Profile updated on 21 July 2017

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Octopus vulgaris

SPECIES NAME(s)

Common octopus

There are a few studies focusing on the population structure of common octopus in the Mediterranean Sea (Casu et al. 2002)(Maltagliati et al. 2002)(De Luca et al. 2014)(Cabranes et al. 2008) indicate the existence of fine spatial substructure, in function of geographical distance (>by  200 km), in the Iberian Peninsula. Populations of common octopus in southern Spain and Portugal are considered to be genetically related but northern Spain or the Canary Islands are differentiated from the others. Therefore a biological stock is considered within the Southern Iberian Peninsula (ICES area 9a-South, Gulf of Cádiz, which includes the South of Portugal and Spain) where an assessment unit is as well recognized (ICES 2018).  


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • The assessment unit considered in the Cephalopods Working Group Report by ICES overlaps with the existing biological stock.
  • Some input control measures such as a minimum landing size (in both countries) and temporal closures (only in Spain) are in place. 
  • A co-management case study took place in the South of Portugal. A Green Book dedicated to the fishery in Algarve was recently published. 
  • Discards are considered as negligible.
Weaknesses
  • There is no formal assessment of the resource at the stock level, only a survey is conducted in Spanish waters (within subdivision 9a-South).
  • The status of the resource is currently unknown.
  • The assessment unit and the biological stock overlap but the management of the resource is not coordinated among Portugal and Spain.  
  • Compliance by fishers on the management measures in place is unknown.
  • The impacts of the interaction of the fishery with the ecosystem and biodiversity is unknown.
Options
  • A coordinated management approach around the Iberian Peninsula, in this case between Portugal and Spain, would favor the sustainability of the resource. Besides, given the biological characteristics of the species, some studies argue that the resource should be managed locally. 
  • A joint assessment would increase knowledge about the status of the resource.
  • Studies should be conducted to understand the effectiveness of the seasonal closure applied in the Gulf of Cádiz. Portuguese managers argue this measure is not appropriate for the species.
  • A co-management approach, involving all interested parties and an ecosystem-based model (including economic, social and ecological criteria), could be established to properly manage the resource. 

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

< 6

Fishers Compliance:

DATA DEFICIENT

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

DATA DEFICIENT

Future Health:

DATA DEFICIENT


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • This profile is not currently high on our priority list for development, and we can’t at this time provide an accurate prediction of when it will be developed. To speed up an evaluation of the sustainability status of lower priority fisheries we have initiated a program whereby industry can directly contract SFP-approved analysts to develop a FishSource profile on a fishery. More information on this External Contributor Program is available at https://www.sustainablefish.org/Programs/Science/External-Contributor-Program.
  • Ensure your supply chain is represented in SFP’s Global Octopus Supply Chain Roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.

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
Southern Iberian Peninsula Portugal Portugal Traps
Spain Spain Pots
Traps

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 27 February 2019

Strengths
  • The assessment unit considered in the Cephalopods Working Group Report by ICES overlaps with the existing biological stock.
  • Some input control measures such as a minimum landing size (in both countries) and temporal closures (only in Spain) are in place. 
  • A co-management case study took place in the South of Portugal. A Green Book dedicated to the fishery in Algarve was recently published. 
  • Discards are considered as negligible.
Weaknesses
  • There is no formal assessment of the resource at the stock level, only a survey is conducted in Spanish waters (within subdivision 9a-South).
  • The status of the resource is currently unknown.
  • The assessment unit and the biological stock overlap but the management of the resource is not coordinated among Portugal and Spain.  
  • Compliance by fishers on the management measures in place is unknown.
  • The impacts of the interaction of the fishery with the ecosystem and biodiversity is unknown.
Options
  • A coordinated management approach around the Iberian Peninsula, in this case between Portugal and Spain, would favor the sustainability of the resource. Besides, given the biological characteristics of the species, some studies argue that the resource should be managed locally. 
  • A joint assessment would increase knowledge about the status of the resource.
  • Studies should be conducted to understand the effectiveness of the seasonal closure applied in the Gulf of Cádiz. Portuguese managers argue this measure is not appropriate for the species.
  • A co-management approach, involving all interested parties and an ecosystem-based model (including economic, social and ecological criteria), could be established to properly manage the resource. 
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 16 October 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • This profile is not currently high on our priority list for development, and we can’t at this time provide an accurate prediction of when it will be developed. To speed up an evaluation of the sustainability status of lower priority fisheries we have initiated a program whereby industry can directly contract SFP-approved analysts to develop a FishSource profile on a fishery. More information on this External Contributor Program is available at https://www.sustainablefish.org/Programs/Science/External-Contributor-Program.
  • Ensure your supply chain is represented in SFP’s Global Octopus Supply Chain Roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 27 February 2019

The Working Group on Cephalopod Fisheries and Life History (WGCEPH) is dedicated to Cephalopods assessment and description of the fisheries along the European Union waters. A report is published yearly with the status of the resources. In regards to common octopus, Spain and Portugal provide data analysis. Regional data is further made available from Madeira (Portugal) and Gulf of Cádiz (Spain). 

Data about common octopus is miscellaneous along the Iberian Peninsula. The ICES area 8c (Cantabrian Sea; only Spain) is considered and the area 9a is split into three regions, 9a-North (Galician waters; only Spain), 9a-Center (Portuguese waters; only Portugal) and 9a-South (Gulf of Cádiz; only Spain). There is information on Landings per Unit Effort (LPUE) for each of these areas, relying on the surveys conducted regularly by the member countries on their fisheries’ resources and on data from commercial fisheries, generically using distinct methods; some are discontinuous in time. Spain conducts SP-NGPS “DEMERSALES” in area 8c and SP-GCGFS “ARSA” (autumn and spring) in 9a-south; Portugal carries over the survey PGFS in 9a (IPMA 2015). Discards are considered as negligible (ICES 2018)

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 27 February 2019

According to (Cabranes et al. 2008) nearby populations are not significantly different, thus a coordinated management approach around the Iberian Peninsula, in this case between Portugal and Spain, would favor the sustainability of the resource. Besides, given the biological characteristics of the species, some studies argue that the resource should be managed locally (Lourenço et al. 2012)(Pita et al. 2016)

An ecosystem-based management is an approach defended by (Rodhouse et al. 2014), that recognizes the complexity of the assessments on cephalopods in general, considering the trophic interactions and the ecological behavior. 

Last updated on 27 February 2019

The Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) defined in 2018 as a goal, testing and optimizing the methods for monitoring the octopus status (IPMA 2018). No other recommendations could be found. 

Last updated on 27 February 2019

Common octopus abundance in the Gulf of Cadiz seems to be influenced by rain and the sea surface temperature of the previous year. A forecast model is under development and being tested to predict landings of the following year (ICES 2018). No scientific advice is provided on landings or any other indicator. 

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 27 February 2019

Both fishery-independent and dependent data show similar trends (ICES 2018). Notwithstanding it is important to note that only Spain provides information for the 9a-South area, missing Portugal data on the fisheries conducted in the Southern region of the country.  

Last updated on 27 February 2019

The importance of the resource at the national level is clear, dominating catches and landings of the artisanal sector (Pilar-Fonseca et al. 2014)(Pita et al. 2015)(Silva et al. 2018). The Algarve (in the South coast of Portugal) is the most important region in terms of landings and economical value (Pilar-Fonseca et al. 2014).  

Catches are only available at the national level (from PORDATA, gathering information from the National Statistics Institute and the Directorate-General for Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services) (PORDATA 2018) but a time-series on Portuguese catches is not available for subdivision 9a-South.

Last updated on 27 February 2019

The LPUE index (Kg/h) is available for Spain within the subdivision 9a-South and was used as a proxy for abundance. It oscillates over time, reaching the maximum in 2013 with 6.9 Kg/h. Nevertheless, the status of the stock is not known considering the information available.  

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 27 February 2019

Octopus’ management in the European Union is not under the quota regime, being the member countries responsible for the national management of the resource (Pita et al. 2015)

The effectiveness of biological closures applied in octopus fisheries has been studied (Benbow et al. 2014)(Oliver et al. 2015) and as well in the common octopus fishery in the North of Spain (Fernández-Rueda and García-Flórez 2007).

Last updated on 27 February 2019

In Portugal, the Directorate-General for Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services (Direcção-Geral de Recursos Naturais, Segurança e Serviços marítimos, DGRM) and respective regional departments establish legal measures. An informal co-management process started to take place in 2014/2015 in Algarve and comprehensive information was gathered during the workshops. An annual closure was proposed to the fishing authorities, by both researchers and fishermen, and the limitation of the fishing effort is identified as the main management goal needed for the fishery (Sonderblohm et al. 2017). A Green Paper on Octopus Fishing in the Algarve was recently released by the University of Algarve, gathering the perspectives of all interested parties (CCMAR 2018). The Ministry of the Sea denied this request arguing that given the biological characteristics of the species, a biological closure is not technically justifiable (CM 2018). Other recent study concluded that fishers support the establishment of biological closures and the implementation of a local management plan developed by fishers, contrasting the top-down model currently in place (Pita et al. 2015)(Silva et al. 2018). In order to reduce the fishing effort due to a low trend on landings, the Ministry of the Sea, decided that recreational or commercial fisheries cannot operate during the weekends, since the beginning of 2019 and only in the Algarve (MARDF 2019).

Octopus in Portuguese waters (subdivision 9a-center) are mainly caught by an artisanal polyvalent fleet that operates depending on the climatic conditions and on the fishing resources availability, using gillnets, trammel nets, traps, pots and hooks and lines (ICES 2018)

A maximum of non-baited traps per vessel is limited at 3000, independently of the vessel size. Baited-traps are limited at 750 for vessels under 9m, 1000 traps per vessels between 9 and 12 m, and 1250 traps per vessel over 12 m. Green crab (Carcinus maenas) may no longer be used as live bait in the Algarve (Portuguese south coast) (MARDF 2010). A minimum landing weight is defined at 750 g. Vessels 9 m long can operate > 0.5 nautical mile from the shoreline while vessels greater than 9m can fish only > 1 nautical mile in order to protect juveniles and the reproductive portion, except from March 1st to September 30th between Pedrógão (39° 55' 04'' N) and Guadiana (7° 23' 48'' W) when fishing operations can happen > 0.5 nautical mile from the shoreline (MARDF 2000)(MARDF 2012). There are also regulations on the mesh size (MARDF 2000). More recently, fishing operations are forbidden during

Last updated on 25 February 2019

In Spain, octopus are either caught in the Cantabrian Sea (subdivision 8c) and Galician waters (subdivision 9a north) by the artisanal fleet operating with traps and in the Gulf of Cadiz (subdivision 9a south) with bottom trawl (60%), pots and hand jigs (40%) (ICES 2018). As being included in the group of shellfish, each autonomous community is in charge of the common octopus' management. The number of fishing licenses is closed. 

In the Gulf of Cadiz, octopus minimum weight is defined at 1,000 g and two temporal closures were established, since April 2017 and with the agreement of all the interested parties, from May 1st - June 15th and from September 15th - October 30th, aiming to "ensure the conservation of octopus populations and the sustainability of the fishery". A census of the vessels authorized will also take place (CAGPDS 2017). In 2016 a draft management plan was developed, including a biological of four continuous months, from May to September but the fishing sector rejected the proposal (AI 2016).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 27 February 2019

There are a few input management measures in place, a minimum landing weight (both in Spain and Portugal) and two seasonal closures (only in Spain), but no information in regards to the fishers' compliance could be found.  

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 27 February 2019

Non-target species of the fishery are not identified. 

Other Species

Last updated on 27 February 2019

Non-target species of the fishery are not identified. Discards are considered as negligible (ICES 2018).

HABITAT

Last updated on 27 February 2019

The interaction of the fishery with the seabed habitat is currently unknown. 

ECOSYSTEM

Last updated on 27 February 2019

The interaction of the fishery with the ecosystem is currently unknown.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 25 February 2019

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2019 data.

The score is < 6.

There is no management plan developed for the fishery, neither in Spain or Portugal. Octopus’ management in the European Union is not under the quota regime, being the member countries responsible for the national management of the resource (Pita et al. 2015). Mainly input control measures are in place (Silva et al. 2018).

As calculated for 2019 data.

The score is < 6.

According to (Cabranes et al. 2008) nearby populations are not significantly different, thus a coordinated management approach around the Iberian Peninsula, in this case between Portugal and Spain, would favor the sustainability of the resource. Besides, given the biological characteristics of the species, some studies argue that the resource should be managed locally (Lourenço et al. 2012)(Pita et al. 2016). No other scientific recommendations for the management of the resource were found.

As determined for 2019.

There are a few input management measures in place, a minimum landing weight (both in Spain and Portugal) and two seasonal closures (only in Spain), but no information in regards to the fishers' compliance could be found.

STOCK HEALTH:

As determined for 2019.

There is no formal assessment of the resource, in Portuguese or Spanish waters, only landings and the spawning period is monitored but with no application on the assessment. No abundance indicator is available for the stock considered within the southern Iberian Peninsula (subdivision 9a-South).

As determined for 2019.

There is no formal assessment of the resource, in Portuguese or Spanish waters, only landings and the spawning period is monitored but with no application on the assessment. No fishing mortality indicator is available for the stock considered within the southern Iberian Peninsula (subdivision 9a-South).

No data available for biomass
No data available for biomass
No data available for catch and tac
No data available for catch and tac
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for stock status
No data available for stock status
DATA NOTES
  • There is some information regarding subdivision 9a-South (South Iberian Peninsula) which was used as a proxy of abundance but only related to Spanish fisheries. Portuguese fisheries are not represented in the assessment considered in (ICES 2018).
  • Only Spanish landings (trawl and artisanal) are available for subdivision 9a-South (ICES 2018). Portuguese catches are only accessible at the national level (mainland and the archipelagos; discards not included) (PORDATA 2018)
  • Scores about Management quality were assigned qualitatively according to the information available, but the Fishers' compliance score could be determined due to lack of information. Both Stock status scores could not be determined quantitatively either qualitatively due to lack of information, being all determined as data deficient.

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

References

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