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Coveney welcomes publication of Atlas of Trawl Surveys

'Atlas series a key component in ensuring stocks are fished in a sustainable manner'

Simon Coveney, TD Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine today welcomed the publication of the 'Atlas of Irish Groundfish Trawl Surveys' which was presented to him by Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute today (Thursday 24th May).

The Atlas shows the key results from the Irish scientific surveys of the whitefish and deepwater fish stocks in Ireland's 200 mile Exclusive Fisheries Zone. The Atlas provides an overview of the distribution and abundance of adult and juvenile fish species in the waters around Ireland. Thirty two species are described including the main whitefish, midwater fish (herring, mackerel) and shark species caught on the Marine Institute's Groundfish Survey programme.  Each species is summarised in terms of its distribution, biological characteristics and temporal changes in abundance.

"Irish Scientists have presented trawl survey data in a visual and non technical format that enables a wider audience to see the biodiversity of fish in Irish waters.  This publication has made great strides in illustrating how scientific data can be used to examine the health of our marine ecosystem.  Mapping our fish community enables us to have a better understanding of their role in the marine ecosystem. I would like to express my appreciation of the work on the ground in terms of surveys together with the compilation of this user friendly guide by Dr Heffernan and his team in the Marine Institute" explained Minister Coveney.

The Atlas is aimed at those involved in fisheries, environmental policy and management, the fishing industry, environmental Non Government Organisations (NGO's), scientists and the general public. Minister Coveney congratulated the Marine Institute on the Survey Atlas, which is the fourth in the series. Two case studies in the publication illustrate the application of survey data to traditional fisheries advice and to the new form of ecosystem advice that is required by numerous international agreements and under new EU legislation such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. "The Common Fisheries Policy reform agenda is currently under discussion by the EU Fisheries Council and the EU Parliament and will continue into the Irish Presidency during the first six months of 2013. The Atlas series  provides scientific information that we can all understand and will help inform the CFP debate as we strive to  ensure  stocks are fished in a sustainable manner." said Minister Simon Coveney.

Previously published atlases include: Commercial Fisheries around Ireland (2009); Atlas of demersal Discarding (2011); and the North Western Waters Atlas (2011).  These Atlases are available on the Marine Institute website (www. marine.ie)

Photo PR 113/12 - 24.05.2012 PR113/12 D111250014 - 24/05/2012

Minister Simon Coveney receiving a copy of the 'Atlas of Irish Groundfish Trawl Surveys' which was presented to him by Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute.

Date Released: 24 May 2012