International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
SISP 2 MIKeyM-net.pdf (3.71 MB)

SISP 2 Manual for the Midwater Ring Net sampling during IBTS Q1

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Version 2 2023-05-30, 05:58
Version 1 2022-01-25, 12:33
posted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by ICESICES

The Midwater Ring Net is at present the standard gear for sampling fish larvae during the North Sea International Bottom Trawl Survey in the first quarter. Fish larvae sam-pling during the IBTS Q1 was initiated in 1977. During the period 1977–1991 an Issacs Kidd Midwater Trawl was used as the standard gear. When changing to the present ring net (which use a long two-legged bridle attachment as for the frame trawl de-scribed by R. D. Methot) the abbreviation for the new gear – MIK- was erroneously interpreted as an abbreviation of the names Methot, Isaacs and Kidd. This is not the case, and the present gear has only a passing resemblance to the gears described by R. D. Methot or Isaacs and Kidd. Hence the names to be used for the gear are either “MIK” or “Midwater Ring Net”.

The construction of the MIK is strong and robust because of the often harsh conditions in the first quarter period in the North Sea. Hence compared to the smaller conical nets traditionally utilized for plankton sampling, the gear is made more robust by using a very strong (and heavy) ring frame, and a net strengthened with nylon or canvas rein-forcing straps. The main target of the MIK-sampling is larval herring between 2 and 3 cm length, which at that size are of quite low densities. Therefore, the gear has a rela-tively large opening of 2 metre in diameter. Furthermore, because of the fast escape behaviour of the large herring larvae, sampling is carried out at night (with a black net) at a towing speed of 3 knots. The speed constraints the mesh size and a relatively coarse mesh of 1.6 mm is standard.

The standard rigging and procedures for undertaking MIK sampling during IBTS Q1 is described in the sections below. Minor differences in MIK design may occur among participants, however, these differences are all believed to be insignificant with respect to catchability of the gear. Nevertheless, the comparability among participants is veri-fied for each survey. This is done by comparing the results of participants that sample the same ICES rectangles.

Since 2016, the MIKeyM sampling constitutes the North Sea Cod and Plaice Egg Survey (ICES 2016a) has been fully incorporated in to the standard sampling protocols for the MIK sampling in the 1st Quarter IBTS. At an identical survey design only a different gear is needed to capture fish eggs effectively.




Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee

  • EOSG

Published under the auspices of the following ICES Expert Group or Strategic Initiative



ICES Survey Protocols







Recommended citation

ICES. 2017. SISP 2 - Manual for the Midwater Ring Net sampling during IBTS Q1. Version 3. Series of ICES Survey Protocols. 25 pp.