Marine Scotland

Multi-tasking with the Scotia: Part 2

June 22, 2018 by No Comments

The second week on the Nephrops TV survey on Scotia was considerably less eventful than the first – thankfully!

The work progressed well having travelled through the North Minch recovering and then deploying another COMPASS cetacean mooring at the Shiants, and then working down past Uist and Barra, replacing a third COMPASS mooring en route.

After a trawl in the evening of the 11th the vessel headed for Stanton Bank where a further two COMPASS moorings were recovered and a replacement deployed. Eight TV stations were surveyed whilst at Stanton Bank using this rare opportunity of visiting the area (and the unusually calm conditions) to gather Nephrops abundance data, the first time in over 10 years.

When starting to finalise the arrangements for the half landing, it became apparent that there were no available berths in Campbeltown. Following several calls to various ports, Belfast was the only port able to provide a berth on Friday 15th, leaving the Clyde to be surveyed over the weekend when the trawlers would not be working. This is an advantage for the survey as the seabed is not disturbed as much as when the trawlers are fishing thus improving the visibility on the seabed.

Working out that there was sufficient time before going to port, the vessel steamed north east to Skye and began working through the remaining TV stations in the South Minch before a storm arrived on the night of the 13th. With all but five stations completed and having carried out a trawl, the vessel headed for Colonsay to shelter and remained there till midday on the 14th. Once the weather eased the vessel travelled through the Sound of Islay and started working in the Sound of Jura, where a number of stations were relocated due to the density of creels. Late that evening TV operations stopped to allow time to steam to Belfast for an 8 am arrival, which left five stations in off Jura for the return leg of the survey.

After a welcome break in the city, the vessel had a short steam north to the first station in the Clyde on the 16th. Work began around Ailsa Craig in flat calm, sunny conditions and after a trawl later that day, Scotia headed for the Kilbrannan Sound on the west side of Arran for daylight on the 17th. From here the vessel worked north towards Loch Fyne and then down the east side of Arran, with the remainder of the Clyde TV stations and a trawl to be completed by midday on the 18th.

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