Last updated on 17 August 2017

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Octopus vulgaris

SPECIES NAME(s)

Common octopus

COMMON NAMES

Poulpe, Octopus

According with FAO/CECAC (FAO 2016) the population of Octopus vulgaris in Western Africa  is divided into three main stocks: Dakhla (26°N-21°N), Cape Blanc (21°N-16°N) and Senegal-The Gambia (16°N-12°N). This profile refers to the Dakhla stock unit.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • There is a management plan in place and the stock is closed monitored by the National Institute for Fisheries Research (INRH).
  • Results of the stock abundance survey are used to establish the total allowable catch (TAC) per season.
  • The recent surveys abundance indices presented a considerable improvement of the biomass and CPUE values.
  • There are two biologic rest periods to protect the spawning and the recruitment of the stock and the duration of the fishing season is adjusted to the stock indices each season.
Weaknesses
  • There is a long time gap between the CECAF working group session and the publication of the assessment report.
  • More information on the possible effects of the octopus fishery in the environment is needed (e.g. PET species, benthic impacts).
  • Discard rates are very high.
  • There are IUU issues related with the fishery.
Options
  • Considering the interannual variability of this resource, CECAF working Group/INRH should assess and publish the results of the assessment more frequently to better support the management decisions.
  • Implement an observation programme aboard the vessels to collect data on discards and bycatch.
  • Develop specific studies to improve the information on the vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMS) in this region.
  • Develop fishing strategies or gears modifications to reduce the level of discards.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 8

Fishers Compliance:

< 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

< 6

Future Health:

≥ 6


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
Dakhla Morocco Morocco Bottom trawls
Pots
Traps
Vertical Lines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 18 August 2017

Strengths
  • There is a management plan in place and the stock is closed monitored by the National Institute for Fisheries Research (INRH).
  • Results of the stock abundance survey are used to establish the total allowable catch (TAC) per season.
  • The recent surveys abundance indices presented a considerable improvement of the biomass and CPUE values.
  • There are two biologic rest periods to protect the spawning and the recruitment of the stock and the duration of the fishing season is adjusted to the stock indices each season.
Weaknesses
  • There is a long time gap between the CECAF working group session and the publication of the assessment report.
  • More information on the possible effects of the octopus fishery in the environment is needed (e.g. PET species, benthic impacts).
  • Discard rates are very high.
  • There are IUU issues related with the fishery.
Options
  • Considering the interannual variability of this resource, CECAF working Group/INRH should assess and publish the results of the assessment more frequently to better support the management decisions.
  • Implement an observation programme aboard the vessels to collect data on discards and bycatch.
  • Develop specific studies to improve the information on the vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMS) in this region.
  • Develop fishing strategies or gears modifications to reduce the level of discards.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 17 August 2017

Cephalopods stocks are assessed by the Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic (FAO/CECAF) Working Group and the National Institute for Fisheries Research (INRH). The FAO/CECAF Working Group for the Assessment of Demersal Resources (Subgroup North-between Cap Spartel and the south of Senegal) was created in 2000 and their overall objective is to contribute to the improvement of the management of demersal resources in Northwest Africa. INRH started a demersal stock assessment and monitoring programme in 1980.

Research surveys and monitoring of the state of the cephalopods have been conducted and information on sampling intensity of the research surveys is available.  However, there are still some data limitations regarding the catches of the Spanish freezer trawlers. There is still some data uncertainties, namely, on catch and effort data at specific-species level. Uncertainties in stock definition were also found. Furthermore,  the most recent report available on the assessment of demersal resources in the Northern CECAF zone was from the FAO/CECAF Working Group held in 2013 (FAO 2016). It should be noted that there is a long delay between the working group session and the publication of the report.

Three types of models are used for stock assessment: a geostatistical model is used with data from the surveys undertaken before the fishing seasons to estimate variances of biomass abundance. These are used to estimate the potential of exploitation. During the fishing season, the biomass is estimated in a real-time operation based on the initial recruitment using a depletion model which allows a possible adjustment of the overall quota (INRH 2016).

Biological sampling of the commercial fisheries is regularly conducted at the main landing ports covered by the INRH regional centres and on board the research vessels of RV Charif Al Idrissi and RV El Amir Moulay Abdellah. For the period 2009-2012, the research vessel Charif Al Idrissi carried out 21 scientific surveys to assess and monitor demersal resources (FAO 2016; FAO 2015) . In 2012, the INRH reinforce sampling of octopus in freezing plants, ports and landing sites. Also, the CCLME Project in collaboration with the EAF-Nansen project conducted two ecosystem surveys with the R/V DR. FRIDTJOF NANSEN in the waters off Northwest Africa from Guinea in the South to Morocco in the north (FAO 2015).

There is a high interannual and seasonal variability of the octopus stock biomass associated to the spring recruitment event that is associated with the coastal upwelling index and sea surface temperature (Thiaw et al. 2011). The main spawning peak is in spring (February–May), and a secondary one in autumn (October–December); recruitment peaks in autumn (September–November) and to a lesser extent in spring (Faraj and Bez 2007). For recent INRH surveys, for both spring and autumm surveys ,  the southern zone (between 22°43’N and 20°50’N) presented a higher rate of juveniles than the northern zone (between 26°00’N et le 22°43’N).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 17 August 2017

CECAF Scientific Sub-Committee is responsible to provide appropriate advice to the Committee for fisheries managing decisions.

According to the most recent report available of the FAO/CECAF Working Group undertaken in 2013, maintain the fishing effort at its current level (Status quo) would lead to an increase in the relative abundance index in 2013, which would then stabilize from 2014. The catch would increase at first and then remain stable at the same level as the MSY from 2014 (FAO 2016).

In view of the reduction in fishing effort and the improvement in the abundance of the stock, the Working Group recommended that the fishing mortality should not exceed the 2012 level to strengthen the control of management measures (FAO 2015).

Results of the stock abundance survey carried out yearly by the INRH are used to establish the total allowable catch (TAC) per season.

Reference Points

Last updated on 17 Aug 2017

The following reference points were established in 2013 working group based on the surveys data (FAO 2016)

Bcurrent/B0.1=58%

Bcurrent/BMSY=63%

Fcurrent/F0.1=112%

Fcurrent/FMSY=101%

Fcurrent/ FSYcur= 74%

Bcur/B0.1: Relationship between the estimated biomass for the last year of the series and the biomass corresponding to F0.1.

Fcur/FSYcur: Relationship between the observed fishing mortality coefficient during the last year of the series and the coefficient that would provide a sustainable yield at the current biomass level.

Fcur/FMSY: Relationship between the observed fishing mortality coefficient during the last year of the series and the coefficient that would give a maximum sustainable yield over the long term.

Fcur/F0.1: Relationship between the observed fishing mortality during the last year of the series and F0.1.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 17 August 2017

Results from the last stock assessment (2013) indicated that the octopus stock in Dakhla region is overexploited but overfishing is not ocurring.  However, more recent surveys data indicates an improvement of the octopus yields, especially during the autumn campaign where they reached about 32 Kg /30min, exceeding the maximum level recorded in autumn 2012. The estimated octopus biomass for the fall 2014 season (October 2014) is 15,450 tonnes, representing an increase of 56% over the biomass recorded during the autumn 2013 campaign. The estimated octopus biomass for the 2015 summer season (April 2015) is 9,465 tonnes, also representing a 64% of increasing over the same period in 2014 (INRH 2016). Catches in 2015 were about 46,000 tonnes, 28% higher than the previous year.

Trends

Last updated on 17 Aug 2017

In Morocco, the octopus fishery began in the 60s by a deep-sea foreign fleet. The national fleet was developed during the 70s and 80s, along the Spanish fleet. The cephalopods are the most important species group in the region in terms of catch, namely the octopus which represented around 37% of total demersal catches in the NW Africa. Surveys abundance indices of octopus decreased between 2009 and 2011. In 2012, the biomass increased for 29 kg/30 min which is the highest index observed since 2001. Total catch of octopus has decreased abruptly from 106,000 tonnes in 2000 to 18,000 tonnes in 2004. After that period, the production stabilized but decreased again in 2011 to about 20,000 tonnes. Since 2011 catches have been increasing (INRH 2016; FAO 2016).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 17 August 2017

The fisheries in Morocco are regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests through the Maritime Fisheries Department that is national authority responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of fisheries policies.

There is a management plan in place for the octopus fishery since 2001, which was revised in 2004 and 2011, based on total allowable catch (TAC) and other several measures aimed at limiting fishing pressure (fishing licences, biological rest period, prohibited fishing grounds, mesh size, minimum market size).

The seasonal TAC is determined for each season and shared between the several components of the fleet: deep-sea fleet (63%), artisanal fleet (26%) and the coastal fleet (11%). The global quota per segment is then distribution into individual quotas for the deep-sea and artisanal fleets.  A catch quota system for octopus per region was established and the closed season was extended to the entire Moroccan coast since 2011 (FAO 2016). For the winter season 2016/2017 the total TAC was 35,000 tonnes, less 1,000 tonnes than last year (F. 2016). For the 2017 summer (between June 15th and September 15th), the total allowable catch (TAC) was set at 12,200 tonnes: 7,686 tonnes in the offshore area, 1,342 tonnes in the coastal area and 3,172 tonnes in the artisanal area of Dakhla  (Undercurrent News 2017).

There are two fishing seasons (Winter and Summer) and two biological rest periods: in the spring during the spawning period and in the autumn to protect the recruitment (FAO 2016). The duration of the season is revised according to the indicators of this fishery.

The current Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco entered in force in 2014 and allows the activity of Spanish trawlers in Morocco waters.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 17 Aug 2017

A management plan for the octopus fishery in Dakhla is in place since 2001. Due the low production, the plan was revised in 2004 and 2011 with the introduction of additional management measures and supported by the closest monitoring provided by the INRH.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 17 August 2017

Octopus commercial statistical data come from commercial fisheries but there was some missing data regarding the catches of the Spanish freezer trawlers (FAO 2016). In recent years, catches by component were: freezer trawlers fleet (53-65%), artisanal fleet (21-40%) and the coastal fleet (4-16%) (INRH 2016).

The most recent report available of  the Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic (CECAF) held in 2013 mentioned that a better evaluation of various impacts of IUU is needed , as well as improve monitoring/inspection, and increase transparency on IUU fleets between countries (FAO 2016). Illegal cephalopod catches in the southern areas summed 480,000 tonnes for the period from 1950 to 2010 (Belhabib et al. 2013).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 17 August 2017

A recent study on the status of marine biodiversity in the Eastern Central Atlantic (West and Central Africa) indicated that 8% of all marine species assessed in this region are in threatened categories, while 4% are listed as Near Threatened, 73% are Least Concern, and 15% are Data Deficient (Polidoro et al. 2017). Specific literature on the possible impacts of the octopus fishery in PET species was not found.

Other Species

Last updated on 17 August 2017

The main target species in the cephalopod fisheries are octopus (Octopus vulgaris), cuttlefish (Sepia spp, most of which are Sepia officinalis, S. bertheloti and S. hierredda) and squid (Loligo vulgaris). Octopus is the dominant species in the sub-region and accounts for 48 to 87 percent of total cephalopod landings in 2012 (FAO 2016).

The cephalopod fishery is associated with higher rates of discarding. According to previous studies the discard rate varies between 19% in the small-scale fishery and a 45% rate of discard in the industrial component  (Kelleher 2005, Belhabib et al. 2013).

HABITAT

Last updated on 17 August 2017

This fishery is undertaken by several fleets, ranging from small boats to bottom trawlers using different fishing gears: the passive gears (pots, jigs and traps) and active gears (bottom trawls) (FAO 2016). It is expect that these gears impact the seabed but there is no information available. Additionally, information on vulnerable marine ecosystems (VME) is needed as well as the possible impacts of the fishing activity in the benthic habitats.

There is a high interannual and seasonal variability of the octopus stock biomass associated to the spring recruitment event that is associated with the coastal upwelling index and sea surface temperature (Thiaw et al. 2011). The main spawning peak is in spring (February–May), and a secondary one in autumn (October–December); recruitment peaks in autumn (September–November) and to a lesser extent in spring . In the Dakhla area there is a clear distinction between spatial areas of spawning and recruitment. Usually, recruitment areas are located more closed of the cost and are less variable than the spawning areas (Faraj and Bez 2007).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 17 Aug 2017

There are 4 Marine Protected areas in Morocco and 22 marine managed areas. A complete list can be found here. Concerning this profile, there is a proposal for the implementation of the Dakhla National Park.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 18 August 2017

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There is a management plan in place since 2001, with seasonal TAC and closed monitoring by the INRH. Other additional measures (e.g. closed seasons) also implemented. However, the stock has been overexploited for a long period although with some signs of recovery in last years.

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Results of the stock abundance survey carried out yearly by the INRH are used to establish the total allowable catch (TAC) per season. However, no official documents with TAC advice were found.

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is < 6.

There are some issues with IUU which the Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic (CECAF) held in 2013 mentioned that a better evaluation of various impacts of IUU is needed, as well as improve monitoring/inspection, and increase transparency on IUU fleets between countries. The information available does not allow compare the set TAC and the total catches.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is < 6.

Results from the last stock assessment (2013) indicated that the octopus stock in Dakhla region is overexploited (Bcurrent/BMSY=63%) . However, the recent surveys abundance indices presented a considerable improvement of the biomass and CPUE values which it could indicate some signs of stock recovery.

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Results from the last stock assessment (2013) indicated that the octopus stock in Dakhla region is not under overfishing (Fcurrent/FMSY=101%). There are some signs of recovery of the stock but the trend is still very variable.

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.
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.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.

No related analysis

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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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    Common octopus - Dakhla

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