.

The Scottish presentation of the 2017 Buckland Lecture will be in the Byre Theatre at the University of St Andrews on Thursday 12 October at 16.30, hosted by the University of St Andrews and the Buckland Foundation, which is based in the Scottish Fisheries Museum, Anstruther. Entry will be free and refreshments will be provided.

The speaker will be Paul J B Hart, Emeritus Professor of Fish Biology and Fisheries, University of Leicester, and will address the issue of Stewards of the Sea : Returning Power to Fishers. In his Lecture Professor Hart examines the factors that have distanced fishers from the fisheries management process. He will discuss ways in which fishers are being brought back into the process managing their fish stocks sustainably and of thus contributing to marine conservation. He aims empower fishers to take the lead in the fisheries management system.

Speaker: Professor Paul Hart, Professor Emeritus of Fish Biology and Fisheries, University of Leicester

Further information from John Firn : 079 1936 1689 or

The Buckland Foundation

Frank Buckland was a 19th century army surgeon, naturalist and bon viveur who was deeply interested in every kind of creature from both a natural history and gourmet viewpoints. In later life he became an insightful Inspector of Salmon Fisheries and actively promoted rational fishing and aquaculture. In 1920 his family bequeathed the residue of his estate to establish a trust to perpetuate and promote these interests. The Trust annually appoints a Buckland Professor to give the Buckland Lecture, supports Summer Studentships in universities and research institutes, and hosts a major biennial colloquium on sustainable fisheries. The Foundation is based at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, and further information is available on


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The genetic stock identification of European Atlantic salmon

Fri, 2017-09-29 10:00

Map of smapling regionsMarine Scotland scientists, including senior author Dr John Gilbey, Eef Cauweiler and Lee Stradmeyer,  have been involved in a recent publication in the ICES Journal of Marine Science.

The publication, which is the results of a collaboration between researchers from laboratories in 11 countries from across Europe, provides the most comprehensive geographical coverage for an Atlantic salmon data-set for genetic stock identification of salmon at sea, and is a unique resource for the conservation and management of the species in Europe.

To facilitate marine stock identification, a genetic baseline was developed covering the European component of the species’ range from the Russian River Megra in the north-east, the Icelandic Ellidaar in the west, and the Spanish Ulla in the south, spanning 3737 km North to South and 2717 km East to West. The baseline encompasses data for 14 genetic markers for 26 822 individual fish from 13 countries, 282 rivers, and 467 sampling sites and provides a hierarchy of regional genetic assignment units.

At the top level, three assignment units were identified comprising northern (Scandinavia, Russia), southern, and Icelandic regions. A second assignment level was also defined, comprising eighteen and twenty-nine regional units for accurate individual assignment and mixed stock estimates respectively.

More information


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Joint Warrior Training Activity: 30th September – 12th October 2017

Wed, 2017-09-27 10:00

Exercise JOINT WARRIOR 172 (JW172) will take place between 30 September and 12 October 2017, delivered by the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) from Faslane. It is a programme of exercises conducted across the UK by land forces, warships, submarines and aircraft from 14 Nations. The majority of the maritime and air activity will be focussed in the airspace, offshore and coastal waters to the North and North West of Scotland. This booklet provides outline information on scheduled activity including details of intended gunnery and aircraft bombing activity at Cape Wrath and in some open ocean areas.

Further Information

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The Scotia went to CTD to see what she could ADCP

Mon, 2017-09-25 10:00

MRV ScotiaDuration: 6-16 October 2017


Sea-Bird CTDs (Conductivity, Pressure & Depth), ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) instrumentation and AL-200 frame, water filtering equipment, bacteria sampling and experimental equipment, including bacterial culture equipment with CO2 gas enrichment (HWU), mooring equipment and recovery trawl.


  1. Test the CTD in the Buchan Deep off Peterhead
  2.  Perform hydrographic sampling along the JONSIS long term monitoring section in the northern North Sea.
  3.  Deploy ADCP on JONSIS line in AL-200 frame (AECO).
  4. Recover and download the data from a single string ACDP mooring on the Fair Isle – Munken section in the FSC (NWS-E).
  5. Re-deploy one ADCP mooring at a position on Fair Isle – Munken section.
  6. Take surface water samples near FIM 8 location for phytoplankton and bacterial analysis and experimentation (HWU).
  7.  Perform hydrographic sampling along the long term monitoring Faroe-Shetland Channel Nolso – Flugga (NOL/NWE) section.
  8.  Perform hydrographic sampling along the long term monitoring Faroe-Shetland Channel Fair Isle – Munken (NWS) section.
  9. Take water samples for long term storage on two Fair Isle – Munken or Nolso – Flugga section stations.
  10. Take water samples for bacteria analysis at selected stations on the monitoring lines.
  11.  Recover one ADCP mooring at a position on Faroe-Shetland Channel Faroe – Cape Wrath (FCW/NWZ) section (NWZ-E).
  12.  Perform hydrographic sampling in the vicinity of the above ADCP mooring in order to calibrate the mooring equipment.
  13. Perform a CTD transect along a Stonehaven AlterEco section (going west from 2° E).


On sailing, Scotia will carry out test deployments of the CTD and carousel around the Buchan Deep, using the standard deployment procedures (10 m soak); sampling procedures will also be rehearsed at the test station. Scotia will then make passage to the start of the JONSIS long term monitoring section to carry out sampling with the CTD and carousel water sampler.  On completion of the JONSIS section, passage will be made to the mooring location on the JONSIS line, where the ADCP in the AL-200 will be deployed.

On completion, passage will be made to the ADCP mooring site on the Fair Isle – Munken (FIM) section, where the ADCP mooring will be recovered and a CTD profile performed. Scotia will then stay on site while the data is downloaded and the mooring refurbished for re-deployment. Scotia will then make her way to FIM-08 for water sampling for phytoplankton and bacteria (time permitting) before sailing to the western end of the Nolso – Flugga (NOL) section.

Water samples and CTD profiles will be taken along the NOL section. Scotia will then proceed to the FIM section to carry out standard CTD and water sampling along that line.  Along the standard sections water samples will be taken at a subset of stations for bacterial work by HWU visitors.  After the FIM section Scotia will sail to the mooring location on the Faroe – Cape Wrath (FCW) line (NWZE) where the mooring will be recovered and CTD profile performed. Scotia will then make her way to the eastern end of the Stonehaven CTD line and make her way back west along the line performing CTD profiles.

Further Information

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Knowing your parasites – inside and out

Wed, 2017-09-20 10:00

Ensuring Scotland’s marine environment is managed effectively and sustainable is crucial for future generations – and this includes, literally, all creatures great and small.

To support this, in September,  representatives from Marine Scotland, Aberdeen University and the University of Cape Town hosted a two day MASTS-funded workshop in Aberdeen focussing on “Parasites of Commercially Important Marine Fish Species and their Potential as Population Biological Tags”.

The workshop comprised of a day of laboratory-based practical parasite screening work utilising cod and haddock kindly collected by colleagues on a recent research survey on MRV Scotia.  The laboratory based practical was carried out at the Department of Zoology, University of Aberdeen and was followed by a day of presentations at Marine Scotland’s Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen given by invited speakers, including Dr Ken MacKenzie from the University of Aberdeen, Dr Cecile Reed from University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Drs Neil Campbell and Campbell Pert from Marine Scotland. In addition, there were a number of postgraduate students who had the opportunity to share their research with their peers.

Attending this workshop allowed attendees to develop their fish parasitology skills and techniques, and allowed students and early career scientists the opportunity to present their research in the field of marine fisheries parasitology to an International audience of parasite experts in the less intimidating environment of a workshop rather than a large conference. Furthermore, the knowledge gained from the meeting will not only contribute to the attendees’ understanding of a range of fish parasitology issues but will also allow delegates to disseminate information to their peers and the wider MASTS community.

Dr Campbell Pert


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IA2017 – Eutrophication is still a problem in some areas

Mon, 2017-09-18 10:00

Eutrophication graphic

Eutrophication is the result of excessive enrichment of water with nutrients. This can cause accelerated growth of algae (phytoplankton) and plants. This may result in an undesirable disturbance to the balance of organisms present and ultimately to a decline in the overall water quality.

Eutrophication is not always a local problem. Water masses continuously move and interact, and the associated transport of nutrients can lead to eutrophication effects away from the source.

Owing to the adverse environmental impacts of eutrophication, OSPAR conducts periodic assessments of the eutrophication status across the OSPAR Maritime Area.

The results of the latest eutrophication assessment (for the period 2006–2014) indicate that eutrophication still occurs in the OSPAR Maritime Area, particularly in areas sensitive to nutrient inputs, such as estuaries, fjords and bights, and in areas affected by river plumes. In particular, there is high eutrophication pressure on the south eastern coast of the Greater North Sea and some localised areas of the Celtic Seas. This is despite the reduced input of nutrients and lower concentrations of nutrients observed in the marine environment.

Although the extent of eutrophication in the OSPAR Maritime Area has continued to improve since 1990, concerns about atmospheric and riverine inputs of nutrients identified in OSPAR’s Quality Status Report 2010 still remain.

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Surveying Scotland’s Priority Marine Features

Fri, 2017-09-15 10:00

Figure 1: 2017 survey areas – Small Isles MPA UWTV Survey Boxes

Duration: 21 September – 10 October 2017


  • New drop/lander frame + calibration mesh
  • HD TV system + lights
  • Armoured cable + spare + axle stands
  • Stereo TV system 

Background and Objectives

1617A will survey the waters around the Small Isles Marine Protected Area (MPA). The primary objective of this survey is to survey monitoring sites previously visited in 2012-2016 that support Scotland’s Priority Marine Features (PMFs).  Work from these surveys will be used to determine the effect of MPAs established in Scottish waters.  A secondary objective is that the data will contribute to a potential impact (BACI) study once protective measures within the MPA are introduced. If weather permits, after the half landing a further study of sites in and around the South Arran MPA will be conducted to survey monitoring sites previously visited in 2015 and 2016. Specific objectives are as follows:

  1. To conduct further assessments of Funiculina quadrangularis abundance within the Small Isles MPA and areas outside.
  2. To further survey known populations of other priority marine feature (PMF) species within and outside the Small Isles MPA.
  3. To conduct further assessments of PMF abundance within the South Arran MPA and areas outside.

Benthic Survey

UW HDTV surveys of the seabed at various sites inside and outside the Small Isles MPA (Figure 1) and the South Arran MPA (Figure 2) will be carried out. The survey will utilise the newly built modular camera frame (combined drop and lander frame – 2460 × 1900 × 1940 mm, L × W × H) deployed from the aft of the vessel. Species type, species densities and substrate type (assessed visually) will be classified for each video transect post-survey.

Figure 2: 2017 survey areas: South Arran MPA UWTV Survey Boxes.

Further Information

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Trawling in the deep with the Scotia

Wed, 2017-09-13 10:00

Figure 1: 1317S – Shelf slope with approximate position of survey trawl transects.

Duration: 15-28 September 2017


  • BT 184 Deepwater trawl with 16“ ground-gear and Morgere 1700 kg doors (monkfish)
  • Groundgear Bosom bag for BT184
  • Agassiz trawl


  • To map the composition, distribution and abundance of continental slope species including invertebrates on the deepwater slope west of the Hebrides and Rosemary Bank to depths of 2000 m.
  • To collect temperature at depth during all deepwater hauls using a data storage sensor attached to the trawl headline.
  • To collect samples (genetics and otoliths) for key species for population studies and undertake any other sampling requests, e.g. MSFD litter recording.
  • Continued use of groundgear bag and Agassiz trawl on selected stations to further evaluate gear catchability of deepwater fish species at different depths as well as providing valuable benthic assemblage data.
  • Retrieval of acoustic mooring from Rosemary Bank upon completion of trawling operations. Details of location and instructions for retrieval to be provided to the vessel prior to embarkation.


The deepwater slope survey will depart and proceed south through the Minch to the first trawling station on the shelf slope between 500-2000m within statistical rectangle 41E9. The primary objective is to map the composition, distribution and abundance of fish species on the deepwater slope west of the Hebrides from Donegal to the Flannans (55 – 59N) and Rosemary Bank (see Figure 1). Trawling will mainly be at fixed stations at depths of 500, 750, 1000, 1500, 1800 and 2000 m although additional trawls may be undertaken at intermediate depths within selected transects. Trawl duration will typically be one hour and the locations of trawling stations will be provided to the vessel at the commencement of the survey. No CTD deployments will be made, rather a DST (data storage tag) will be deployed onto the trawl headline for the duration of the survey and will provide bottom temperature data for all of the trawls undertaken during the survey. Trawling will be conducted within the hours of daylight. It may on occasion be necessary to trawl at night although it is accepted that this will be the exception rather than the norm and night time will mainly be spent in passage from one sampling area to the next. From all tows the entire catch will be sorted, weighed and length-frequency data collected for all fish species encountered. Benthic invertebrate by-catch will also be recorded. On selected tows a ground gear bag will be attached for benthos sampling. In addition the Agassiz 2 m benthic trawl will be used opportunistically on selected tows during the survey. Additional biological sampling to be carried out on selected species.

Further Information

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Opening the Doors on Coastal Monitoring

Tue, 2017-09-12 10:00

At-sea remote electronic monitoring (REM) system produces large quantities of data; time-stamped sensor records, video footage, and GPS cruise-track coordinates


Phytoplankton models

3d printed models of phytoplankton, one of the environmental parameters studied at the Stonehaven site. These models were made by Kevin MacKenzie, Microscopy and Histology Core Facility Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen using templates generated by Dr. Jeffrey Krause from a grant by the US National Science Foundation (Grant OCE-1155663) to support research and education.

Staff at Marine Scotland are busy preparing for Aberdeenshire Doors Open Day on the 16th September.


Located in the courtyard of the Tollbooth Museum by Stonehaven harbour between 10am until 4pm, they will be presenting a display about the renowned Scottish Coastal Observatory site located 5km offshore from Stonehaven.

For the last 20 years, environmental factors at sea such as temperature, salinity, nutrients, plankton, ocean acidification have been monitored weekly. The data from this site is much in demand by the scientific community, and others, to help assess the state of coastal ecosystems and to identify impacts of climate change.

There will also be a display about the use of automated image analysis to count and classify fish catches, a task currently undertaken by scientists  at Marine Scotland Science.  Video footage collected from Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) systems from  demersal trawlers are being used to train and test this new approach that utilises convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for  fish segmentation and counting.  There will also be the opportunity for people to get hands on experience with some fish identification.

Why not come along to find out more about the work being done there?

Further Information

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IA2017 – New developments in the way biodiversity is assessed

Mon, 2017-09-11 17:00

Biodiversity graphic

OSPAR is committed to protecting and conserving ecosystems and biodiversity through the management of human activities, guided by an ecosystem-based approach to management.

The development of internationally coordinated biodiversity indicators is a relatively new field for OSPAR. In the Quality Status Report 2010, OSPAR assessed ten ecological quality objectives developed for the North Sea which focused mainly on the interactions between mobile species and human pressures. However, they lacked agreed tools to make a fuller assessment of the health of the key structural and functional building blocks of the ecosystem: the habitats of the seafloor and the water column, their biological communities and the foodweb processes that connect them.

Since 2010, OSPAR scientists and policymakers have developed indicators that can help to assess pelagic and benthic habitats and their communities, and foodwebs. These indicators are assessed for the first time in the Intermediate Assessment 2017 (IA 2017), moving OSPAR towards a more robust regional-scale assessment of ecosystem status. These indicators identify significant changes occurring in plankton communities, which inhabit the water column and are the base of the marine foodweb and have the potential to track food-web structure and function in the ecosystem.

Progress has been significantly boosted through the European Commission’s funding of the EcApRHA (Applying an Ecosystem Approach to (sub) Regional Habitat Assessment) project which has fed into the assessments presented in IA 2017. EcApRHA created opportunities for policy and science representatives to interact and so ensure that project results are fit for OSPAR purposes.

EcApRHA has delivered an action plan to address knowledge gaps which can be built into further indicator development across the OSPAR Maritime Area and so support further indicator development potential. As OSPAR continues to develop its approaches and assessment methods with each additional assessment cycle, understanding of natural and human-induced change in the complex and dynamic marine environment will further improve.

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Who you gonna call? Diagnostics!

Fri, 2017-09-08 10:00

Diagnostics brochure coverYou might not know this, but Marine Scotland is classified as the Scottish National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for crustacean, fish and mollusc diseases within the European Union.

So what does that mean? Well, in practice it means that we have expertise and knowledge of a wide range of techniques and methods that can be used to diagnose crustacean, fish and mollusc diseases. We also have achieved ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for several of our pathogen identification methods.

Our scientists provide this expertise to both Marine Scotland’s Fish Health Inspectorate, whose role is to maintain the high health status of crustaceans, fish and molluscs within Scotland, but we also offer the service to external companies, as a commercial service.

The expertise we offer for crustaceans, fish and molluscs includes:

Microbiology: the study of all living organisms that are too small to be visible with the naked eye. This involves identifying aquatic pathogens – bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease – and we have an active interest in emerging crustacean, fish and shellfish pathogens, and we are continually developing and improving identification methods.

Histology and Histopathology: the study of the microscopic structure of tissues. This involves a number of different steps and our scientists are responsible for detailed pathological analysis and reporting for diagnostic material, research trials and environmental monitoring. In addition, we have an extensive physical and electronic slide archive containing reference material for a wide range of diseases and conditions in many aquatic species.

Molecular Genetics: the study of the structure and function of genes at a molecular level. A range of molecular methods can be employed to detect and/or identify either DNA or RNA sequences of specific target material. Molecular methods are extremely specific, provide high levels of sensitivity and test results are obtained in a rapid fashion.

Parasitology: the study of parasitic organisms, which involves using a range of diagnostic services such as sample screening, pathogen identification and genetic sequence analysis to identify parasites.

Further Information

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