Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Spain Offshore longliner hake fishery - Moroccan Atlantic coast waters
Fishery  Fact Sheet
CECAF Fisheries Reports 2011
Spain Offshore longliner hake fishery - Moroccan Atlantic coast waters
Fact Sheet Citation  
Palangriers espagnols de merlus
Owned byFood and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – more>>
Fishery life cycleThis fishery terminated on 1999.

Overview: The majority of the fleet targeted hakes, mainly European hake, Merluccius merluccius, and Senegalese hake, Merluccius senegalensis, but part of the fleet targeted the Atlantic pomfret Brama brama, with an average number of 15-25 vessels during the last years of the agreement. The longline fleet operated in whole the Moroccan and Saharan coast. During the 1980’s, they almost exclusively fished in the fishing grounds around the parallel 34ºN, progressively increasing their activity to the Saharan coast (21ºN-28ºN) during the last years, then reaching the Mauritanian border. This was reflected in an increase of Senegalese hake catches. These vessels worked during the last years under the conditions established within the framework of the 1995 fishing agreement between the European Union and Morocco. The end of the Agreement in 1999 marked the closure of the fishery. The new fishing Agreement signed between the EU and the Kingdom of Morocco in 2006 authorises the use of longlines targeting black hake, scabbardfish and leerfish, into the category “Demersal fishing” and in an area located south of 29ºN and beyond 12 nautical miles. However, the licences provided to longliners have not been used until the moment.

Location of Spain Offshore longliner hake fishery - Moroccan Atlantic coast waters

Geographic reference:  Spain
Spatial Scale: National
Reference year: 2011
Approach: Fishing Activity

Fishing Activity
Fishing Gear: Set longlines
Type of production system: Commercial; Industrial
Fishery Area: Morocco Atlantic coast; Morocco; Morocco coastal; Sahara coastal

Harvested Resource
Target Species: European hake; Senegalese hake; Atlantic pomfret
Associated Species: Swordfish; Silver scabbardfish; European conger …  

Means of Production
Vessel Type: Longliners
Fishery Indicators
Nominal Effort: Number of vessels
Production: Landing value total; Landing value…; Landing value B. brama

The beginning of the Spanish longline fishery in Moroccan waters occurred at the end of the 1970s, when some Galician vessels based in the Port of Santa Eugenia de Riveira, started to operate in Morocco, after a decrease of the yields obtained in the North Spanish fishing grounds. The fleet experienced an important increase since 1995, reaching a number of 58 vessels in 1997.

This fleet suffered continuous changes in the gears employed from the beginning of the fishery until it was disappeared, alternatively changing from longline to gillnet and the opposite. In fact, different Fishing Agreements between the EU and the Kingdom of Morocco have included these gears in the same fishing category “Longline”.
Fishing Activity
Type of production system: Commercial; Industrial   

Fishery Area
Climatic zone: Temperate.   Depth zone: Slope - Upperslope (200 m - 500 m).   Horizontal distribution: Neritic.   Vertical distribution: Demersal/Benthic.  

Geo References for: Morocco Atlantic coast

The Moroccan Atlantic coast is part of one of the four major trade-wind driven continental margin upwelling zones in the world oceans, the northwestern African upwelling system (or the Canary Current System). In the Eastern Central Atlantic, the dynamics of an eastern boundary current interacting with trade wind-driven upwelling control this marine ecosystem with exceptionally high primary and secondary productivity (Cury and Roy, 1989; Binet, 1997; Demarcq and Faure, 2000). While coastal upwelling occurs mostly on the shelf, biogenic particles derived from upwelling are deposited mostly at the upper continental slope. Nutrient-rich coastal water is transported within the Cape Ghir filament region at 30°N up to several hundreds of kilometres offshore. Both upwelling intensity and filament activity are dependent on the strength of the summer Trades (Freudenthal et al., 2002).
Resources Exploited
European hake - Morocco
Senegal hake, Benguela hake - Morocco
Other resources: Stocks of atlantic pomfrets, scabbardfish, conger, forkbeards and swordfish.
Related Fisheries - Same fishing activity(ies) described by another national perspective (at the same or different aggregation level)
Morocco Offshore Spanish longliner hake fishery - Atlantic coast
Morocco Offshore Spanish gillnetter hake fishery - Atlantic coast
Vessel Type
Flag State

Longliner. The average characteristics during the last years of the fishery were 77 GRT, 333 h.p. and 21 m length (1991-1997).
Catch Handling and Processing Equipment
Ice. For quality reasons, sets targeting the Atlantic pomfret used to be made at the end of the fishing trip, as this species conserves worst than hakes. European hakes were separated and classified into five commercial categories, while Senegalese hakes only constituted one category, being all eviscerated. Catches were preserved in ice.
Fleet segment
Longliners that operated in Moroccan waters were mainly based in the Port of Santa Eugenia de Riveira, with some unities based in La Guardia (both in Galicia, NW Spain) and others in the ports of Algeciras (S Iberian Peninsula), Ceuta (N Africa), Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands).
Fishing Gear
Set longlines
Hooks and lines- Set longlines. The gear is composed of an average number of 100 longlines (approximately 1 100 hooks), that were usually set in one unique line. For hake fishery, 20-120 gears used to be set, corresponding to 2 000-14 000 hooks and a line length between 3-14 nautical miles. Sardines were used as baits. On the other hand, for the Atlantic pomfret fishery, a number of gears of 100-120 used to be set, corresponding to 10 000-14 000 hooks and a line length between 12-14 nautical miles. In this case, Ammodytidae and Scomberesox saurus were the main species used as baits.
Santa Eugenia de Riveira and La Guardia (NW Iberian Peninsula), Algeciras (S Iberian Peninsula), Ceuta (N Africa), Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands).
Fishery Indicators
TypeMeasureValueUnitTime period
Nominal EffortNumber of vessels 60vessels1999
ProductionLanding value total2273tonnes1989-1997
Landing value M. merluccius812tonnes1989-1997
Landing value M. senegalensis383tones1989-1997
Landing value B. brama858tonnes1989-1997
Post Harvest
Fish Utilisation
Mainly Algeciras, which comprises the third part of the landings, followed by Vigo, A Coruña, Riveira and Cádiz.
Management unit: No

Jurisdictional framework
Management Body/Authority(ies): Ministère de l'Agriculture et de la Pêche Maritime. Département de la Pêche Maritime
Mandate: Monitoring; Management.  
Area under national jurisdiction: Morocco
Maritime Area: Exclusive Economic Zone Areas (EEZ).  
Management Body/Authority(ies): European Union
Mandate: Flag state responsibility for its fishing vessels operating in foreign area under national jurisdiction.  
Area under national jurisdiction: Morocco
Maritime Area: Exclusive Economic Zone Areas (EEZ).  
Legal definition
Long liners
Management Regime
Agreement on Cooperation in the sea fisheries sector between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco (OJ L 306, 19.12.1995, p. 7–43).

Management measures of the Spanish longliner hake fishery were included in different Fisheries Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco. This fishery was closed after the end of the Agreement of 1995-1999. Management measures described below are those included in the last Fishery Agreement where this fishery was allowed (OJ L 306, 19.12.1995, p. 7–43) under the fishing category “Long liners”.
Management Methods

CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT MEASURES with focus on Effort control- Licences system

  • Aquatic species-related measures
    Crustaceans by-catches not allowed.
  • Gear-related measures
    Gear type (prohibition of driftnets, encircling nets and monofilament or multifilament nets, excepting multifilament nets made by several filaments of natural and/or synthetic origin, which were allowed).
  • Vessel-related measures
    Access control: vessel size (Maximum 9 270 GRT (140 vessels)) in 1999.
  • Fishing activity-related measures
    Licences (quarter licences of the fishery category “Longliners”, which allows the use of longlines, gillnets and trammel nets), vessel number (140, longliners and gillnetters together) in 1999, closed area (inside 12 miles) and closed season (two months: 15 March-15 May).
Status and Trends
The fishery was closed at the end of the Fishery Agreement in 1999, with no renewal in the last Agreement of 2006.
Source of Information
Cervantes, A. and R.Goñi, R. 1985. Descripción de las pesquerías españolas de merluzas y crustáceos de África Occidental al norte de Cabo Blanco. En: C. Bas, R. Margalef y P. Rubiés (Eds.). Simposio Internacional sobre las áreas de afloramiento más importantes del Oeste africano (Cabo Blanco y Benguela). II, 825-850. Instituto de Investigaciones Pesqueras. Barcelona, España.
Cervantes, A., I. Sobrino, A. Ramos and L. Fernández, 1992. Descripción y análisis de los datos de las pesquerías de merluza y gamba de la flota española que faenó al fresco en África Noroccidental durante el período 1983-1988. Informe Técnico Instituto Español de Oceanografía 111, 85 pp. Madrid, España.
Cury, P. and C. Roy, 1989. Optimal environmental window and pelagic fish recruitment success in upwelling areas. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 46, 670–680.
Binet, D., 1997. Climate and pelagic fisheries in the Canary and Guinea currents 1964–1993: the role of trade winds and the southern oscillation. Ocean. Acta 20, 177–190.
Demarcq, H. and V. Faure, 2000. Coastal upwelling and associated retention indices derived from satellite SST. Application to Octopus vulgaris recruitment. Ocean. Acta 23, 391–408.
Freudenthal, T, H. Meggers, J. Henderiks, H. Kuhlmann, A. Moreno, G. Wefer, 2002. Upwelling intensity and filament activity off Morocco during the last 250,000 years. Deep Sea Res. (II Top. Stud. Oceanogr.) 49, 17: 3655-3674.
Meiners, C. 2007. Importancia de la variabilidad climática en las pesquerías y biología de la merluza europea Merluccius merluccius (Linnaeus, 1758) de la costa Noroccidental Africana. Tesis Doctoral, 187 pp. IEO-Univ. Politecnica de Cataluña.
Meiners, C, L. Fernández, A. Faraj and R. García-Cancela, 2010. Length-weight relationships of 12 deep-sea teleost fish species from the NW African slope. Journal of Applied Ichthyology. In press.
Meiners, C., L. Fernández, F. Salmerón and C. Hernández, 2010. Some biological parameters of deep-sea shark species from NW Africa. Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria. In press.
Meiners, C., L. Fernández, F. Salmerón and A. Ramos, 2010. Climate variability and fisheries of black hakes (M. polli and M. senegalensis) in NW Africa: a first approach. Monográfico de Elsevier-Journal of Marine System, 80: 243-247.
Meiners, C., L. Fernández, P. Torres and A. Ramos, 2006. Climate variability and recruitment success of European hake (Merluccius merluccius L.) in NW Africa. ICES CM 2006/C:15, 19 pp.
Official Journal of the European Union, 1995. Agreement on Cooperation in the sea fisheries sector between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco. Protocol setting out fishing opportunities and the financial compensation and financial contributions. OJ L 306, 19.12.1995, p. 7–43.
Official Journal of the European Union, 2006. Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Communities and the Kingdom of Morocco. OJ L 141, 29.5.2006, p. 1–37.
Ramos, A. and L. Fernández. 1994. Las pesquerías de merluzas en los caladeros de África Noroccidental: Datos de base del año 1991. Inf. Téc. Inst. Esp. Oceanogr., 153: 132 pp.
Ramos, A and L. Fernández. 1995. Biology and fisheries of North-west African hakes (M. merluccius, M. senegalensis and M. polli). In: J. Alheit and T. Pitcher (eds.). Hake: Biology, fisheries and markets Series 15: 89-124. Chapman & Hall, London, Reino Unido.
Ramos, A., I. Sobrino and L. Fernández, 1996. Biología de la merluza europea, Merluccius merluccius (Linnaeus, 1758) de las costas de África noroccidental. Oceanografía y Recursos Marinos del Atlántico Centro Oriental. Llinás, O., J.A. González y J.M. Rueda (eds.). ICCM, Cabildo Insular, 223-239. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Ramos, A., R. González, T. García, I. Sobrino and L. Fernández, 2000. La crisis en el acceso al caladero marroquí: análisis de la evolución y situación de las pesquerías y recursos de merluzas y crustáceos. Inf. Téc. Inst. Esp. Oceanogr., 178: 171 pp.
powered by FIGIS  © FAO, 2020
Powered by FIGIS