Portuguese Sardine

(Sardina pilchardus)

European pilchard

1. What is it?

Portuguese Sardines (Sardina pilchardus) are small, fast growing fish that form large schools and are considered to be moderately vulnerable to high fishing pressures. Biomass has declined due to above average fishing mortality. The stock is currently considered as overfished.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Portuguese sardines 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 unknown although bycatch and discarding of non-target species is thought to be low. 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?

Portuguese sardines are fished around the coast of Portugal and imported into South Africa. The fishery is managed under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Union. Management is considered to be partly effective through the use of a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits, gear restrictions and other technical measures. Concern remains regarding management response to the overfished status of the stock.