Last updated on 15 December 2015

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Sardina pilchardus

SPECIES NAME(s)

European pilchard, Sardine, European sardine

Many studies have investigated the stock structure of the European pilchard population widely distributed in the Northeast and Eastern Central Atlantic, and the Mediterranean and Black Sea (e.g. (Spanakis et al. 1989)(Tinti et al. 2002)(Atarhouch et al. 2005)(Chlaida et al. 2006)(Silva et al. 2006)(Laurent et al. 2007)(Chlaida et al. 2009)(Antonakakis et al. 2011). However, some uncertainty remains (Kasapidis et al. 2012), and further research into regional stock subunits is needed (ICES 2014)(ICES 2017). The West African European pilchard profiles presented on FishSource reflect two assessment units delineated by the FAO Working Group on Small Pelagic Fish in Northwest Africa, (FAO 2018): one in zones "A + B" (Central) and another in zone "C" (Southern), The recent work of (Shukhgalter 2013) supports the distinction of these two stock units.

The Southern stock unit, considered here, reflects the population occurring in the waters of Morocco and countries south, between Cap Blanc at 26ºN through the southern limit of the species extent; while the Central stock unit reflects an entirely Moroccan population from Cap Blanc north to Cap Boujdour at 32ºN.

In addition to the West African stocks, FishSource considers the following assessment units throughout the species’ distribution:

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) stock assessment units:
- Iberian (ICES Divisions 8.c and 9.a) and Bay of Biscay, Southern Celtic Seas and English Channel (ICES Divisions 8.a,b,d and Subarea 7).

General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM and FAO 2015) (GFCM/FAO) stock assessment units - of the 8 stock assessment units assumed (Kasapidis et al. 2012)(FAO and GFCM 2017), these 2 are already covered in profiles:
- Northern Adriatic Sea (GSA17) and Northern Alboran Sea (GSA01).

The West African stocks are captured in industrial and artisanal small pelagic fisheries in Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, and the Gambia that also target European anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus, sardinella Sardinella spp., horse mackerel Trachurus spp. and chub mackerel Scomber japonicus.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Mauritanian and (particularly) Moroccan scientific institutes survey the stock regularly. 
  • Stock status is regularly assessed by both the FAO and the INRH; the FAO provides annual scientific advice.
  • Scientists with both the INRH and the FAO found the stock in 2016 to be in good health with respect to biomass reference points.
  • There is a Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (Commission Sous-Régionale des Pêches, CSRP; that includes Mauritania and Senegal) that has conducted efforts to assess and manage the transboundary small pelagic stocks shared within the countries of the region, jointly with Morocco.
  • There is a national small pelagic TAC in Morocco, and catch ceilings for foreign fleets operating under legal agreements in Morocco and Mauritania.
  • Monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) systems throughout the region have undergone improvements in the recent decade.
  • Bycatch limits are defined for each of the Moroccan and Mauritanian fisheries.
  • Purse-seining and pelagic trawling are not expected to have significant effects on the seabed ecosystem.
  • There is a national fishery management framework in place.
  • The TAC for small pelagics for European fleets operating within the Mauritanian EEZ has been consistently complied with in recent years.
Weaknesses
  • Stock status with respect to fishing mortality (F) is inconclusive based on mixed results from analyses by the INRH and FAO; F may be too high.
  • Some species in the mixed stock fishery are overexploited - including Atlantic and Cunene horse mackerel, and recently round and Madeiran sardinella (stock status unknown in most recent stock assessment).
  • Stock assessment advice by the FAO is not released in a timely manner; and the connection between stock assessments, advice, and harvest limits is not clear.
  • The stock is highly dependent on environmental dynamics, and the manner by which management accounts for these factors with respect to catch limits is unclear.
  • Quantification of discarding is limited, particularly in Mauritania.
  • ETP interaction is poorly documented, and indicated to be a possible concern based on past studies (sharks, mammals and turtles).
  • A variety of IUU fishing activities are indicated to be persistent, but are poorly documented in the region; complex foreign fishing arrangements may exacerbate the problem.
  • The stock structure remains somewhat uncertain.
  • There is no fishery management plan, no national TAC, and no harvest control rule for sardine or small pelagics in Mauritania.
  • Annual acoustic surveys by Mauritainia are not consistently carried out.
  • The non-industrial (e.g. coastal purse seine) fleet in Mauritainia is open access.
  • Quantification and identification of non-target catch is lacking. 
  • IMROP has flagged bycatch and catch underreporting as a particular concerns for the Mauritainian small pelagic fishery.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

< 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 8

Future Health:

≥ 6


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Support the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission and Morocco in their efforts to develop a strategic plan for management of the small pelagics fisheries in the region. The management plan should include species specific TACs, joint setting of TACs, and consideration of how environmental variability may affect stocks.
  • Encourage management authorities to improve the speed of release of stock assessment results and transparency of subsequent management actions, including the setting of catch or effort limits.
  • Ask the government/regional authorities to improve catch and discard reporting and to publish fishery compliance information, especially for Mauritania.
  • Work with scientists to conduct studies to clarify the stock structure of northwest African pilchard/sardine.
  • Press managers to implement a recovery strategy for other target species in this multi-species fishery to ensure that all such species are at least above biologically-based limit reference points (or proxies for the point of recruitment impairment), especially for Cunene horse mackerel, Atlantic horse mackerel, and round sardinella.
  • Work with scientists and managers to expand the at–sea observer programme to provide representational coverage of all components of the fishery to better understand catches and discards, as well as interactions with habitats and all types of bycatch. 

FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
NW Africa southern Mauritania Latvia Midwater trawls
Lithuania Midwater trawls
Mauritania Purse seines
Netherlands Midwater trawls
Poland Midwater trawls
Russian Federation Midwater trawls
Morocco Morocco Midwater trawls
Purse seines
Netherlands Midwater trawls
Russian Federation Midwater trawls
Spain Midwater trawls
Purse seines
Senegal Senegal Purse seines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 12 August 2018

Strengths
  • Mauritanian and (particularly) Moroccan scientific institutes survey the stock regularly. 
  • Stock status is regularly assessed by both the FAO and the INRH; the FAO provides annual scientific advice.
  • Scientists with both the INRH and the FAO found the stock in 2016 to be in good health with respect to biomass reference points.
  • There is a Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (Commission Sous-Régionale des Pêches, CSRP; that includes Mauritania and Senegal) that has conducted efforts to assess and manage the transboundary small pelagic stocks shared within the countries of the region, jointly with Morocco.
  • There is a national small pelagic TAC in Morocco, and catch ceilings for foreign fleets operating under legal agreements in Morocco and Mauritania.
  • Monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) systems throughout the region have undergone improvements in the recent decade.
  • Bycatch limits are defined for each of the Moroccan and Mauritanian fisheries.
  • Purse-seining and pelagic trawling are not expected to have significant effects on the seabed ecosystem.
Mauritania

Last updated on 12 August 2018

  • There is a national fishery management framework in place.
  • The TAC for small pelagics for European fleets operating within the Mauritanian EEZ has been consistently complied with in recent years.
Weaknesses
  • Stock status with respect to fishing mortality (F) is inconclusive based on mixed results from analyses by the INRH and FAO; F may be too high.
  • Some species in the mixed stock fishery are overexploited - including Atlantic and Cunene horse mackerel, and recently round and Madeiran sardinella (stock status unknown in most recent stock assessment).
  • Stock assessment advice by the FAO is not released in a timely manner; and the connection between stock assessments, advice, and harvest limits is not clear.
  • The stock is highly dependent on environmental dynamics, and the manner by which management accounts for these factors with respect to catch limits is unclear.
  • Quantification of discarding is limited, particularly in Mauritania.
  • ETP interaction is poorly documented, and indicated to be a possible concern based on past studies (sharks, mammals and turtles).
  • A variety of IUU fishing activities are indicated to be persistent, but are poorly documented in the region; complex foreign fishing arrangements may exacerbate the problem.
  • The stock structure remains somewhat uncertain.
Mauritania

Last updated on 12 August 2018

  • There is no fishery management plan, no national TAC, and no harvest control rule for sardine or small pelagics in Mauritania.
  • Annual acoustic surveys by Mauritainia are not consistently carried out.
  • The non-industrial (e.g. coastal purse seine) fleet in Mauritainia is open access.
  • Quantification and identification of non-target catch is lacking. 
  • IMROP has flagged bycatch and catch underreporting as a particular concerns for the Mauritainian small pelagic fishery.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 24 September 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Support the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission and Morocco in their efforts to develop a strategic plan for management of the small pelagics fisheries in the region. The management plan should include species specific TACs, joint setting of TACs, and consideration of how environmental variability may affect stocks.
  • Encourage management authorities to improve the speed of release of stock assessment results and transparency of subsequent management actions, including the setting of catch or effort limits.
  • Ask the government/regional authorities to improve catch and discard reporting and to publish fishery compliance information, especially for Mauritania.
  • Work with scientists to conduct studies to clarify the stock structure of northwest African pilchard/sardine.
  • Press managers to implement a recovery strategy for other target species in this multi-species fishery to ensure that all such species are at least above biologically-based limit reference points (or proxies for the point of recruitment impairment), especially for Cunene horse mackerel, Atlantic horse mackerel, and round sardinella.
  • Work with scientists and managers to expand the at–sea observer programme to provide representational coverage of all components of the fishery to better understand catches and discards, as well as interactions with habitats and all types of bycatch. 

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 12 August 2018

Stock assessments have typically been performed by the FAO’s  working group on the assessment of small pelagic fish off Northwest Africa; but Morocco’s INRH has also been publishing stock status reports in recent years (Indrajaya 2015)(INRH 2015)(INRH 2016)(INRH 2016). The latest published reports by both the FAO and the INRH assess the stock’s status using data through 2016 (INRH 2016)(FAO 2018). The INRH applied two Schaefer (Schaefer 1954) global production model approaches in its most recent assessment of the southern stock: 1) an adaptation of a biomass dynamic (BIODYN) model developed by Fishery Commitee for the Eastern Central Atlantic (CECAF), and 2) a Stock-Production Model Incorporating Covariates (ASPIC) model, known by its integration of variability and uncertainty (INRH 2016). Their methods adjust total catches by abundance indices from acoustic surveys and fisheries, though the ASPIC model is statistically more reliant on catches. The INRH’s BIODYN treatment included the addition of a qualitative environmental variable. Both assessments indicated good stock status (B2016/BMSY = 1.40 and 1.04 for the BIODYN and ASPIC approaches respectively). The BIODYN result was reported to produce a good fit (R2 = 86%). The FAO Working Group on the Assessment of Small Pelagics off Northwest Africa also applied a BIODYN type model using catches fit with two series of abundance data (FAO 2018). Results were similar to the INRH BIODYN result (B2016/BMSY = 1.44 and 1.52).

With respect to fishing mortality, meanwhile, there were a range of outcomes indicating the stock is somewhere between fully exploited to over-exploited. The INRH attributes the striking differences in the results from the different approaches to the BIODYN model’s inclusion of an environmental variable, which the ASPIC model lacks, making it less plausible given the stock’s real world sensitivity to environmental dynamics. Acoustic surveys are carried out by a number of nations (Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, and Russian (recruitment surveys) and Norwegian research vessels) (FAO 2016)(FAO 2018)(FAO 2018). However, surveys are inconsistent in some parts of the region (see management unit sections below); coordinated regional surveys have not been conducted in recent years.

Mauritania

Last updated on 12 August 2018

The Mauritanian Institute of Oceanographic Research and Fisheries (Institut Mauritanien de Recherches Océanographiques et des Pêches (IMROP)) performs scientific campaigns to assess the status of the exploited stocks in the country (Sidi et al. 2012). However, acoustic surveys for small pelagics have been inconsistent in recent years (FAO 2018). Russian and Mauritanian observers conduct commercial sampling of the Russian and EU fleets in Mauritania (FAO 2018c). In 2016, landings by the Mauritanian coastal seine and Senegalese artisanal fleets were not sampled (FAO 2018) .

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 12 August 2018

Since 2001, scientific advice has been provided annually by a FAO working group of scientists under CECAF, who assess the status of small pelagic resources in NW Africa, and recommend management options geared towards their optimal and sustainable exploitation (Garcia et al. 2012)(FAO 2018). Reports are usually released with a significant time-lag.

Relative biological reference points are used for the stock due to the uncertainty in estimating absolute values (FAO 2006)(INRH 2016)(FAO 2018). Advice is given in relation to agreed target reference points – e.g. B/B0.1 and F/F0.1. Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) indices F/FMSY and B/BMSY are used as the relative limit reference points.

Stock assessments reports published by the INRH (Indrajaya 2015)(INRH 2015)(INRH 2016)(INRH 2016) present results from multiple models, and make general recommendations, but do not offer specific catch advice. The usual practice of the FAO working group, meanwhile, is to publish and make specific recommendations based on a single modeling approach (FAO 2018). In the case of the Southern pilchard stock, however, the FAO working group has not typically provided recommended catch limits; rather, given the stock’s propensity for large fluctuations in biomass, which cannot be attributed to effects of fishing alone, the FAO working group advises that the stock should be monitored by fishery-independent means (FAO 2018). Similarly, the INRH, advises that total catches should be adjusted based on the natural (i.e. non-fishery related) dynamics that affect the stock.  

A CECAF expert panel review of the FAO working group’s methods used to assess the status of the stock in 2012 recommended that given the apparent large influence of environmental effects on the stock, inclusion of sea surface temperature in the model would improve it’s usefulness with regard to management advice (FAO 2018). The FAO working group, meanwhile, has recommended improvements in age and effort data (FAO 2018).

Mauritania

Last updated on 12 August 2018

A Joint Scientific Committee (Comité Scientifique Cojoint RIM-UE; CSC), created with the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) between Mauritania-European Union (EU), has advised that lack of reliable and representative data for small pelagics was a problem (Cervantes et al. 2017). Catch sampling of the artisanal and coastal fleet was highlighted as a particular area of weakness. Ineffective implementation of the on-board observer program was also highlighted. They further recommend that catch sampling be extended to the fishmeal plants.  

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 12 August 2018

Estimates of biomass relative to target reference points by the FAO and the INRH in 2016 indicate the stock is fully to not fully exploited (FAO 2018)(INRH 2016). However, while both the INRH and the FAO working group BIODYN models also found fishing mortality (F) to be well below the target F0.1 (results were (F2016/F0.1 = 0.73, and F2016/F0.1 = 0.69 by the INRH and FAO respectively), the INRH’s ASPIC result found F to be more than double the target (F2016/F0.1 = 2.25) (INRH 2016)(FAO 2018). The result was also double the value found by the same model in the prior year’s assessment. 

The FAO noted that their results suggest the stock could sustain present levels of catch over the next two years without detriment, while the INRH noted the stock’s trend of increasing catches with underlying stable biomass was cause for concern. Both the INRH and FAO advised that the stock’s instability with regard to environmental conditions necessitates a precautionary management approach.

Catches of European pilchard in the Southern Zone were approximately 600,000 tonnes in 2016 (FAO 2018). Most of the catch occurs in Moroccan waters. During 2013-2016, based on estimates derived from FAO statistics (FAO 2018), portions of the catch relative to the total catch in the region ranged from 82-96% in Morocco, 3-18% in Mauritania, and less than 1% in Senegal.

Zoning, biological rest and vessel monitoring systems, as well as favorable hydro-climatic conditions have been credited for recent improvement in the status of some small pelagic stocks in the Moroccan zones (INRH 2016). For 2016, sardine stocks are mainly indicated to be in a similar condition categorically as for 2015, with both the INRH and FAO models indicating a trend toward slightly or dramatically (e.g. ASPIC model's fishing mortality results) worse status based on reference point values (FAO 2018)(INRH 2016).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 12 August 2018

Management of transboundary small pelagic stocks in Northwest Africa is administered at the country level. The Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (Commission Sous-Régionale des Pêches, CSRP) that includes Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone has led efforts to assess and manage the small pelagic stocks in the region jointly with Morocco. An advisory committee for the small pelagic was created under the CSRP; and a project was in place to characterize, monitor and develop a strategic plan for the mentioned fisheries and resources (Sidi et al. 2012)(Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) 2013). However, the degree to which these efforts have progressed is unclear.

There are a variety of technical measures in place in the different countries. Only Morocco (where the species is most abundant and consistently present) is known to have a comprehensive national total allowable catch (TAC). TACs that are in place are applicable to pelagic species generally, and not individual species.

The FAO notes that the management measures put in place, in particular closure of sensitive fishing zones and limiting the catches per trip (in Morocco), are capable of contributing to the improvement of the status of this stock (FAO 2018) .

Mauritania

Last updated on 12 August 2018

Mauritanian Fisheries Code (Republique Islamique de Mauritanie 2015) directs for the implementation of precautionary, sector-specific fishery management plans including catch limits. Management of small pelagics is specifically addressed in the national fishery management strategy outlined for 2015-2019 (Republique Islamique de Mauritanie 2015). A draft management plan for small pelagics has been under development since at least 2015 (FAO 2016) and strategies including a potential shift from effort to quota control, as well as better definition of the non-industrial fishery segments (e.g. small purse seine and purse seine canoes), are reported to be under consideration (FisheryProgress.org 2018). However, there is no applicable fishery management plan or harvest strategy – multispecies or specific to sardine - known to be in effect at this time (as of July 24, 2018); and it is unclear whether one is likely to be implemented in the near future. While the Mauritanian government has reportedly also set a TAC for national catches for each small pelagic species (Cervantes et al. 2017), official documentation of these limits does not appear to be available. A system of collective and individual quotas for different fishery sectors is also reportedly in place since 2016 (Marti 2018), but details are unclear.

The only known TAC in Mauritania applies to the European Union (EU) trawl sector fishing under EU-Mauritania Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA), most recently negotiated for the 2015-2019 period (European Union and Mauritania 2015). The current limit is 225,000 tonnes, including 15,000 tonnes for non-freezer pelagic trawls. The TAC is a multispecies limit for small pelagics, not specific to sardines. Additional quotas or catch limits covering the remaining fishery sectors are unclear.  A portion of 3% of the total catch is allowed for non-target species by the industrial fleet in the Mauritanian EEZ (Comité Scientifique Conjoint 2014). There is an offshore boundary limit for trawlers (20 nm), but no apparent spatial-temporal measures (Iborra Martin 2010). There is a minimum mesh size for nets and trawls (40 mm), and a minimum size limit for sardine (16 cm) (Sidi et al. 2012). There are licensing requirements, but the artisanal fleet is open access (Corten et al. 2012). Vessel monitoring system (VMS) and satellite control measures were introduced within the last decade to further improve compliance (FAO 2011).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 12 August 2018

The multispecies TAC in Morocco has never been caught in full (Gascoigne 2017), and recent analysis suggests discard rates are relatively low there (INRH 2017). The EU fleet in Mauritania has also been consistently within its TAC (Marti 2018). There are mandatory observer requirements throughout the region, primarily for foreign vessels.  

Evidence of an array of non-compliant fishing activities, generally, and associated with the small pelagic fishery specifically, has been widely reported on in the West African region  (Belhabib et al. 2013)(INTERPOL 2014)(Daniels et al. 2016)(Standing 2017); however official data on fishers’ compliance is not available. Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is punishable by law, though enforcement varies. A recent retrospective analysis of measures to combat illegal fishing in six West African countries (Doumbouya et al. 2017), found that Mauritania and Senegal had the highest amount of illegal catch in the region during 2010-2015 (268,000 and 261,000 tonnes of fish respectively), the result attributed mainly to Eastern European pelagic trawlers targeting large amounts of small-pelagic fish. Another study suggests China’s illegal activity in the region is on par with that of European fleets (Belhabib et al. 2015). In terms of landed value, the study estimated that 87% of China’s illegal fishing activities in West Africa appear to be concentrated in Morocco, Nigeria, and to a lesser degree Mauritania.

Mauritania

Last updated on 12 August 2018

Estimates of annual small pelagic catches during 2012-2017 by the EU fleet were well under applicable TAC limits (Marti 2018). However, the EU catch component is a fraction of the overall small pelagic catch in Mauritania (FAO 2018); limits and compliance pertaining to the rest of the fleet fishing in Mauritania are unclear. 

Reported catches of non-target species caught by the industrial fleet in the Mauritanian EEZ have generally been within the legal limit at 3% (Comité Scientifique Conjoint APP RIM-UE 2014). There is past evidence of underreported catches based on an observers’ program, conducted in 2009-2010 by IMROP, which detected capture of 10-20% of non-target species depending on both fishing season and area; though, the problem may be more significant for pelagic trawl fisheries (Bouzouma et al. 2016). Observers are required on board chartered vessels fishing in Mauritania (Sidi et al. 2012). Refusal of EU and non-EU pelagic ship owners to carry IMROP scientific observers has been reported (Cervantes 2017). Foreign vessels under charter do not always comply with reporting requirements (Standing 2017).   

There are advanced monitoring systems and a legal framework in place to enable surveillance and enforcement of fisheries regulations (Republique Islamique de Mauritanie 2015)(Republique Islamique de Mauritanie 2015). While improved monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) capabilities are considered to have been effective in reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Mauritania (Corten et al. 2012)(Belhabib et al. 2015)(Failler and El Ayoubi 2015), there is poor quantification of current levels. Regardless, a body of evidence suggests that IUU activity is a persistent and significant problem in Mauritania (Agnew et al. 2010)(Failler and El Ayoubi 2015)(Belhabib et al. 2015)(Doumbouya et al. 2017). Lack of financial and technical resources may be a factor (Failler and El Ayoubi 2015). There are also concerns regarding lack of transparency surrounding complex foreign fishing arrangements (AU-IBAR 2015)(Belhabib et al. 2015)(Standing 2017). The EU-Mauritania Joint Scientific Committee has recommended that fishmeal plants be required to allow access to IMROP investigators so they may conduct catch sampling (Marti 2018).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 12 August 2018

Sharks are commonly reported bycatch species in fisheries off Northwest Africa, and sea turtles including green and loggerhead turtles, manta rays, sun fish, and dolphins are also reported (Zeeberg et al. 2006)(Lopes et al. 2016). Interaction of the Moroccan and Mauritanian small pelagic fisheries with protected species is poorly documented, and further study is needed. While limited study suggests interaction is likely, particularly by the trawl fleets, preliminary evidence from a study looking at observer data from the Moroccan trawl fleet has not shown significant interaction (Gascoigne 2014)(Gascoigne 2017).

Mauritania

Last updated on 12 August 2018

Interaction of Mauritanian fisheries with protected species is not well documented. Based on observer data during 2001-2004, bycatch of non-target species, including species of turtles, cetaceans, and elasmobranchs, can be significant in the small pelagic trawl fisheries of Mauritania (Zeeberg et al. 2006). Most commonly reported species were larger predatory fishes, including the larger shark species; also reported were sea turtles, manta rays, sun fish, and dolphins. 

Other Species
Mauritania

Last updated on 12 August 2018

According to catch data in (FAO 2018), sardine varied between 3% and 19% of the annual small pelagic catch in Mauritania between 2010-2016 and would not be considered a main retained species based on 2016 catches (only 3% of total small pelagic catch). In 2015 and 2016, the primary retained species in the Mauritanian small pelagic catch were round sardinella Sardinella aurita (35% in 2016), Cunene horse mackerel Trachurus tracae (22.2% in 2016) and Madeiran sardinella Sardinella maderensis (10.3% in 2016). Other main retained species (>5% of total catch) were Atlantic horse mackerel Trachurus trachurus (9%), and chub mackerel Scomber japonicas (14%).  Catches of sardine, anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus, false scad Caranx Rhoncus and bonga shad Ethmalosa fimbriata were less than 5% of the total small pelagic catch in 2016. Both T. trecae and T. trachurus, and E. fimbriata are over-exploited at the regional level (FAO 2018). Stock status for  S. aurita and S. maderensis is undeterminable for 2016, but both have been considered overexploited in the region consistently in previous years (FAO 2016)(FAO 2018)(FAO 2018).

Quantification and identification of non-target catches in Mauritania appears lacking. It is reported that the Mauritanian Institute of oceanographic research and fisheries (IMROP) has stated that bycatch is a “major problem” in the small pelagic fishery; and there are indications that unreported catches are occurring in the trawl sector (Gorez 2016).  Efforts to increase selectivity are needed. 

HABITAT

Last updated on 12 August 2018

Mid-water trawl and purse seine, the main gears used in the fishery, are not expected to interact with the seabed ecosystem, and the possibility of ghost fishing is extremely low when nets are lost (FAO 2002). MPAs established along the NW African coast do not contribute directly to the stock but indirectly to the protection of the ecosystems. 

Mauritania

Last updated on 12 August 2018

There are four marine protected areas (MPAs) in Mauritania– Ras Nouadhibouand Banc d’Arguin on the north coast, and Diawling and Chat Tboul on the south coast near Senegal (Marti 2018). Industrial vessels and outboard engines are not permitted in the Banc d’Aguin Park and access is restricted except for the inhabitants of the Imraguentribe, who also retain the right to fish in the MPA, and the transit of caravans. It is not clear if fishing regulations apply in the other MPAs.

It has been noted with respect to foreign fishing arrangements that challenges to limiting access to fishery resources have lowered the capacity to protect the marine environment, particularly in Mauritania (Failler and El Ayoubi 2015).

ECOSYSTEM

Last updated on 12 August 2018

European pilchard and some of the other species captured represent a key trophic role in the ecosystem (Gascoigne 2014). Small pelagic species are an important forage source for many other species.  There is some ambiguity, however, as to whether sardine qualify as a“key” lower trophic level (LTL) species according to MSC standards (Gascoigne 2017). The small pelagic species in this fishery are highly dependent on oceanographic conditions, namely on the upwelling of the NW Africa zone (e.g. (Larissi et al. 2013) Alheit et al., 2014).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 20 July 2018

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Current Mauritanian Fisheries Code (Republique Islamique de Mauritanie 2017) directs for the implementation of precautionary, sector-specific fishery management plans, including catch limits. The need for a management plan for small pelagics specifically is addressed in Mauritania's national strategic plan for fisheries for 2015-2019 (Republique Islamique de Mauritanie 2015). However, as of July 2018, there was no applicable fishery management plan or harvest strategy – multispecies or specific to sardines – known to be in effect. There are, however, a partial TAC and a number of management measures in place (see "Managers Compliance" score), and the the stock condition has been assessed as healthy for a number of years (see "Stock Status" score). There have been no acoustic surveys conducted in Mauritania in recent years, despite recommendations for fishery-independent monitoring throughout the distribution of the stock (FAO 2018b, 2018c).

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

The only known TAC applies to European Union (EU) trawl vessels fishing under EU-Mauritania Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA), most recently negotiated for the 2015-2019 period (EU 2015). It is a multispecies limit for small pelagics, not specific to sardines. It is unclear whether additional quotas or catch limits covering the remainder of the fishery. There is an offshore zone limit for trawlers, but no apparent spatial-temporal measures (Martin 2010). There is a minimum mesh size for nets and trawls, and a minimum size limit for sardine (Sidi et al. 2012). There are licensing requirements, but the artisanal fleet is open access (Corten et al. 2012).

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is < 6.

Estimates of annual small pelagic catches during 2012-2017 by the EU fleet were well under applicable TAC limits (Marti 2015). However, the EU catch component is a fraction of the overall small pelagic catch in Mauritania (FAO 2018c); limits and compliance pertaining to the rest of the fleet fishing in Mauritania are unclear. While improved monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) capabilities are considered to have been effective in reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Mauritania (Corten et al. 2012; Failler and Ayoubi 2015), there is poor quantification of current levels. Regardless, a body of evidence suggests that IUU activity is a persistent and significant problem in Mauritania (Agnew et al. 2010; Failler and Ayoubi 2015; Belhabib 2015; Doumbouya et al. 2017). Observers are required on board chartered vessels fishing in Mauritania (Sidi et al. 2012). Refusal of EU and non-EU pelagic ship owners to carry IMROP scientific observers has been reported (Cervantes 2017).

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

For the INRH assessment of stock status in 2016 (INRH 2016b), two approaches were used (a Schaefer Global Dynamic model approach developed by CECAF, and an "ASPIC" stock production model with covariates). Both assessments indicated good stock status (B2016/BMSY=1.40 and 1.04 for the CECAF and ASPIC approaches respectively). Similar findings were reported by the FAO Working Group on the Assessment of Small Pelagics off Northwest Africa assessment, (FAO 2018c), which reported estimates of B2016/BMSY = 1.44 and 1.52, also from a CECAF type model, using two sets of abundance data. Both the INRH and the FAO Working Group interpreted the stock status to be non-fully exploited.

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Mixed results from different approaches lend some uncertainty to the forecasted health of the stock. Separate analyses by the INRH and the FAO working group using Schaefer Global Dynamic (CECAF) models both found fishing mortality (F) to be well below the target F0.1 (results were (F2016/F0.1 = 0.73, and F2016/F0.1 = 0.69 by the INRH and FAO respectively) (INRH 2016b; FAO 2018c). Based on their result, the FAO determined the stock could sustain present levels of catch over the next two years without detriment (FAO 2018c). Meanwhile, the INRH also tested an "ASPIC" stock-production model with covariates, which found F to be more than double the target (F2016/F0.1= 2.25). A limitation of the INRH’s ASPIC model is that it relates stock abundance fluctuations entirely to the impacts of fishing, and does not allow for environmental effects; while, environmental variabilty is typically the primary influence affecting this stock’s dynamics. The INRH nonetheless considered the results concerning; and noting the trend of increasing catches with an underlying stable biomass, stressed the need for vigilant management.

To see data for biomass, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for fishing mortality, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.
DATA NOTES
  1. 2009-2016 Fishing mortality and biomass estimates are expressed here as the relative rate F/F0.1 and B/B0.1, respectively. B0.1 and F0.1 were adopted as target reference points and FMSY and BMSY as limit reference points (INRH 2016) (FAO 2018) .
  2. The biomass (B) and fishing mortality (F) ratios presented since 2013 are the FAO’s Schaefer Global Dynamic model results corresponding to their management recommendations. Results from this approach do not closely align with (are typically more optimistic than) results from other methods (e.g. ASPIC) (Indrajaya 2015)(INRH 2015)(INRH 2016)(INRH 2016) . Qualitative interpretations, rather than computed scores, for Stock Status and Future Health, reflect the lack of consensus among model results.
  3. No fishing mortality (F) harvest control rule reducing F at low biomass values is known to exist, and no explicit advised TAC is available (at the assessment unit or management unit level); so scoring of Management Strategy and Managers Compliance has been qualitatively interpreted, rather than computed. 
  4. Fishers’ compliance scores for the Moroccan and Mauritanian management units have also been interpreted qualitatively, due to lack of a comprehensive, species-specific TAC, and reports of IUU fishing (please mouse-over for further details). 
  5. Landings shown for the NW Africa Southern assessment unit for the period 1995-2016 are of S. pilchardus only, as reported in (FAO 2018) , and summed across all fleets (national and foreign, artisanal and industrial, trawler and purse-seine) operating in Zone C.
  6. Landings shown for the Mauritania, Morocco and Senegal management units are for small pelagics species combined (sardine, sardinella (2 spp), horse mackerel (multiple spp), chub mackerel, anchovy, and bonga shad) (FAO 2018) . 
  7. The TAC for Morocco (Ministre de l’Agriculture et de la Pêche Maritime (MAPM) 2013) applies to species designated as small pelagics in décret 2008, (Ministre de l’Agriculture et de la Pêche Maritime (MAPM) 2008): sardines, sardinella, horse mackerel, mackerel and anchovy.
  8. Catch ceilings established for the foreign freezer trawlers operating under the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPAs) with Morocco are 80,000 tonnes for the EU fleet and 140,000 tonnes for the Russian fleet (Moroccan Département de la Pêche Maritime (MDPM) 2016) . 
  9. For Mauritania, EU allowed catches are limited under the  2015-2019 FPA between the EU-Mauritania at 225,000 tonnes for pelagic freezer trawler, including 15,000 tonnes for non-freezer pelagic trawls (European Union and Mauritania 2015).
  10. Because sardine catches in Senegal comprise less than 1% of overall sardine catch in zone C, the Senegal management unit has not been scored.

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits

ACPFISH, 2012. Rapport Technique Final: Mise En Place D’un Processus De Concertation Sous-Regional Pour La Gestion Concertee Des Petits Pelagiques. PROJET CU/PE1/SN/10/010. http://acpfish2-eu.org/uploads/projects/id58/RTF%20version%20finale.pdf

Aguilar, A. and Lowry, L. (IUCN SSC Pinniped Specialist Group) 2013. Monachus monachus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3 [Accessed 27 February 2015] http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/13653/0

Alheit, J., Licandro, P., Coombs, S., Garcia, A., Giráldez, A., Santamaría, M. T. G., Slotte, A., Tsikliras, A. C. 2014. Reprint of “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) modulates dynamics of small pelagic fishes and ecosystem regime shifts in the eastern North and Central Atlantic”, Journal of Marine Systems 133: 88–102 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924796314000347

Alverson DL, Murawski SA, Pope JG, 1994. A global assessment of fisheries bycatch and discards. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 339. Rome, FAO. http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/003/T4890E/T4890E00.htm

Anon, 2003. Workshop on the fisheries sector tax system and its role as a management tool: Mauritania. Workshop on Fiscal Reform in Fisheries, FAO, Rome, 13 to 15 October 2003. http://www.onefish.org/servlet/CDSServlet?status=ND0xNjg2MjYuMTg4NjQ3JjY9ZW4mMzM9ZG9jdW1lbnRzJjM3PWluZm8~#koinfo

Bjordal, Å., 2002. The use of technical measures in responsible fisheries: regulation of fishing gear. In: Cochrane, K.L. (ed.), 2002. A fishery manager’s guidebook. Management measures and their application. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper no. 424. Rome, FAO.ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/004/y3427e/y3427e00.pdf

Comite consultatif regional sur les petits pelagiques (CCRPP), 2013. Premiere reunion du Comite consultatif regional sur les petits pelagiques, Projet de Plan d’Aménagement des Pêcheries de Petits Pélagiques (PAP-PP), Setembre 2013, 36pp.http://spcsrp.org/medias/csrp/projets/pelagics/CCR/Presentation_PAP-PP_LC.pdf

Comité Scientifique Conjoint APP RIM-EU (CSC), 2014. Rapport de la septième réunion du Comité Scientifique Conjoint de l'Accord signé entre la République Islamique de Mauritanie et l'Union européenne. Madrid, 27 pp + Annexes.http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/documentation/studies/joint-scientific-committee-eu-mauritania-2014/report-jsc-2014_fr.pdf

Lazraq, S. 2012. The valorization of Small Pelagics Fish in the Moroccan “Halieutis” Strategy, Department of Marine Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries. The North Atlantic Seafood Conférence, 21pp.http://prod.dfox.com/public/images/0000438021/000/059/0000595625.pdf

Lenselink NM, 2002. Participation in Artisanal Fisheries Management for Improved Livelihoods in West Africa – A Synthesis of Interviews and Cases from Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea and Ghana. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No.432.http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y4281e/y4281e00.htm#Contents

Moore, J, undated. Project Global: Global Bycatch Assessment of Long-lived species, Regional Assessment- West Africa. Duke Center for Marine Conservation, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Beaufort, USA. 27 pp.http://bycatch.nicholas.duke.edu/regions/WestAfrica/W%20Africa.pdf

Moroccan National Fisheries Research Institute (Institut National de Recherche Halieutique, INRH), 2015. Etat des Stocks et des Pêcheries Marocaines 2014, 319pp. http://www.inrh.ma/sites/default/files/rapport_etat_des_stocks_2014.pdf

Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), 2012. Review of scientific advice for 2013, Part 3 (STECF 12-17), 290 p.http://stecf.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/43805/466189/2012-11_STECF+12-17+-+Review+of+advice+for+2013+-+part+3_JRC76743.pdf

Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), 2013. Review of scientific advice for 2014 – part 3 (STECF-13-26), Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, EUR 26324 EN, JRC 86110, 297 pp.http://stecf.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/43805/648827/2013-11_STECF+13-26+-+Review+of+advice+for+2014_part3_JRC86110.pdf

Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), 2014. Review of scientific advice for 2015 – Part 3 (STECF-14-22), Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, EUR 26942 EN, JRC 92955, 404 pp.http://stecf.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/43805/861036/2014-11_STECF+14-22+-+Review+of+advice+for+2015+-+part+3_JRC92955.pdf

Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC), 2013. Strategic directions for promoting the sustainable exploitation and cooperative management of the small pelagics fishery of Northwest Africa, 9pp. http://spcsrp.org/medias/csrp/projets/pelagics/CCR/abstract.pdf

Ter Hofstede, R. and Dickey-Collas, M., 2006. An investigation of seasonal and annual catches and discards of the Dutch pelagic freezer-trawlers in Mauritania, Northwest Africa. Fisheries Research, 77: 184-191. http://www.accordsdepeche.com/fichiers/docs/bibli_08/818.pdf

UNEP, 2004. Policy Implementation and Fishery Resource Management: Lessons from Senegal. Fisheries and the Environment. United Nations Environment Programme. http://www.unep.ch/etu/Fisheries%20Meeting/SENEGAL132004ENGLISH.pdf

Wood LJ, 2007. MPA Global: A database of the world's marine protected areas. Sea Around Us Project, UNEP-WCMC & WWF.http://www.mpaglobal.org

References

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