Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Marine resources - Northern Area of the Eastern Central Atlantic
Fact Sheet Title  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) – ownership
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Species List: Aquatic species
ident Block Marine resources - Northern Area of the Eastern Central Atlantic
Aq Res
Biological Stock: Yes         Value: Regional
Reference year: 2004
Aq Res State Trend

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

Hakes (Merluccius spp.) on the Mauritania continental shelf have been considered fully exploited. Amongst the other finfish resources assessed, the stock of Epinephelus aeneus was found to be at particular risk, and immediate action is called for (FAO, 2003c).
Common octopus

Three stocks of common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) are caught by the Northwest African cephalopod fisheries, namely Dakhla, Cape Blanc and Senegambia stocks. Both the northern one, off Dahkla and the central one off Cape Blanc, are considered overexploited with recent catches around 50 000t for the Dahkla stock and 19 000t for the Cape Blanc stock. The state of the southern stock off Senegal and the Gambia is uncertain. Catches of this stock are lower than those 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 of octopus: their catches account for 30 percent of the cephalopods landed in 2002. Catches landings of octopus and associated by-catch species from the Northwest African cephalopod fisheries have shifted during recent years from Las Palmas, Canary Islands, to other ports in Northwest Africa. Management measures taken in Moroccan exclusive economic zone (EEZ) include a two month closed season and a reduction in the number of non-Moroccan vessels operating in the area.
Deep-sea shrimp

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

In the Mauritania area, pink spiny lobster (Panulirus mauritanicus) stocks continue to be heavily exploited. Northern and southern stocks of green lobsters (Panulirus regius) are probably overexploited (FAO, 2003b).
Deep sea crab

Stocks of deep-sea crab (Chaceon maritae) seem to be heavily exploited.

The biomasses of the large stocks of small pelagic in the North CECAF region – sardine (Sardina pilchardus), sardinella (Sardinella aurita and Sardinella maderensis), chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus) and horse mackerel (Trachurus spp.) – are highly variable.
Small pelagic

Acoustic surveys carried out off Northwest Africa in November-December during the period 1995-2002 showed that the school density of small pelagic (mainly sardinella, sardine excluded) was very high, particularly off Mauritania, with a biomass estimated at about 3.5 million tonnes. In addition, the biomass estimated by acoustic surveys for mackerel, horse mackerel and other small pelagic in the area between Morocco and Senegal was around 2 million tonnes in the November-December cruises carried out during the period 1995–2002 (FAO, 2003a).

The sardine biomass estimated by acoustic methods in the region situated to the North of Cape Blanc showed an 80 percent decrease from 1996 to 1997. Sardine biomass in North of Cape Blanc and Mauritanian waters was estimated to range between 3 and 5 million tonnes during the periof 1986–1996. Since 1999, biomass in this region has gradually increased, being estimated at close to 4.5 million tonnes as of December 2002. The Spanish and USSR fleets ceased fishing in Moroccan waters after the Morocco-USSR and Morocco-EU fishing agreements were not renewed (1998). Overall, the exploitation rate is considered to have decreased as a result, but sardine is also exploited in Mauritanian waters (FAO, 2003a).

The combined catch of small pelagics in Northwest Africa should not be increased above the average of the last 5 years, excluding the sardine in Zone C (Sardina pilchardus), (FAO 2004a). The different species groups of sardinella, horse mackerels and mackerels are intensively exploited (FAO, 2004a).
Habitat Bio
Bottom Type: Unspecified.   Depth Zone: Unspecified.   Horizontal Dist: Unspecified.   Vertical Dist: Unspecified.  

Geo Dist
Geo Dist: Unspecified

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Regional

Water Area Overview
Aq Res Struct
Biological Stock: Yes
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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