Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Spain Small scale purse seine anchovy fishery - Moroccan Atlantic coast waters, North zone
Fishery  Fact Sheet
CECAF Fisheries Reports 2011
Spain Small scale purse seine anchovy fishery - Moroccan Atlantic coast waters, North zone
Fact Sheet Citation  
Senneurs espagnols dans la zone nord
Owned byFood and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – more>>
Fishery life cycle
The closure period (1999-2006) was due to the absence of fishing agreement.

This fishery terminated on 1999. This fishery started in 2007 and terminated on 2011.

Overview: The Barbate’s purse seine fleet was included into the fihing categories called: “Seiners-Northern Cape Noun/North Atlantic/North” of the different agreements. The management measures of this Andalusian purse seine fleet regulated by the agreements mainly consist on an effort control (through GRTs limitations) and technical measures such as the limitation of the fishing areas, close seasons and gear size. Anchovy is the target species of this fleet in the Atlantic Moroccan fishing ground, due to its high economical value. This species accounted for 80% of the total catches for this fleet. Sardine (Sardina pilchardus) represents the second species in landings, accounting for less than 20% of the landings in most of the years. The rest of the species shows a low relative importance in landings. These species belong, in order of importance, to the groups Trachurus spp. and Scomber spp. A sharp increase of landings and exerted effort took place in the last four years before the end of the Agreement, reaching the maximum values in 1999. In fact, such peaks corresponded to an important decrease of the anchovy landings in the Gulf of Cadiz that year, the alternative fishing ground for the Barbate’s fleet. The landings of this fleet, after its re-incorporation in 2007 have only represented the 6 percent of the 1999 landings although by exerting the 22 percent of the effort applied that year.

Location of Spain Small scale purse seine anchovy fishery - Moroccan Atlantic coast waters, North zone

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

Fishing Activity
Fishing Gear: Purse seines
Type of production system: Commercial; Semi-industrial
Fishery Area: Morocco Atlantic coast - North Zone; Morocco; Atlantic, East …

Seasonality: From April to November

Harvested Resource
Target Species: European anchovy
Associated Species: European pilchard(=Sardine); Scomber mackerels nei; Jack and horse mackerels nei

Means of Production
Vessel Type: Purse seiners
Fishery Indicators
Nominal Effort: Number of vessels
Participation: Number of fishermen
Production: Landing Volume Total; Landing Volume…

The fishery of small pelagic species such as anchovy and sardine in Northern Morocco has been a common practice during centuries for vessels coming from the Southern region of the Iberian Peninsula. The enforcement of the Law of the Sea firstly led to the Spanish Fishery Administration and then to the EU (from 1988 onwards) to negotiate the access to the Moroccan fishery resources through fishing agreements. Fisheries in Morocco were closed to the European fleet by the end of November 1999. After six years of closure, a new fishing agreement signed in 2006 between the Kingdom of Morocco and the EU has allowed the Andalusian purse-seine fleet based at Barbate (Cádiz, S Iberian Peninsula) to re-start its fishery in the Atlantic Moroccan waters in April 2007.
Fishing Activity
Type of production system: Commercial; Semi-industrial   

Fishery Area
Climatic zone: Temperate.   Depth zone: Shelf (50 m - 200 m); Slope - Upperslope (200 m - 500 m).   Horizontal distribution: Neritic.   Vertical distribution: Pelagic.  

Geo References for: Morocco Atlantic coast - North Zone

Details on depth zone: Shelf from 50 m to 300 m.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 kilometers offshore. Both upwelling intensity and filament activity are dependent on the strength of the summer Trades (Freudenthal et al., 2002).
Related Fisheries - Fishery(ies) switching activity seasonally or targeting the same stock
Morocco Coastal traditional purse seine sardine fishery - Northern zone
Morocco Coastal traditional purse seine sardine fishery - A zone
Vessel Type
Purse seiners
Flag State

Purse seiners. The average characteristics in the period 2007-2008 were19 m length, 47.5 GRT and 366 h.p.
15 persons (Spanish and Moroccan nationalities) (2009)
Fisherfolks Community
Barbate (Cádiz, Andalucía, S Iberian Peninsula) and Moroccan community
Fleet segment
Purse seine for small pelagic fish

The vessels which have usually been benefited from the Morocco fishery licences belong to a fleet segment of heavy-tonnage purse-seiners based at Barbate (Cádiz, S Iberian Peninsula), the so called Barbate’s “Traíñas”. These vessels have traditionally alternated the small pelagics fishery (mainly anchovy) in the North West Moroccan fishing ground and that in the Spanish waters off the Gulf of Cádiz (Millán, 1992). The Barbate’s purse seine fleet was included into the categories called: “Seiners-Northern Cape Noun/North Atlantic/North” of the different agreements.
Fishing Gear
Purse seines
Surrounding nets with purse lines (purse seines). The gear is locally called “traiña”. The main body-net is composed of a number of long and rectangular sheet nets, horizontally delimited thought all its length by resistant net strips. The net is vertically kept through a lead-line in the ground-rope and a buoyed line in the head-rope. The purse line, locally called “jareta”, closes the seine when the fish school is surrounded, forming a big bag with the catches inside. They used to attract the schools by using powerful lights that increased the fishing efficiency.
From April to November
Trip Duration
1 fishing day
Barbate (Cádiz, S Iberian Peninsula)
Fishery Indicators
TypeMeasureValueUnitTime period
Nominal EffortNumber of vessels 19vessels2007-2009
ParticipationNumber of fishermen 300persons2007-2009
ProductionLanding Volume Total1265tonnes2007-2009
Landing Volume E. encrasicolus904tonnes2007-2009
Landing Volume S. pilchardus331tonnes2007-2009
Post Harvest
Fish Utilisation
Fresh and salted anchovy for consumption
Barbate (Cádiz, Spain)
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
Small-scale fishing/north: pelagic species
Management Regime
Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Communities and the Kingdom of Morocco (OJ L 141, 29.5.2006, p. 1–37).

Management measures of the Spanish purse seine fishery are included in the last Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco (2006) into the fishing category “Small-scale fishing/north: pelagic species”.
Management Methods

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

  • Gear-related measures
    Gear dimension (maximum authorised dimensions of the seine net: 500 m × 90 m) and ban on fishing with “lampara” nets.
  • Vessel-related measures
    Access control: vessel size (< 100 GT)
  • Fishing activity-related measures
    Licences, Vessel number (20), closed area (out of the area North of 34º18' and beyond 2 miles) and closed season (Two months: February and March).
Related Fisheries - Fishing activity(ies) managed under the same management unit or being ruled by the same fishing agreement
Spain Bottom wet fish trawler black hake fishery - Moroccan Atlantic coast waters, South 29°N
Status and Trends
The fishery was closed during the period 1999-2006. After the agreement renewal in 2007, it has been appreciated a drop in catches, in comparison to those before 1999. This lower catches are attributed to the geographical limitations of the new fishing agreement.
Source of Information
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.
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.
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.
FAO, 2008. Report of the FAO Working Group on the Assessment of Small Pelagic Fish off Northwest Africa. Saly, Senegal, 6–15 May 2008. CECAF/ECAF Series. FAO. Roma (in press).
FAO, 2009. Report of the FAO Working Group on the Assessment of Small Pelagic Fish off Northwest Africa. Nouakchott, Mauritania, 21-30 April 2009 . CECAF/ECAF Series. FAO. Roma (in press).
García-Isarch, E., M. Millán, F. Ramos, M.T.G. Santamaría and C. Burgos, 2009. Recent past and present of the Spanish fishery of anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) in Atlantic Moroccan waters. In: Symposium Science and the challenge of managing small pelagic fisheries on shared stocks in Northwest Africa. 11–14 March 2008, Casablanca, Morocco. (Manuscript submitted).
Ramos, F., P. Abaunza, M. Millán, E. García-Isarch y M.T.G. Santamaría, 2008. Investigations on anchovy (Engraulis Encrasicolus Linnaeus, 1758) by the IEO (Instituto Español de Oceanografía) in the Northern and Central Easthern Atlantic. Working Group on Anchovy – Scientific Committee Morocco-EU. Nantes (France), 20-24 October, 2008.
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.
Pascual-Alayón, P., M.T.G. Santamaría, A. Sancho, V. Duque, E. Hernández, L. Bravo de Laguna and E. García-Isarch, 2008. Spanish Report on the activity of European pelagic trawlers fishing in Mauritania and landing in the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. In: Eighth Meeting of the FAO Working Group on the Assessment of Small Pelagic Fish off Northwest Africa. Saly, Senegal, 6–15 May 2008.
Millán, M., 1992. Descripción de la pesquería de cerco en la región Suratlántica española y Atlántico-Norte marroquí. Informe Técnico del Instituto Español de Oceanografía, 136: 70 pp.
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