The objectives of the Celtic Explorer expedition
Fishing quotas are designed to make fishing sustainable. EU member states and their neighbors agree to limit fishing based on scientific data collected by research vessels.
David Stokes, an employee of the Marine Institute, heads the bottom fish monitoring program. In an interview he gave on board the Celtic Explorer vessel in the Cork area, he explained to us how these observations help to collect valuable information about the fish population, including data that cannot be found out by relying on fishing statistics.
This research vessel Celtic Explorer, owned by the Maritime Institute, is a 65-meter vessel. Every year at this time, the Marine Institute organizes these studies as part of the program of the international group for the study of bottom trawling.
We set off from the west coast of Scotland, moving towards the west coast of Ireland to the Celtic Sea, where we meet with another research expedition. It is conducted by France. We cross paths with them. In total, the program is designed for 6 weeks.
These expeditions collect a lot of data, and they are very important for the sustainable use of fish resources. Because for their proper use, you need to have three types of data:
You need to know the size of fish stocks at the beginning of the year. We have data on this subject, allowing us to roughly estimate the size of the reserves.
The next block of information is: how many fish stocks were caught for consumption in a given year. There are fishing statistics on this score.
But the most important thing is that we need to know how many young fish appear in the population to replace the caught one. And in this regard, our research is very important. Because no one else will provide such information. There is no other way to find out how many new individuals were born in a given year, except to come here and take samples of the catch. Mathematical models for such a task are not reliable.
Therefore, it is necessary to organize expeditions to collect samples to establish the percentage of young individuals in the population. Based on the results obtained, we will be able to either be optimistic or behave with restraint.