Last updated on 18 August 2017

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Octopus vulgaris

SPECIES NAME(s)

Common octopus

COMMON NAMES

Octopus, poulpe

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 Cap Blanc stock unit.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • There is a new management strategy in place (2015-2019) that introduces the management of fisheries quota and the implementation of management plans.
  • The recent surveys abundance indices presented a considerable improvement of CPUE values.
  • There are several management measures in place (e.g. closed seasons, restriction of fishing licences, minimum weight landing, and minimum mesh sizes).
Weaknesses
  • The stock is considered overfished and overfishing could be occurring. However, 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 recent data on discards and bycatch for all components of the fishery. 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:

≥ 6

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
Cape Blanc Mauritania Mauritania Bottom trawls
Traps

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 25 August 2017

Strengths
  • There is a new management strategy in place (2015-2019) that introduces the management of fisheries quota and the implementation of management plans.
  • The recent surveys abundance indices presented a considerable improvement of CPUE values.
  • There are several management measures in place (e.g. closed seasons, restriction of fishing licences, minimum weight landing, and minimum mesh sizes).
Weaknesses
  • The stock is considered overfished and overfishing could be occurring. However, 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 recent data on discards and bycatch for all components of the fishery. 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 20 August 2017

Cephalopods stocks are assessed by the Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic (FAO/CECAF) Working Group and the Mauritanian Institute of Oceanographic Research and Fisheries (IMROP). 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.

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 artisanal fishery in Mauritania. 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.

Several demersal surveys have been conducted over the entire Mauritanian EEZ. National authorities undertook six surveys on board the R/V AL AWAM since 2009 and Spain carried out three scientific surveys between 2007 and 2009 on board the R/V VIZCONDE DE EZA. 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).

Biological sampling of the commercial the artisanal and coastal fisheries is regularly conducted at the main landing ports (Nouadhibou and Nouakchott) monitored by the IMROP. The data series of total catches from 1990 to 2012 is highly variable in terms of the catch level and data quality. For stock assessment analysis was used  CPUEs of the Mauritanian ice trawlers and included data from 1999 to 2008 because the exploitation level was considered  more homogeneous during that period (FAO 2016).

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).

A previous study recommended the use of state-space modelling instead of the observation error models that are usually used for octopus stock assessment in the region (Ono et al. 2012).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 20 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 considerable reduction in the abundance during the next 5 years. This situation will keep the catches stable during the projected period (2012-2017). The sustainable catches would fall steadily below the sustainable maximum yield (YMSY) (FAO 2016).

The 8th Working Group of the Assessment of the resources and management of the Mauritania Fisheries recommended that the fishing mortality should not exceed the 2013 level of captures (25,000 tonnes), updating and implementation of the provisional management program for the octopus fishery and organization of the working groups to evaluate the implementation and progress of the management plans (IMROP 2014).

Reference Points

Last updated on 20 Aug 2017

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

Bcurrent/B0.1=84%

Bcurrent/BMSY=92%

Fcurrent/F0.1=130%

Fcurrent/FMSY=117%

Fcurrent/ FSYcur= 109%

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.

The maximum sustainable yield (MSY) was defined at 32,000 tonnes (IMROP 2014).

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 20 August 2017

Results from the last stock assessment (2013) indicated that the octopus stock in Cape Blanc is overexploited (Bcurrent/BMSY=92%) and overfishing is occurring (Fcurrent/FMSY=117%)  (FAO 2016).  However, a progressive improvement of the state of the stock has been observed as well as a reduction of the fishing mortality levels. In 2012 the ratio Fcurrent/FMSY was 125% (IMROP 2014).

Surveys data indicated low recruitment and abundance for octopus in 2010 and in early 2011 but improved considerably in early 2012 as well as the average size /weight of the individuals captured The CPUE s of the Spanish trawlers ranged from 570 kg/fishing day in 1995 to 1,100 kg/fishing day in 2012 (FAO 2016).

Trends

The most important species group in the region in terms of catch is the cephalopods, particularly octopus (Octopus vulgaris) which represented around 37% of total demersal catches during the study period. Total catch of octopus decreased, albeit with some fluctuations, from 159,000 tonnes in 1999 to 66,000 tonnes in 2012 (FAO 2016).

Even considering that upwelling system in this area creates strong yearly abundance variance, an accentuated decrease of octopus abundance have occurred since peak captures in the 1960s in the Mauritanian EEZ (Vázquez-Rowe et al. 2012). The abundance indices are highly variable but a decreasing trend has been observer: from 12 kg/30 minutes in 1990 decreased sharply to a minimum of 1.3 kg/30 minutes in 2002. From this year, the global increasing trend was observed until 2008 (8.5 kg/30 minutes) but then biomass indices declined again in 2009 and 2010 (5 kg/30 min) before stabilizing over the last two years at 7 kg/30 min. Also , the  average individual weight presented a continuous decrease from 1,360 g in 1982 to 1,138 g in 2008. In 2012, the average weight has increased from 865 g in April to 1,104 g in March (FAO 2016)

In general, despite the peak observed in 1992 and 2009, landings of the octopus in Mauritanian waters presented a no clear trend. Catches of the Mauritanian freezer trawlers ranged between 5,400 to 10,400 tonnes between 2000-2012. The lowest values were observed in 2005 and 2010 but recover again in 2011 and 2012. Catches by the Mauritanian ice trawlers have declined steadily since 1993; the lowest quantity was recorded in 2010 due the effort reduction of this fleet. Spanish trawlers started their activity in 1995, reaching the 12,300 tonnes in 2000, decreasing for 6,400 tonnes in 2003 but recovering in 2004 (7,300 tonnes) and 2005 (9,300 tonnes). From 2005, catches deceased continuously reaching the 4,270 tonnes in 2012. After 2012, with the introduction of the new EU-Mauritania agreement, the cephalopods were not included in the agreement so this fishery is now only allowed to the national fleets. Catches of the artisanal fishery presented a declined after the 1992 peak decreasing until 2002 (2,470 tonnes). Thereafter catches increased until 17,820 tonnes in 2009. The catches decreased in 2010 but then increased again in the last years (FAO 2016).

Previous analysis suggested that the octopus stock off Mauritania was depleted, being less than a fifth of its virgin size (Ono et al. 2012).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 24 August 2017

The fisheries in Mauritania are regulated by the Fisheries and Maritime Economy Department (FMEM) that is the national authority responsible for fisheries management and implementation of the fisheries management measures.

Some of the current management measures in place include: a closed season in September and October (measure in force since 1996) and another closure of 2 months in spring (since 2008); minimum 70mm trawl mesh in the industrial demersal fleet other than shrimp trawlers; minimum 500g landing weight for octopus (eviscerated); zoning is established and trawling is not allowed in depths less than 20m. Additionally, since 2003, no new licences for industrial fishery for octopus have been allowed and the units that left the fleet are not been replaced. However, there is no restriction on the number of canoes or the number of pots used for fishing for octopus (FAO 2016).

The total number of cephalopod vessels (national and foreign) decreased from 195 in 2003 to 130 vessels in 2012. The fishing agreements with European Union started in 1996 and allowed European Union vessels to caught octopus in Mauritania. However, the current agreement (COUNCIL DECISION of 18 December 2012, 2012/827/EU) excluded fishing licences to European cephalopod vessels in the Mauritanian EEZ since the end of July 2012 (Casey et al. 2014Gorez 2016).

For 2015-2019, the Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy adopted a new national strategy for responsible management and the sustainable development of the fishing sector and the maritime economy. This strategy introduces the management of fisheries quota and management plans and is translated in a new fisheries code (law n° 017-2015of 29/07/2015). This strategy distinguishes two operating regimes: National and Foreign. This strategy highlights that the octopus fishery is crucial for the artisanal sector which no access to foreign fleets will be allowed since the stock is still overexploited (Gorez 2016).

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 24 Aug 2017

The new (2015-2019) national strategy for the fishing sector highlights that the octopus fishery is crucial for the artisanal sector which no access to foreign fleets will be allowed since the stock is still overexploited (Gorez 2016).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 24 August 2017

Cephalopods fisheries represent 70% of the industrial fisheries, and 4% of the artisanal segment (IMROP 2014) and octopus represents over 85%  for the industrial segment and 95% for the artisanal segment of the cephalopod fishery (FAO 2016).

Octopus commercial statistical data come from commercial fisheries in Mauritania. However, some data are still missing regarding artisanal fishery in Mauritania (FAO 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).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 25 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).

More than 30 species of cetaceans occur in the eastern tropical Atlantic (between Mauritania and Angola) and several human activities are described as impacting cetacean species: directed takes (whaling and small cetaceans); by-catch or entanglement in fishing gear; the ETA tuna purse seine fishery; overfishing; habitat loss and degradation; vessel strikes; marine ecotourism; and live captures for display. Climate change may represent a future threat (Weir and Pierce 2013). However, specific literature on the possible impacts of the octopus fishery in PET species was not found.

Other Species

Last updated on 25 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 in the industrial component  was about 45% rate of discard (Kelleher 2005)However, the discard rate of the Spanish fishing vessels targeting octopus was estimated at 19.5% (Vázquez-Rowe et al. 2012).

HABITAT

Last updated on 25 August 2017

This fishery is undertaken by several fleets, ranging from small boats to bottom trawlers using different fishing gears: the passive gears (squid net, pots and traps) and active gears (bottom trawls) (FAO 2016). Vázquez-Rowe et al. (2012) referred high seafloor impact rates by the Spanish fleet targeting octopus. It is expect that the national fishing operations impact also the seabed but there is no information available. Additionally, information on vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) 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)

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 25 Aug 2017

Mauritania EEZ includes one the most largest marine protected areas in west Africa: Banc d'Arguin National Park,

The strong upwelling occurring in the area is favourable to the formation of a strong primary production and an important development of the marine food chain which results in an exceptional richness. This area is also an important nursery area (Mauritanie | Spcsrp | Commission Sous-Régionale des Pêches n.d.).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 25 August 2017

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There are several management measures in place and a new national strategy for responsible management was adopted for 2015-2019. However, the stock has been overexploited for a long period although with some signs of recovery in last years.

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

The Minister has been restricting the licences of the industrial fleet and the EU-Mauritania did not include the cephalopods fishery since the stock is very important for the artisanal sector. The new management strategy (2015-2019) introduces the management of fisheries quota and the implementation of management plans. However, it is not clear if these measures are already in force.

As calculated for 2015 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 2015 data.

The score is < 6.

Results from the last stock assessment (2013) indicated that the octopus stock in Cape Blanca region is overexploited (Bcurrent/BMSY=92%) (FAO 2016a, IMROP 2014) . 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 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Results from the last stock assessment (2013) indicated that the octopus stock in Cape Blanc region is under overfishing (Fcurrent/FMSY=117%). However, the total number of cephalopod vessels (national and foreign) decreased from 195 in 2003 to 130 vessels in 2012. Since, 2012 the Spanish cephalopod fleet stop their fishing activity in Mauritania which the overfishing could be not occurring anymore. However, a new assessment should be undertaken.

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.
DATA NOTES

1) Surveys CPUEs obtained in Mauritania are expressed in kg/30min.

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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 - Cape Blanc

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