Azores ecoregion – fisheries overview
The majority of the fisheries in the Azores ecoregion are targeted by Azorean vessels. Only a small proportion of catch is taken by surface longliners from mainland Portugal and Spain targeting swordfish and blue shark. The fisheries are classified as small scale because around 60% of the vessels are under nine metres in length and target many different species. The most important targets are tuna and tuna-like species (in weight), deep-water demersal species (in value), and small pelagic species. The most important fishing methods are handline and bottom longline, followed by pole and line (bait boats). Surface longline is also used but mainly by non-regional vessels that operate outside a 100‑nautical‑mile area. The Azores Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is recognized as a no‑take area for nets (including a trawl ban) excluding a few small coastal gillnets and purse‑seiners for small pelagics.
Fisheries in the ecoregion are managed under the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), with some fisheries managed by the North‑East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), and national Portugal and regional Azores governments.
The status of the 12 stocks in this ecoregion assessed by ICES remain unknown. These stocks are considered as
data‑limited and are managed following the precautionary approach (category 3–5 stocks).
Supporting data used in the Azores ecoregion fisheries overview is accessible at https://doi.org/10.17895/ices.advice.21641423