Deck of the vessel Vizconde de Eza, belonging to the General Fisheries Secretariat. (Photo: IEO)
Fishery resource state at Newfoundland bank assessed
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 22:10 (GMT + 9)
Researchers at Vigo Oceanographic Centre of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) are evaluating the state of exploitation of the fishery resources of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.
The research tasks are performed from 25 May aboard the vessel Vizconde de Eza under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA).
This is the twentieth edition of the fisheries survey Platuxa and the first of a series of three consecutive surveys that are performed annually in the Regulatory Area of the Organization of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (NAFO) 3MLNO, that is to say, international waters adjacent to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Canada.
The main objective of this scientific research initiative is to gather the information necessary to assess the state of the fishery resources of interest to the Spanish fleet: cod, black halibut, flounder, rays, redfish and flounder, among others.
The researchers have planned to carry out standardized fishing activities over 100 times, that is to say, with the same gear, the same duration at the same rate, so that they are comparable and facilitate statistical calculations, the IEO reported.
Catches are identified at species level, and each will be sampled separately to obtain data on size, sex and sexual maturity.
With regard to the most important resources from the commercial point of view, IEO experts will analyze the stomach contents and will extract gonads for microscopic examination.
Besides, they will collect otoliths, calcareous structures showing growth rings that are similar to trees and that are to be studied to estimate the fish’s age.
During Platuxa survey, data on captured invertebrate specimens will also be collected and in all sets a hydrographic profile will be obtained with a depth, temperature and conductivity probe.
Samples of gonads and otoliths are then to be processed on land, and all the data recorded are to be carefully reviewed to correct transcription errors.
Data on species of commercial interest will be analyzed by the IEO specialized staff in international working groups while the analysis of data on invertebrate specimens will continue in the Hispanic-Canadian project Nereida.
Meanwhile, hydrographic data will be forwarded to IEO Headquarters in Madrid.
The IEO has been conducting this survey, which is 50 per cent funded by the European Union (EU), since 2002.
By Analia Murias