Since 2016 Southern IFCA officers have undertaken, with the assistance of partners, seine net surveys in the estuaries and harbours of the District. Survey areas have included The Fleet, Poole Harbour, Yarmouth Harbour, Newtown Harbour, Christchurch Harbour and Keyhaven. Surveys follow standard protocols and data is retained on the species, numbers and lengths of the fish caught and the necessary metadata. The aim of the surveys is to highlight the importance of these estuaries as nursery areas to various fish species. The 2017 report can be viewed here.
Solent Oyster Stock Survey
The Solent oyster stock is monitored annually by Southern IFCA officers in order to consider the current state of the fishery against an existing time series. The survey is undertaken annually using a local fishing vessel in order to ascertain information on the current densities of oysters on traditionally harvested beds within the Solent. Each year a report is produced which informs the Authorities management decisions.
The 2017 report can be found here.
The 2018 report can be found here.
Solent Bivalve Valuation
Southern IFCA has worked with the Environment agency to value the Solent Bivalve fisheries based on historic landings data and to consider this value against potential improvements in water quality. Economic analysis of the fishery was made possible by the creation of model which considered the potential value of the fishery against different water quality scenarios. The project was delivered by the New Economics foundation. The model was adapted from one produced for Chichester Harbour and can be adapted for use in other shellfisheries.
The report can be viewed here.
The model can be viewed here.
The Poole Harbour Bivalve Stock Assessment
The Southern IFCA has been carrying out a stock survey of the commercially important clam and cockle species in Poole Harbour since 2003. The data collected provides an insight into the population structure of these species which in turn informs management of the fishery. In 2015, with the introduction of the new Poole Harbour Dredge Permit byelaw, the stock assessment methodology was refined to look at both the proportion of the population available to the commercial fishery and the juvenile population with the aim to collect sufficient data to be able to quantify the sustainability of the fishery in terms of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). The fishery is currently being assessed under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainability certification and the data on the sustainability of the stocks will contribute to the delivery and maintenance of this certification. The survey is carried out in two parts, the first using a local fishing vessel and the pump-scoop dredge gear used by the commercial fishery, the second using a local survey vessel and a specially designed sediment drag to obtain samples of juvenile clam and cockle. The 2017 report can be viewed here.
The Solent Bivalve Stock Assessment
In October 2017 the Southern IFCA carried out the first bivalve stock assessment in Southampton Water using a local fishing vessel and gear to sample for bivalve species recording quantities and sizes of individuals over a range of defined beds. The first survey was carried out for Southampton Water, from spring 2018 the survey was extended to also sample in Portsmouth Harbour and Langstone Harbour. The surveys will be carried out twice a year in spring and autumn to determine how the populations of bivalve species change and the effects of the management of the dredge fishery in the Solent.
The autumn 2017 report for Southampton Water can be viewed here.
The 2019 survey report for the Solent can be viewed here.
Poole Harbour Sabella pavonina Verification Survey 2015
This project was run in partnership between Natural England and Southern IFCA, aiming to asses and where possible quantify the presence/absence of the peacock worm Sabella pavonina in Poole Harbour through the use of underwater video. The data collected as part of the project has been used to inform the review and proposed extension of the Poole Harbour Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and will also help to inform the future development of aquaculture under the Poole Fishery Order 2015. To view a copy of the survey report click here.