Moroccan Pilchard

(Sardina pilchardus)

European pilchard

1. What is it?

Moroccan pilchards (Sardina pilchardus) are small, fast-growing fish that form large schools and are considered moderately vulnerable to high fishing pressures. The stock status for the entire region remains unknown although there are indications of localized overfishing and overexploitation of stocks in fishing zones A and B while stock in zone C is not fully fished.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Moroccan pilchards are caught using purse-seine nets that are set around a school of fish in the surface to mid-water. Once the school is surrounded, the bottom of the net is closed by a footrope. There is no known damage to the benthic habitat and bycatch of other small fish is considered to be low.

3. Where is it from?

Moroccan pilchards are fished around the coastline of Morocco extending towards the Mediterranean Sea and imported into South Africa. Management is considered to be unknown as no definitive management plan has been defined for the whole fishing region (subdivided into three areas namely A, B, and C). There are indications that at least one of the fishing areas (Area C) has a management plan, which includes the use of a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limitation although the effectiveness of the plan remains unknown.