Fishery Board for Scotland.

Annual report of the Fishery Board for Scotland for the year ended .. online

. (page 9 of 52)
Online LibraryFishery Board for ScotlandAnnual report of the Fishery Board for Scotland for the year ended .. → online text (page 9 of 52)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


there is a remarkable prevalence of diatom life in the sea ofif Dotii
the east and west coasts, the quantity diminishing towards the end
of March, and thereafter remaining at a fairly constant minimum.
The part taken by these minute vegetable forms in furnishing food
for Crustacea and young fishes is described, as well as the repro-
ductive processes of the diatoms, respecting which the observations
have been of great scientific importance.

Professor Cleve, of Upsala, Sweden, the eminent authority on p. 297.
diatoms, also contributes a paper to the present repoi-t, describing
the characters and distribution of the diatoms and minute plant-
life collected by tow-nets in the Faroe-Shetland channel during the
expedition of H.M.S. * Research ' to that region in August last year.
The chief object of the inquiry was to determine by comparison of
the abundance and distribution of minute floating organisms, the
movements of the water towards and from the North Sea.



The Invertebrate Fauna.

In the present Eeport will be found a paper by Mr Thomas p. 107.
Scott, F.LS., describing the invertebrate fauna, as well as the fishes,
of Loch Fyne, and furnishing lists of all the species which have
been found in that loch, together with notes of their distribution.
The list is a very full one, comprising over eight himdred species,
of which 62 are fishes, 219 mollusks, 345 Crustacea, 55 foramini-
fera, and 52 worms. In an appendix several new and rare species
are described which have been observed during the past year in
the seaward part of the Clyde area, and an account is also given of
the parasites of the common copepod, Calanus finmarchicus, which
forms an important constituent of the food of fishes. In another
paper Mr Scott gives the results of his continued investigations on p. 316.
the invertebrate fauna of the inland waters of Scotland, including
that of several lochs in Cantyre, Bute, and Forfarshire, as well as
of Shetland, in the examination. of which he was assisted by Mr
Eobert Duthie. Through these investigations some important addi-
tions have been made to the fresh water fauna of Scotland. In a
third paper the invertebrate faima, collected by tow-nets used on p. 305.
board H.M.S. ' Eesearch ' in the Faroe-Shetland Channel, in August,
is described, notes being furnished showing the distribution of
the various species obtained



Digitized by



Google



16 Part III, — Fifteenth Annnal Report,



Physical Investigations.

In aflclitiou to the regular determinatious of the temperature and
density of the sea water at various stations by the ' Garland/
special physical investigations were made last year in the Faroe-
Shetland Channel and in Loch Fyne. By the courtesy of Admiral
Wharton, the Hydrographer to the Admiralty, a series of tempera-
ture observations were taken in the former, area by the officers of
H.M.S. *Eesearch,' under the command of Captain Moore, and a
large number of samples of water were secured from various depths
for the subsequent determination of the density. Mr H. N.

p. 280. Dickson, F.E.G.S., has prepared a special report on the subject,

which is printed in the present Report The work was undertaken
with the view of forming part of the continued hydrographic survey
of the North Sea and the North Atlantic instituted as an interna-
tional scheme with Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Germany in
1893, and the observations made on board H.M.S. * Research ' form
an important contribution to the subject. The observations in
Loch Fyne and the Firth of Clyde were made by Dr H. E. Mill in

p. 262. April and September, and are dealt with in a paper in the present

Report. They serve to confirm the previous conclusions as to the
circulation of the waters in Loch Fyne.

We have the honour to be,

Your Lordship's most obedient servants,

ANGUS SUTHEELAND, Chairman,
D. CEAWFOED, Deputy Chairman,
JOHN MUEEAY.
J. RITCHIE WELCH.
W. E. DUGUID.
AECHIBALD JAMESON.



Wm. C. EOBERTSON, Secretary.



Digitized by



Google



L— REPORT ON THE TRAWLING EXPERIMENTS OF THE
* GARLAND/ AND ON THE STATISTICS OP EAST
COAST FISHERIES RELATING THERETO.

INTRODUCTORY.

As stated in last year's Report the trawling experiments carried on by
means of the * Garland * have for the present been suspended in the Firth
of Forth and St Andrews Bay, where they were most systematically and
regularly conducted for a number of years. The general results, so far as
concerns the moKt important subject of the experiments in these waters,
the increase or decrease in the abundance of the food-fishes since beam-
trawling was prohibited, were set forth in the Report last year.* They
showed that while the relative numbers of most of the round-fishes, such
as cod and haddock, and the unimportant flat-tishes, the dabs, had slightly
increased, there was a decrease among the more valuable flat-fishes, the
plaice and lemon sole ; a circumstance probably due to the increased
trawling in the offshore areas where these fishes spawn.

During the year 1896 the trawling operations of the * Garland' were
for the most part confined to the Moray Firth and the Clyde. In
January and February 32 hauls of the trawl-net were made in the Firth,
of Forth and St Andrews Bay, and thereafter 147 hauls were made in the
Moray Firth and in the Clyde ai-ea, the stations in one or other of these
areas being examined in April, August, October, and November. In
addition to the trawling operations, other investigations and observations
Wtire made on board the * Garland ' during the year, such as on the nature
and distribution of the pelagic fauna, on the invertebrate fauna obtained
in the trawl-net, on the distribution of the pelagic eggs and larvsB of the
food-fishes, and the distribution of immature and spawning fishes. In
April and August the vessel was em[»loyed in making investigations on
the distribution and reproduction of diatoms, under Dr (Jeorgo Murray
of the British Museum ; a report on this subject is contained in the present
Report. In April and September Dr H. R Mill carried on an investiga-
tion on the physical conditions of the Clyde sea-area, the results of which
are also embodied in a paper in this Report. In connection with the sea-
fish hatchery at Dunbar the ' Garland ' was engaged in procuring adult
flat-fishes, and in transporting the fry ; and physical observations on the
temperature, salinity, and transparency of the sea were made at the
various trawling stations.

The statistics collected in connection with the trawling experiments
in the Moray Firth, showing the quantities of the various kinds of fish
caught by line fishermen within the closed waters in each month of the
yjear, and for the whole year, are appended to this Report, and are
discussed below. The collection of these statistics was made by the
Fishery Officers of the respective districts, or by their correspondents.
The trawling records were almost all kept by Mr Thomas Scott, F.L.S.;
occasionally by Captain Campbell in command of the * Garland.' I have
to thank Mr J. G. Anderson for assistance in tabulating the statistics.
• Fourteenth Annual Report, Part iii. p. 128.
B



Digitized by



Google



18



Part JIL — Fifteenth Annual Report



The Trawling Experiments in the Moray Firth.

In this important area the means taken to ascertain the influence of its
closure to beam-trawlers on the abundance of the food-fishes within it,
have consisted, in* the first place, of direct trawling experiments made by
the * Garland * at sixteen stations, and, in the second place, by tbe
collection of special statistics around the coast, to show, as far as possible,
the quantities of the various kinds of fishes caught by line fishermen
within the closed area in each month of the year, and the number of
* shots' of the lines. Durinp' last year the inshore stations in the Moray
Firth were examined on three occasions, in August, October, and
November. Owing, for the most part, to the exposed situation of the
stations at Smith Bank and the offshore grounds it is not always
practicable for a small vessel like the ' Garland ' to continue trawling
operations at them ; these stations were therefore not examined so
frequently as the others lying closer to the shore. So far as the results go,
they show that the average numbers of flat-fishes captured per haul at each
pf the stations in 1896 were c^ follows ; —

Flat-Fishes.



Station.


Plaice.


Lemon
Soles.


Witch
Soles.


Common
Dab.


Lonp: Rough
Dab.


Turbot.


Brill.


Total.


1


82-9


1-0




817


0-3




8-3


119-0


2


7-0


07


77


257


16-3






677


8


26-3


23




17


...


...




29-3


4


46-3


. .




12-0






i'o


59-3


5


27-3


27




21-3


1-3




10


687


6


28-0


2-0




58 -0






1-0


89-0


7


1-8


2-3




188-0


34-0


...




226-7


8


0-8


5-0


57


687


55-3


0-3




125-3


9


1-0


07


07


837


427


...




1287


10


3-8


107


667


11-3




6-3


...


91-8


11


7-0


7-0


...


1170




10




182


12


6-0


6-0




99-0


'20






1120


18




6-0












6-0


14


'2-0


30




36-0


'3*0






43-6


16


1-0


15-0


io


159-0


36




212-0





1-0


15-0


...


109-0


37




1620



The average number of round-fishes, comprising cod, haddock, whiting,
and gurnard, varied from 5 to 120 per haul of the net at the various
stations. It is at present of little use to make comparison between the
results of the trawling experiments last year and those of previous years
in this area, because of the fact that the number of hauls in previous
years was small, and the montlis in which the stations were examined
were not always the same.

Among the more important questions yet to be determined in the
Moray Firth are the definition of the spawning or breeding grounds of
white-fish, and the distribution of immature fishes throughout the area at
different seasons. It is known from the scientific work carried on in
previous years that great shoals of plaice, as well as of cod and haddock,
frequent Smith Bank, the well-known fishing-ground lying off the coast
of Caithness. But our knowledge of this bank at the spawning season is
very imperfect^ and we have no scientific knowledge of the other spawn-



Digitized by



Google



of the Fishery Board for ScotlaTvd.



19



ing areas within the limits of the Firth, or of the distribution of immature
fish at different seasons.

The statistics of the fish caught within the closed area by line fisher-
men above referred to, have been collected for the past three years. The
totals and the average per * shot ' for each fishery district for that period
are as follows : —



District.


1894.
Cwts. Average.


1895.

r

Cwts. Average.


189
Cwts.


5.


Average.


Wick,


19,008


2-47


23,009


4-03


31,556


5-40


Lvbstcr, .
Helmsdale,


4,408


4-91


3,977


3-77


4,241


2-87


15,826


3-52


16,669


415


18,360


4-71


Cromarty, .


21,846


, 307


. 19,193


2-93


15,317


2-51


Findhorn, .


60,074


; 4-04


68,761


4-86


63,521


4-46


Buckie, .


48,540


! 4 21


50,489


4-66


57,450


5 05


Banff,


49,292


, 2-94


76,491


4-77


66,471


3-82


Totals,


218,494


! 3-05

1


258,590


4-43


256,916


4-26



It is interesting to compare the figures given in this table, which show
the total quantity of fish caught by line within the closed waters, with
the figures showing the total quautity of the same kinds of fish landed in
each district, and caught both within and witliput the closed area.

Thus, excluding herrings, s])rats, and mackerel, which are, of course,
not comprised in the special statistics appended to tliis report, it is found
that the total quantities (cwts.) of wliite-fish landed in each of the
districts, in 1896, were as follows : —

Wick. Lybster. Helmsdale. Cromarty. Fiiulhorn. Buckie. Banff.
61,429 4241 1S,390 15,317 63,521 61,088 66,665

Comparison of tie figures show that almost all the line-caught fish
landed in these districts are taken from the closed waters of the Moray
Firth. The Wick district comprises only a comparatively small part of
the coast of the Moray Firth, while it includes the north coast of Scotland
as far as Cape Wrath ; and the totals for the whole district are, of course,
derived from the whole extent of coast witliin its limits. Yet rather
more than half the total quantity of fish landed in the district is drawn
from the Moray Firth. All the line-caught fish in the districts of Lybster,
Cromarty, and Findhorn are returned has having been obtained from the
closed watore. In Helmsdare district 18,360 cwts. were taken from the
closed waters and 30 cwts. from the open waters ; in l>uckie district the
respective quantities were 57,450 cwts. and 3G38 cwts. ; and in Banff
district they were 66,471 cwts. and 94 cwtJ». respectively.

With regard to the increase or decrease in the quantities taken in
each year in the closed waters it will be observed that a considerable
increase occurred in most of the districts as between the years 1894 and
1896, and a relatively small decrease as between 1895 and 1896, both as
regards the absolute quantity of fish landed and the average quautity
caught per *8hot' of the lines. Only the two districts, Lybster and
Cromarty, show a continuous decrease, b )th in total quantity landed and
in the average per * shot' The number of * shots* made in the closed
waters have steadily increased on the part of th(} large boats, while they
have diminished on the part of the small boat^. Thus, in 1894, 7082
* shots' of the long lines were made; in 1895 the number was 7710; ami
in 1896, 11,915. The small Wt9 in 1894 made 54,866 * shots ; in 1895



Digitized by



Google



20



Part III, — Fifteenth Annnal Report



the number was 50,643 ; and in 1896, 48,346. In the three years, there-
fore, * shots ' of the great lines increased by 4833, while the * shots * of the
small lines diminished by 6520.

The number of * shots* made by the largo boats increased in all the
districts except Cromarty, where they diminished; the increase was
greatest iu Wick district, the figures being 396 in 1894; 1553 in 1894;
and 2774 in 1895. The number of 'shots* made by the small boats
decreased at all the districts except at Lybster and Findhorn. At Wick
the figures given iu the returns for the three years are as follows : — 1894,
7295 shots; 1895, 4155 shots; 1896, 3063 shots.

The greatest quantity of the fish caught by line within the closed
waters of the Moray Firth is landed iu the Banff district, and the next
greatest quantity in the Findhorn district. Then comes Buckie, Wick,
Cromarty, Helmsdale, and Lybster.

With respect to the quantities and averages of the different kinds of
fish caught in each of the thi-ee years, the figures are given in the follow-
ing table : —



FUh.


1894.


189


!i.


1896.




Cwts.


Average.


Cwts.


Average.


Cwts.


Average.


Cod.


32.671


0-52


47,646


0-81


64.663


1-07


I^ing, . .


2,169


0-035


2,937


0-005


3,868


062


Torek,


25


0-0015


24


0-0004


94


0-001


Snithe,


6,120


0-09


5,083


0-087


10,636


0-17


Haddock, .


153.529


2-47


178,370


8 056


156.703


2-6


Whiting. .


5.845


0-094


5,114


0-087


4.886


0-08


Turbot, .


5




...


...


15




Halibut, .


254


0-004


403


0-007


691


0-011


Lemon Sole,


••«


...


...


...


19


...


• * Flounder, Plaice,














Brill,' .


5,477


0-088


5,765


09


3.402


0-056


Conger, .


1.244


0-02


777


0-013


823


0-013


Skates, '.


3,281


0053


3.014


0-061


3,683


0-061


Other kinds of














white-fish. .

*


7,976


0-128


9.456


0-16


7,483


012



The most obvious feature in this table is that the great bulk of the fish
landed in each year within the whole area consisted of haddocks, which
made up about two-thirds of the catches, and of cod. The preponderance
of haddocks is most marked in the districts on the south coast, Cromarty,
Findhorn, Buckie, and Banff. At Wick and Lybster the quantity of cod
lauded in each year exceeded the quantity of haddocks. Ling, conger,
halibut, and torsk, which are rather deep-water fish, were caught in com-
paratively small quantity, and the greatest proportion was landed at the
northern stations in the Wick and Helmsdale districts and at Buckie.

It will be observed that the quantity of flat-fishes landed in each year
was small. In the three years together only 20 cwts. of turbot are
returned from all the districts. The flat-fishes included under the title
< flounder, plaice, and brill,' and which consist principally of plaice and
dabs, form the great bulk of those lauded. The total quantity of flat-
fishes landed in each of the years was as follows : — 5736 cwts., or 2-6 per
cent, of the whole, in 1894 ; 6170 cwts., or 2*3 per cent, in 1895 ; and
4127 cwts., or 1*6 per cent., in 1896, showing, therefore, a falling off in
relative abundance compared vnth the round-fishes. The decrease is in

* The fish included under this head comprise, for the most part, plaice and dabs.



Digitized by



Google



of the Fishery Board for Scotland. 21

tbe group * flounder, plaice, and brill,' the quantity of which fell from
5477 cwts. in 1894, and 5767 cwts. in 1895, to 3402 cwts. last year.
The quantity of halibut, on the other hand, increased from 254 cwts. in
1894, and 403 cwts. in 1895, to 691 cwts. in 1896.

In the three years under consideration a marked increase occurred in
cod, both in tlie gross quantity landed and in the average quantity cap- '
tured per* shot 'of the lines. In 1894, 32,571 cwts. were landed, as
against 47,646 cwts. in 1895, and 64,663 cwts. in 1896; so that the
amount was as nearly as possible doubled during the three years. The
average per 'shot* also increased from 0*52 cwt. in 1894 to 0*81 cwt. in
1895 and 107 cwt. in 1896.

The averages for each district in the different years are as follows : —





1894.


1895.


1896,


Wick .


0-99


1-83


3-22


Lybster


1-92


1-79


1-71


Helmsdale .


0-75


1-31


201


Cromarty


0-59


0-617


. 0-74


Findhurn


0-48


0-75


0-85


Buckie


0-55


10


1-3


Banff


013


0-27


0-22



It will thus be seen that in nearly every district a continuous increase
in the quantity of cod captured per ' shot ' of the lines took place ; that
shown in the returns for the Wick district is remarkable.

The increase in the amount of haddocks landed from the Moray Firth
was not so steady throughout the |)eriod, the statistics showing a falling
off both in the gross quantity landed and the average per * shot ' last year
as compared with the previous year, although 1895 showed a considerable
increase in both as against 1894. The total quantity landed in 1894 was
153,529 cwts., the average per *shot' being 2*47 cwts.; in 1895 the total
was 178,370 cwts. and the average 3 056 cwts,; and in 1896 the total
was 156,703 cwts. and the average 2*6.

The average quantities per ' shot ' in each of the years in the various
districts are as follows : —

1894.

Wick . . . 0-54

Lybster. . . 163

Helmsdale . . 2*16

Cromarty . . 218

Findhorn . . 3*31

Buckie . . . 3178

Banff . . . 2-47

These figares show that the average catch of haddocks per ' shot ' was
less in 1895 than in 1894 in the northern districts, Wick, Lybster,
Helmsdale, and Cromarty, and greater in the southern districts, Findhorn,
Buckie, and Banff. In the latter the increase was very marked. Almost
the exact oppasite prevailed in the following year, the averages increasing
at Lybster and Helmsdale, and diminishing at Findhorn, Buckie, and
Banff, but also at Cromarty and Wick. The latter district is the only
one which shows a continuous decrease in the average throughout the
three years.

The next most abundant line-caught fish is the saithe or coalfish, and
the figures show a considerable increase in the quantity landed during the



1895.


1896.


0-508


0-22


1-29


0-69


211


2-2


1-96


151


3-73


3-32


3-19


3-16


407


3-06



Digitized by



Google



22 Part III. — Fifteenth Annual Report

period. In 1894r the total for the whole of the Moray Firth was 6120
cwts., the average per 'shot' being 0*09 cwts.; in 1895 the total and
average were somowhat less, namely, 5063 cwts. and 0*087, while in
1896 the total quantity landed was 10,636 cwts., and the average per
'shot' 0-17 cwts. In the districts of Wick, Helmsdale, and Buckie the
averages continuously augmented throughout the period, while they
diminished or fluctuatcil in the other districts.

Both the total quantity and the average per *shot* of whiting landed
decreased during the three years, a result which was also found to
occur in the Firth of Forth and St Andrews Bay ; but this fish is not of
great importance. In 1894 the total for the whole area was 5842 cwts.,
the average per *shot' being 0*094 cwts.; in 1895 the total was 5114
cwts. and the average 0*087 ; and in 1896 the res|)ective quantities were
4836 cwts. and 008. Whiting were, for the most part, landed in the
Banff and Findhorn districts.

The quantity of conger landed also diminished, but the totals are small.
Skate increased somewhat in amount, the figures for 1894 showing a total
of 3281 cwts. and an average of 0*053, compared with totals of 3014 and
3683 cwts. in 1895 and 1896 respectively, with averages of 0*051 and
0061. The quantity and average of fish not separately enumerated
included under the heading of ' other kinds of white-fish ' remained much
the same throughout, the averages for the three jears being 0*128, 016,
and 0*12 cwts. respectively.

The figures given above, therefore, indicate, for the most part, an
increase in the abundance of round-fishes caught by line within the
closed waters of the Moray Firth during the last three years, a result that
one would expect from the reservation of these waters to line fishing. I
was desirous of a.scertaining what relation the total quantity of fish
obtained annually from this area since trawling was prohibited would
bear to the total quantity in previous years when trawling was permitted,
but there do not appear to be statistics available on the point. It is
surprising that the quantity of flat-fish caught in the Moray Firth should
have diminished since 1894, although trawling has been interdicted
during the whole time.

The trawling stations in Aberdeen Bay, Montrose Bay, and at the
Orkney Islands were not examined during the year.



The Firth op Clyde..

During last year the twelve trawling stations in the Firth of Clyde
were examined on two occasions, once in April and once in October ; and
a number of special hauls were made at other stations along selected
lines, in order to determine the distribution of spawning fish and of
immature fish at various parts of the area. As in the case of the Moray
Firth, the examination of the stations selected with the view of ascertain-
ing the influence of the prohibition of beam-trawling on the fishing-
grounds, has been imperfect and insufficient to supply satisfactory infor-
mation on the subject. The particulars of each haul are given in the
tables appended to this Report (p. 55).

Comparison of the results obtained in the various years when the
stations were examined shows that, taking all the stations together, and
all kinds of fish, the average per haul of the trawl has somewhat increased
over the whole period. In 1888 the general average was 109*7
per haul; in 1890 it was 99*5 per haul; in 1895 it was 113*4; and
in 1896, 120"7; showing, therefore, a diminution in 1890 as compared



Digitized by



Google



of the Fishery Board for Scotland, 23

with 1888, and an increase in the other years. The averages for flat-
fishes and round-fishes respectively in the various years are as follows : —





1888.


1890.


1895.


1896.


Fiat-Fishes


61-2


6M


64-7


75-5


Round-Fishes .


447


351


43-6


351



These figures indicate a gradual increase in fiat-fibhes and a fluctuation
in the abundance of round-fishes. An examination of the statistics
relating to the different kinds of fish captured, shows that the increase
amon«j flat-fishes was confined almost entirely to dabs and witch
flouuders, plaice having diminished in numbers. It would be of little
value with the rather scanty returns at present available to institute a



Online LibraryFishery Board for ScotlandAnnual report of the Fishery Board for Scotland for the year ended .. → online text (page 9 of 52)