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Sardine landings. (Photo: Stock File)

ICES recommends drastic cut in sardine catches for 2016

  (PORTUGAL, 7/17/2015)

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) recommends that next year sardine (Sardina pilchardus) catches in Iberian waters must not exceed 1,587 tonnes.

For Portuguese fishermen, this volume is insufficient and involves nearly a ban, accounting for nearly a tenth of the total allowable catch (TAC) of 16,000 tonnes of the pelagic resource authorized for 2015.

The Portuguese fleet is allocated 70 per cent of the TAC whereas the remaining 30 per cent is set for the Spanish ships.

According to a report that has just been published by the ICES, "the biomass of age 1 and older fish has decreased since 2006 and is currently around the historical low", due to a drop in recruitment rate and to fishing mortality.

Experts explain that in the stock and in catches there is a marked predominance of young fish with low reproductive potential. They emphasize that the survival of these juvenile specimens until they reach adulthood may be important to improve the stock reproductive potential, and that "this reinforces the need for reductions in fishing mortality overall."

It must be recalled that this year's Iberian sardine fishing season began in March, after five months without catches due to the quota depletion.

Meanwhile, the President of the Republic, Cavaco Silva, described it as "moderately encouraging" the fact that sardine production in Portugal has stabilized, Lusa news agency reported.

A study by the Portuguese Institute of Marine Affairs determined that the sardine, whose abundance has been declining in the last decade, has begun to achieve some stability and reveals "a substantial increase between Cape Espichel and Peniche", although in the Algarve a drop of about 26 per cent still persists.

"The news is not so pessimistic, it is stabilizing. There has not been stock recovery yet from previous stocks, but it is something to have achieved sardine production stabilization," pointed out the President in Peniche on Monday, following a meeting with fishermen, unions, associations and enterprises in the fisheries sector.

At the meeting with industry organizations, Cavaco Silva also advocated "the economic sustainability" and "the social sustainability" and stressed the need to explain to the European partners of Portugual "the rules must take into account the reality of artisanal fisheries ".

Related article:

- Portuguese sardine fishery faces new setback

By Analia Murias
[email protected]
www.fis.com

 


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