European Pilchard

(Sardina pilchardus)

European pilchard, Sardine, Pilchard

1. What is it?

European Sardine (Sardina pilchardus) is overfished in some areas whilst they are not fully exploited in other areas. The most recent data shows increasing catching trends. Although there are several improvements regarding stock, limited data leaves this fishery under risk of uncertainty.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Morocco

European pilchard 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.

Portugal and Spain

European Sardine are caught by purse seine nets which 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. Discard rates in this fishery are considered to be low and an impact on endangered, threatened or protected species is unlikely. Bycatch of non-target species is considered to be low. Catches of juvenile sardine are also considered to be low Purse seines used properly do not pose any impact on benthic habitats or surrounding ecosystem.

Spain and France

European Sardine are caught by purse seine which 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. Bycatch of non-target species is considered to be low however there is concern regarding the high levels of common dolphin bycatch. Discard rates and retained catch of juveniles is considered to be low. Purse seines used properly do not pose any impact on benthic habitats or surrounding ecosystem.

3. Where is it from?

European Sardine are distributed in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. In the Atlantic, sardine extends along the continental shelf from the Celtic Sea and the North Sea to Senegal, with residual populations off the Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands. Sardine is also found in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. Two stocks are considered in EU Atlantic waters: Northern stock (ICES Subareas VII and VIII.a,b,d) fished mainly by France and Spain, and Southern stock (ICES Subarea VIII c and Division IX.a) fished by Spain and Portugal. In both regions the stock is managed under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Union.

Morocco

European pilchard are fished around the coastline of Morocco (FAO 34) 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.

Spain & Portugal

European Sardine are caught in Morocco FAO 27 or 37 (ICES), Mauritania and Portugal (FAO 27 –ICES IXa, ICES VIIIc) and imported into South Africa. Management is considered largely effective. An ecosystem based approach of management is in the state of implementation

France & Spain

European Sardine are caught in Spain (FAO 27 – ICES subareas VIIIa, ICES VIIIb, ICES VIIId) and imported into South Africa.. Management is considered largely effective. Still, there are some open issues such as common dolphin bycatch.