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Spain Freezing bottom trawlers octopus fishery - Mauritanian waters
Fishery  Fact Sheet
CECAF Fisheries Reports 2013
Spain Freezing bottom trawlers octopus fishery - Mauritanian waters
Fact Sheet Citation  
Céphalopodiers congélateurs espagnols
Owned byFood and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – more>>
Fishery life cycleThis fishery terminated on 2012.

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Overview: Gears utilized by freezer trawlers can be prepared either with chains (Spanish trawl) or with bobbins in the footrope (Korean trawl). Catches are frozen, this allowing long fishing trips with an average duration of 50 to 60 days at sea. Most common cephalopod species exploited in this fishing ground are octopus (Octopus vulgaris), squid (Loligo vulgaris), and cuttlefish (Sepia hierredda and S. officinalis). Octopus are eviscerated before their freezing and divided into commercial categories depending on their size. Squids and cuttlefishes are directly frozen and sold in different commercial categories according to the length of squids and the weight of cuttlefishes. Nowadays most of the landings take place at Nouadhibou (Mauritania) being after transported by freighters to Gran Canaria.

Location of Spain Freezing bottom trawlers octopus fishery - Mauritanian waters
 

Geographic reference:  Spain
Spatial Scale: National
Reference year: 2013
Approach: Fishing Activity

Fishing Activity
Fishing Gear: Single boat bottom otter trawls
Type of production system: Commercial; Industrial
Fishery Area: Mauritania; Atlantic, East …

Seasonality: November-April …

Harvested Resource
Target Species: Common octopus
Associated Species: Common cuttlefish; European squid; Senegalese hake …  
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Means of Production
Vessel Type: Stern trawlers freezer
Fishery Indicators
Nominal Effort: Number of vessels
Participation: Number of fishermen
Production: Catch

History
 
The restrictions of the access to Moroccan fishing grounds (see Related Fisheries: Freezer bottom trawlers cephalopods fishery - Moroccan Atlantic coast waters, South) forced the Spanish cephalopod fleet to extend the scope of fishing agreements to other countries such as Mauritania. Cephalopod fishery in Mauritania started in the middle 70s in the Cape Blanc zone (21ºN), from where it extended progressively to southern latitudes. The access of Spanish trawlers to the fishery has been regulated by the technical conditions imposed by successive fishing agreements signed firstly between Spain and Mauritania and lately between the European Union and this country. Access conditions are becoming the more and more restrictive and the Spanish cephalopod fleet has been reduced dramatically. This fleet currently is less than one third of its maximum size of 279 vessels in 1980. Their main landing ports are Puerto de la Luz and Las Palmas (in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands).
Fishing Activity
Type of production system: Commercial; Industrial   

Fishery Area
Climatic zone: Temperate.   Bottom type: Soft bottom clean sand; Hard rocky bottom.   Depth zone: Coastal (0 m - 50 m); Shelf (50 m - 200 m).   Horizontal distribution: Littoral; Neritic.   Vertical distribution: Demersal/Benthic.  

Geo References for: Mauritania

The Mauritanian 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). The upwelling off Mauritania is being described as a wind driven upwelling system restricted to a narrow strip along the coast. It can be separated into two regimes: south of approximately 20ºN upwelling is most pronounced during winter and spring, whereas upwelling north of 20ºN occurs all year round with a maximum intensity in summer and early fall (Mittelstaedt, 1991). The marked seasonality of upwellings and the latitudinal displacement through the Mauritanian and Senegalese coasts, produce important changes in the structure of the biological communities. In short periods (weeks), the system can alternate from a warm equatorial phase to a cold subtropical phase, this deriving in an alternated dominance between tropical and templates communities (Meiners, 2007). Off Cape Blanc the upwelling occurs throughout the year with periods of stronger intensity, while it lasts nine months off Nouakchott.
Vessel Type
Stern trawlers freezer
Flag State
Spain

Average characteristics of these vessels are 32 m length, 245 GRT and 900 h.p.


Catch Handling and Processing Equipment
Freezing. The whole catch is processed onboard. Octopus are eviscerated and divided into commercial categories, depending on their size. Catches are frozen at -40ºC and kept at -25ºC until their landing. Squids and cuttlefishes are directly frozen and sold in different commercial categories according to the length of squids and the weight of cuttlefishes.
Crew
17 persons (2009)
Fleet segment
Bottom otter trawl for cephalopods with 70 mm minimum mesh size.
Fishing Gear
Single boat bottom otter trawls
Bottom trawls-Otter trawls. Gears utilized by freezer trawlers can be prepared either with chains (Spanish trawl) or with bobbins in the footrope (Korean trawl).
Seasonality

November-April and July-August

Environmental limitations: Strong winds in the fishing areas


Trip Duration
50 to 60 days at sea
Ports
Most of the catches are carried out by freezer trawlers, that have the ports of Puerto de la Luz and Las Palmas (in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands) as both base and landing ports (until 2008). However, nowadays most of the landings take place at Nouadhibou (Mauritania) being after transported by freighters to Gran Canaria. Sometimes, the Port of Vigo (Galicia, NW Spain) is used for both functions.
Fishery Indicators
TypeMeasureValueUnitTime period
Nominal EffortNumber of vessels 23vessels2008
ParticipationNumber of fishermen 400persons2009
ProductionCatch 6 300tonnes2004-2008
Post Harvest
 
Fish Utilisation
Consumption and exportation
Markets
EU, Japan and China
Management
Management unit: No

Jurisdictional framework
Management Body/Authority(ies): Ministère des pêches et de l'économie maritime
Mandate: Management.  
Area under national jurisdiction: Mauritania
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: Mauritania
Maritime Area: Exclusive Economic Zone Areas (EEZ).  
Legal definition
Cephalopoders
Management Regime
Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (for the period 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2012) (OJ L 203, 31.07.2008, p. 4–59). Management measures of the Spanish cephalopods trawlers fishery are included in the current Fishery Agreement between the European Community and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (OJ L 203, 31.07.2008, p. 4–59) under the fishing category number 5 “Cephalopoders”.

Fishing agreement expired in July 2012. The new fishing agreement is in the ratification process by the European Parliament.
Management Methods

Conservation and management measures with focus on Effort control (licences system), catch control and fish size limits.

  • Aquatic species-related measures
    Minimum fish size (Squid: 13 cm, cuttlefish: 13 cm and African cuttlefish: 7 cm), minimum fish weight (Octopus: 500 g, eviscerated weight) and limitation of by-catches (5% shrimps).
  • Gear-related measures
    Gear type (doubling of the cod-end prohibited, doubling of the twine forming the cod-end prohibited) and mesh size (minimum 70 mm).
  • Vessel-related measures
    Access control: Vessel size (maximum 13 950 GT authorized tonnage per licence period and for whole the EU fleet).
  • Fishing activity-related measures
    Access by nationality (24 licences for Spain); vessel number (13 950 GT authorized tonnage per licence period and for whole the EU fleet), closed area (out of the fishing area established by the Agreement), and closed season (two periods: May-June and September-October).
Status and Trends
 
This fishery has suffered a strong decay during the last years. Catches have not increased despite the effort reductions and the strong management measures implemented during the last years. These, together with the fact that fishing coasts are significantly increasing, make this fishery little profitable at this moment.
Source of Information
 
Balguerías, E., M.E. Quintero and C.L. Hernández-González, 2000. The origin of the Saharan Bank cephalopod fishery. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 57: 15–23.
Balguerías, C.L. Hernández-González and C. Perales-Raya, 2002. On the identity of Octopus vulgaris Cuvier, 1797 stocks in the Saharan bank (northwest Africa) and their spatio-temporal variations in abundance in relation to some environmental factors. Bulletin of Marine Science, 71(1): 147–163.
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.
FAO, 2006a. Report of the FAO/CECAF Working Group on the Assessment of Demersal resources. Conakry, 19-29 September 2003. CECAF/ECAF Series 06/67. FAO. Rome: 357 pp.
FAO, 2006b. Report of the FAO/CECAF Working Group on the Assessment of Demersal resources. Subgroup North. Saly, Senegal, 14-23 September 2004. CECAF/ECAF Series 06/68. FAO. Rome: 219 pp.
FAO, 2007. Report of the FAO/CECAF Working Group on the Assessment of Demersal resources. Subgroup North. Banjul, The Gambia. CECAF/ECAF Series. FAO. Roma (in press).
Faure,V., C.A. Inejih, H. Demarcq and P. Cury, 2000. The importance of retention processes in upwelling areas for recruitment of Octopus vulgaris: the example of the Arguin Bank (Mauritania). Fish. Oceanogr. 9:4, 343-355.
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. Politécnica de Cataluña.
Mittelstaedt, E., 1991. The ocean boundary along the northwest African coast. Circulation and oceanographic properties at the sea surface. Progress in Oceanography 26, 307–355.
Official Journal of the European Union, 2008. Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania for the period 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2012. OJ L 203, 31.07.2008, p. 4–59.
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