Report of the Working Group on Anchovy and Sardine (WGANSA)
The Working Group on Anchovy and Sardine (WGANSA) met 15-20 June 2009. The
main task was to assess the state of the stock and to provide short term predictions
for the stocks of Anchovy in Subarea VIII and in Division IXa, and for Sardine in Divisions
VIIIc and IXa. All assessments were updates of previous assessments.
In addition, the group considered the possibility of making future assessments for the
Sardine in Divisions VIIIa,b and possibly parts of Subarea VII.
The Anchovy in Subarea VIII is still recruiting poorly. Despite an increasing contribution
to the SSB by ages 2 and 3 which likely is related to the closure of the fishery, no
good recruitment occurred in 2009. The stock is close to its historical low and the
fishery is closed. Reasons for the failure are not known, despite extensive investigations.
The information on the Anchovy in Division IXa, where the Gulf of Cadiz is the main
fishing area, is limited, and no analytic assessment can be done. The available catch
and survey data give no indications of major changes in the state of the stock. The
catches were reduced last year due to redirection of effort.
The Iberian Sardine has had a series of poor year classes since 2005. The stock is still
near the long term average, but is expected to decline unless a new strong year class
appears. The stock probably is lightly exploited, but maintaining catches at the current
level would imply increasing fishing mortalities.
Sardine also appears to the North of the assessment area, in the Bay of Biscay, Celtic
sea, and Western Channel, and the southern North sea. There is no request for advise
for sardine in that area at present, but the WG has collected relevant information
from the Bay of Biscay (catch numbers at age and acoustic survey estimates) over
some years. An assessment tool (TASACS) was used this year to analyze the data and
to clarify shortcomings in the available information. The catch data series is still very
short, and there are some strong year effects in the survey, probably due to inadequate
coverage in time and space in some years. An analytic assessment as basis for
advice should be possible within a few years if data continue to be collected.
Extending the survey coverage into the Celtic Sea and English Channel and ageing of
catches taken off those waters is recommended.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee