Research and Science

Sussex IFCA conducts research to gather evidence to support the decision making processes of the Authority. We work in partnership with a wide range of organisations. Below are highlights from our current work plan. These are identified as priorities under our Strategic Four Year Research Plan.
 
LOBSTER SAMPLING
Theme: Sustainable marine resource exploitation
Sub-theme: Fisheries biology data
 
Officers will be measuring lobsters caught by fishermen, either at sea or in port. This opportunistic sampling will help to support our new Shellfish Permit Bylaw. We can see how many lobsters are caught per number of pots hauled and look at what section of the population is being caught by looking at their lengths. We will be working with CEFAS to support their stock assessment project.
 

WHELK SAMPLING
Theme: Sustainable marine resource exploitation
Sub-theme: Fisheries biology data
 
Officers will be measuring whelks caught by fishermen. This opportunistic sampling will help to support our new Shellfish Permit Bylaw. We can see how many are caught per pot and knowing the lengths will help us study the population dynamics. Whelk potting is an important fishery in Sussex.
 

OYSTER STOCK MONITORING
Theme: Sustainable marine resource exploitation
Sub-theme: Fisheries biology data
 
There is a small-scale but locally important fishery for native oysters in Chichester Harbour. Fishing by dredging takes place for a couple of weeks each November. A stock assessment is conducted in the autumn to inform flexible management measures. We also work with the environmental health officers from the local councils to gather catch per unit effort and length-frequency data.
More information on the 2015 fishery
 

OYSTER DREDGING IMPACTS STUDY
Theme: Ecosystem interactions
Sub-theme: Marine Protected Areas
 
We are working with Natural England and other project partners on a collaborative project to further the understanding of the impacts of oyster dredging on soft subtidal habitats. This fishing activity occurs in an area which is designated as a European Marine Site for its conservation value which we need to help protect. We manage and regulate sustainable fisheries as part of a wider eco-system.
More information about European Marine Sites
 

FISHING VESSEL EFFORT
Theme: Sustainable marine resource exploitation
Sub-theme: Fishing activity
 
When officers are on sea patrols, they record sightings of fishing vessels. This data can be used to create maps which show where there is varying levels of effort for different fishing methods. This can be useful for fisheries management, in particular, in Marine Protected Areas.
More information about fishing effort 2012-2016
More information about fishing effort density 2007-2016
 

FLOY ID TAGGING OF BLACK SEABREAM
Theme: Ecosystem interactions
Sub-theme: Marine Protected Areas
 
Spawning black seabream are a conservation feature of Kingmere Marine Conservation Zone. We have been working with the sea angling community to attach identification tags to the seabream. When these fish are recaptured, we can learn more about their migration, local movements and site fidelity.
If you have caught a tagged seabream, please phone us.
More information about Kingmere MCZ
More information about the tagging project
More infromation about black seabream in this infographic or this information sheet
 

ANGLERS’ ACTIVITY – BLACK SEABREAM
Theme: Ecosystem interactions
Sub-theme: Marine Protected Areas
 
Spawning black seabream are a conservation feature of Kingmere Marine Conservation Zone. We want to further understand the recreational sea angling activity around black seabream, in particular in relation to the Marine Conservation Zone, to support our management measures. We are asking anglers to fill in catch information forms and are gathering catch data at sea and in port.
More information about Kingmere MCZ
More information about the anglers’ information forms
The online version of the anglers' information form
The MS Excel version of the anglers' information form

MARINE PROTECTED AREA MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT
Theme: Ecosystem interactions
Sub-theme: Marine Protected Areas
 
We are developing management measures for a range of Marine Protected Areas in our District, including Marine Conservation Zones and European Marine Sites. We use evidence based decision making. We balance the protection of the marine environment and the use of it, to support businesses and livelihoods.
More information about Marine Protected Areas
 

INTERACTIVE HABITAT MAP
Theme: Ecosystem interactions
Sub-theme: Habitats
 
We are working with Sussex Biodiversity Records Centre and other project partners to create an online interactive map which showcases the fascinating diversity of habitats and species in the Sussex marine environment.
 

SUSSEX COASTAL HABITATS INSHORE PILOT (SCHIP)
Theme: Ecosystem interactions
Sub-theme: Habitats

The Channel Coastal Observatory (CCO) were commissioned to interpret bathymetry, backscatter and groundtruthing data, with funding from the Environment Agency and the South Downs National Park Authority, for the seabed mapping part of the Sussex Coastal Habitats Inshore Pilot (SCHIP1) project. A series of detailed thematic maps were produced, including surficial substrate, EUNIS marine habitats and anthropogenic features, to inform conservation, planning policy and management objectives.
All swath bathymetry data collected through the Southeast Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme are freely available, under Open Government Licence from www.channelcoast.org either as text, ascii or SD (Fledermaus) files. The EUNIS Level 3 marine habitat map and substrate sype map are also available for viewing and download as shapefiles.

More information:
Report on habitat mapping for 1km inshore strip

SMALL FISH SURVEYS
Theme: Ecosystem interactions
Sub-theme: Small fish monitoring
 
We conduct surveys of small and juvenile fish in estuarine and inshore areas in our District. These areas are important as nursery grounds for many fish species, in particular those which are of commercial importance. Fish are also an important part of marine food webs and as indicators of ecosystem health.

More information:
IFCA Fish Survey Best Practice Guidance
Summary of all 2016 small fish surveys
Medmerry small fish survey 2016
Rye small fish survey 2016
Chichester Harbour small fish survey 2016 - full report
Chichester Harbour small fish survey 2016 - one page summary
Chichester Harbour small fish surveys 5 year analysis 2010-2014
Application of the Environment Agency's Transitional Fish Classification Index to Chichester Harbour small fish survey data 2010-2014
Pagham Harbour Pilot Survey
 

MARINE ARCHAEOLOGY
Theme: Socio-economics
Sub-theme: Archaeology
 
The seas around the UK contain a wealth of archaeological sites. It is not uncommon for users of the marine environment to discover artefacts and it is responsible for Sussex IFCA to play a role by engaging in marine archaeology.
More information about Fishing Industry Protocol for Archaeological Discoveries (FIPAD)
 

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