Finding flatfish in the Forth and Fife

December 1, 2017 by No Comments | Category Fisheries, Marine Directorate general, Marine Directorate Science, Research Vessel Surveys

Duration: 30 November – 4 December

Sampling Gear:

  • BT 158 with 50 mm cod-end
  • 2 m beam trawl with 50 mm cod-end
  • Day grab and table
  • Catamaran and neuston net


  1. To undertake flatfish sampling in St Andrews Bay, inner Firth of Forth, and the Forth estuary in support of the Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Programme (OSPAR and MSFD D8).
  2. To undertake sediment sampling in the St Andrews Bay, Outer Firth of Forth and the Forth estuary in support of the Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Programme (OSPAR and MSFD D8).
  3. To undertake survey of sea-surface litter in surface waters of the Forth and Scottish east coast and record seabed litter collected by the trawls (MSFD D10)
  4. To undertake fish, shellfish and sediment sampling in support of the microplastics ROAME (ST014).


Fishing and scientific gear will be loaded in Leith at the end of the previous survey, prior to Alba na Mara sailing on 30 November.

Flounder will be sampled in St Andrews Bay and in the Forth estuary (Tancred bank), dab will be sampled in the inner Firth of Forth. Five sediment stations will be sampled at each of St Andrews Bay, the outer Firth of Forth and the Forth estuary; at each station two grabs will be taken: one for contaminants and one for microplastics.

The neuston trawl will be deployed in the Forth estuary, the Firth of Forth, and off the east coasts of Fife and East Lothian. This net is to be towed at five knots, or less, for 30-90 minutes in order to collect and sample microplastics floating on the sea surface. An additional sediment sample to be collected by Day grab from under the course of each catamaran tow for subsequent microplastics determinations. Samples a variety of fish species will be adventitiously sampled from the trawls and frozen for work-up in the laboratory as part the microplastics ROAME (ST014).

Records will be made of seabed litter caught by the trawls.

Tables 1, 2 and 3 (below) list the sediment, fishing and sea surface litter survey sites, respectively.

Further Information:

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