European Pilchard

(Sardina pilchardus)

European pilchard

1. What is it?

Morocco

European pilchard (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.

Portugal

European pilchard ( Sardina pilchardus ) are small, fast growing fish that form large schools and are considered to be moderately vulnerable to high fishing pressures. Stock levels remain low despite a reduction in fishing pressure. Although there are several improvements regarding stock, limited data and increasing catch trends 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

European pilchard are caught using 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. The impact on endangered, threatened or protected species is unlikely and discarding of non-target species is thought to be low however concern remains regarding the impact on dolphins and vulnerable bird species. The proportion of juvenile sardines caught within the fishery has increased. There is very little impact on the benthic environment and species.

3. Where is it from?

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.

Portugal

European pilchard are caught along the coast of Portugal (FAO 27) and imported into South Africa. Some area specific management measures are in place; however effectiveness is unknown and recovery of stock remains uncertainty.