Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Marine resources - Northern Area of the Eastern Central Atlantic
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
Review of the state of world marine fishery resources 2005
Marine resources - Northern Area of the Eastern Central Atlantic
Fact Sheet Citation  
Toutes Ressources dans la zone Nord Atlantique Centre Est (Zone Statistique FAO 34) 35°45''-12°18
Owned byFood and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – More
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Species: Aquatic species
Geographic extent of Marine resources - Northern Area of the Eastern Central Atlantic
Main Descriptors
Considered a single stock: Yes        Spatial Scale: Regional
Reference year: 2004
Biological State and Trend

In general most of the demersal resources offNorthwest Africa are considered fully to overexploited (FAO, 2003c; FAO, 2004a, b).

Hakes (Merluccius spp.) on the Mauritaniacontinental shelf have been considered fullyexploited. Amongst the other finfish resourcesassessed, the stock of Epinephelus aeneus wasfound to be at particular risk, and immediateaction is called for (FAO, 2003c).
Common octopus

Three stocks of common octopus (Octopusvulgaris) are caught by the Northwest Africancephalopod fisheries, namely Dakhla, Cape Blancand Senegambia stocks. Both the northern one,off Dahkla and the central one off Cape Blanc,are considered overexploited with recent catchesaround 50 000t for the Dahkla stock and 19 000tfor the Cape Blanc stock. The state of thesouthern stock off Senegal and the Gambia isuncertain. Catches of this stock are lower thanthose of the two other (FAO, 2003c).
Other cephalopods

The exploitation of other species of cephalopods,such as squids (Loligo vulgaris) and cuttlefish(Sepia officinalis), is less intense than that ofoctopus: their catches account for 30 percent ofthe cephalopods landed in 2002. Catches landingsof octopus and associated by-catch species fromthe Northwest African cephalopod fisheries haveshifted during recent years from Las Palmas,Canary Islands, to other ports in NorthwestAfrica. Management measures taken inMoroccan exclusive economic zone (EEZ)include a two month closed season and areduction in the number of non-Moroccan vesselsoperating in the area.
Deep-sea shrimp

The 2002 catches of deep-sea shrimp(Parapenaeus longirostris) and shallow watershrimp (Penaeus notialis) in the North CECAFarea are around 18 000t, and the stocks seem tobe intensely exploited or even overexploited(FAO, 2003c).

In the Mauritania area, pink spiny lobster(Panulirus mauritanicus) stocks continue to beheavily exploited. Northern and southern stocksof green lobsters (Panulirus regius) are probablyoverexploited (FAO, 2003b).
Deep sea crab

Stocks of deep-seacrab (Chaceon maritae) seem to be heavilyexploited.

The biomasses of the large stocks of smallpelagic in the North CECAF region – sardine(Sardina pilchardus), sardinella (Sardinellaaurita and Sardinella maderensis), chubmackerel (Scomber japonicus) and horsemackerel (Trachurus spp.) – are highly variable.
Small pelagic

Acoustic surveys carried out off NorthwestAfrica in November-December during the period1995-2002 showed that the school density ofsmall pelagic (mainly sardinella, sardineexcluded) was very high, particularly offMauritania, with a biomass estimated at about3.5 million tonnes. In addition, the biomassestimated by acoustic surveys for mackerel, horsemackerel and other small pelagic in the areabetween Morocco and Senegal was around2 million tonnes in the November-Decembercruises carried out during the period 1995–2002(FAO, 2003a).

The sardine biomass estimated by acousticmethods in the region situated to the North ofCape Blanc showed an 80 percent decrease from1996 to 1997. Sardine biomass in North of CapeBlanc and Mauritanian waters was estimated torange between 3 and 5 million tonnes during theperiof 1986–1996. Since 1999, biomass in thisregion has gradually increased, being estimated atclose to 4.5 million tonnes as of December 2002.The Spanish and USSR fleets ceased fishing inMoroccan waters after the Morocco-USSR andMorocco-EU fishing agreements were notrenewed (1998). Overall, the exploitation rate isconsidered to have decreased as a result, butsardine is also exploited in Mauritanian waters(FAO, 2003a).

The combined catch of small pelagics inNorthwest Africa should not be increased abovethe average of the last 5 years, excluding thesardine in Zone C (Sardina pilchardus), (FAO2004a). The different species groups ofsardinella, horse mackerels and mackerels areintensively exploited (FAO, 2004a).
Habitat and Biology
Bottom type: Unspecified.   Depth zone: Unspecified.   Horizontal distribution: Unspecified.   Vertical distribution: Unspecified.  

Geographical Distribution
Jurisdictional distribution: Unspecified

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Regional

Geo References
Resource Structure
Considered a single stock: Yes
Source of information
FAO Marine Resources Service, Fishery Resources Division. “Review of the state of world marine fishery resources” FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 457. Rome, FAO. 2005. 235p. Click to open

The bibliographic references are available through the hyperlink displayed in "Source of Information".
“FAO Review of the status of marine resources 1998” 1899-12-30 FAO R.R. FAO.
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