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Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 Blue Whiting Survey - Day 3


Location: Rockall Bank

We spent 29 hours steaming towards the Rockall Bank and the start of the survey track. The weather is a bit worse than expected, with a 3.5m swell and sustained winds over 25 knots. Things are due to improve on Monday and the outlook looks very encouraging.

There was an emergency muster drill yesterday evening. This is a requirement within 24 hours of departure on every ship. It took at least two scientists by surprise, forcing them to run from the showers!

After lunch this afternoon we had a test shot of the fishing gear. This was just to make sure all the fishing equipment, including the nets, cables and sensors, were working properly.

Shooting the net during gear testing


We passed over several large marks of blue whiting as we left the shelf edge on the steam out to Rockall. We were not officially surveying yet, so they won’t be counted, but hopefully they will still be there when we are back in the area later this week. There have been no sightings of any marine mammals for our observer so far, but there were lots of seabirds, particularly along the cliffs of Donegal Bay. Fulmars, gannets and greater and lesser black-backed gulls are the most prominent species so far.

The ship is on track now. One CTD has been carried out so far. The first transect is 70nmi (nautical miles) long and will take around 7 hours to complete. We have over 2000nmi of transects to complete over the next 18 days.

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