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Details on the fisheries in each division are given below.

6.1 Statistical division 34.1.1

6.1.1 Portugal Fishing grounds

Before 1975–1976, Portugal fished mainly in divisions 34.1.3 and 34.3.1, along the coasts of Morocco and Mauritania.

After 1975–1976, these fishing areas were abandoned and fishing was concentrated in division 34.1.1. Fishing seasons

No seasonal patterns are noticeable. and fishing takes place all year round. Fleet composition and its characteristics

Until 1975–1976 the fleet consisted of trawlers; with a maximum number of 40–50. After 1975–1976, the fishing division 34.1.1 has been by 50 “artisanal” fishing vessels, with an aerage length of < 20 m. The duration pf oyage for these vessels in 5–7 days. Gear and mesh size used

Before 1975–1976 the trawl was used. Depth limits are not known. The catches were landed in Lisbon, and the mesh size was 60 mm. After 1975–1976 gillnets and longlines have been used, fishing in depths of 200–300 m and landing their catches in Lisbon, Olhano and Peniche. The gillnets consist of 20–30 pieces, each about 100 m long. The number of hooks per longline is not known but the hook size is directed towards catching individuals fo 20–25 cm. Target species and by–catch

Until 1975–1976 the target species was hake (Merluccius sp.) and Sparidae and Sciaenidae were taken as by–catch.

After 1975–1976 Pomadasyidae (Plectorthynchus mediterraneum), Sparidae and Sciaenidae have been cught. Lima Dias (Table 2 and Appendix 8) gives the landings of the Portuguese fishery by gear by species (Group F) for 1984, division 34.1.1. It should be noted that data from the trawl fishery are valid for the Moroccan/Portuguese joint ventures.

6.1.2 Statistics of Portugal

Lima Dias (Appendix 8, Table 2) gives the catch by species, from 1949–1984 for the whole CECAF region. It should be noted that before 1975– 1976, The catches were made mainly in division 34.1.4, but after 1975–1976 they were made in division 34.1.1.

Lima Dias (Appendix 8, Table 3) lists further details of catches by species from 1979 to 1984 for division 34.1.1. The third part of this Table describes the landings at Madeira of Trachurus sp., Thunnidae, Lepidopus sp. and Scomber sp. Morocco/Portugal joint ventures

The fishing grounds and seasons are not known and the vessels operated in both divisions 34.1.1 and 34.1.3 from Agadir to Cape Bojador.

Table 48 presents the number of fishing vessels and their characteristics.

The gear used is the trawl, but the mesh size is not known.

There are no data about target species or by–catch.

The fish are landed in Lisbon and in Morocco, and the landings in Portugal for the period 1982–1984 are shown below in tonnes.


6.1.3 Morocco Fishing grounds (Figure 5)

Trawling takes place in the northern sector from Tangiers to El Jadida and also in the southern zone from Agadir to Cape Juby, in depths up to 200 m. Longlining/gillnetting is done in rocky areas in the central zone from El Jadida to Cape Ghir, and between Cape Draa and Cape Juby.

During bad weather the vessels operate in depths up to 20 m and in good weather in depths up to 80–100 m. Exceptionally they fish in depths up to 150 m.

The artisanal fishery operates all along the coast in depths of 20– 25 m. Fishing seasons

For the trawlers there is no fishing season, but some vessels change their method of fishing seasonally. In winter they fish for 3–4 months with trawls whilst for the rest of the year; fishing is for sardines, with purse seines. This phenomenon is limited to the zone between El jadida and Casablanca.

The longliners/gillnetters and the artisanal fishery fish all the year round, except during bad weather. There is some information about fishing seasons in Table 49.

For the artisanal fishery, the words “target species” are not appropriate, but Table 49 indicates the main species caught. Fleet composition and its characteristics

The composition of the fleet is given in Table 47, and some information on Moroccan trawlers is given in Table 48. Gear and mesh size used

The trawl fishery uses a 40 mm mesh size, whilst the gillnetters use gillnets with a mesh size of 70–75 mm. Other gears include the “trémail” (mesh size not known), the longline and, in some cases, traps for lobsters. Target species and by–catch

The trawl fishery fishes principally for hake (Merluccius sp.) and shrimp, and the Sparidae are a by–catch. Table 51 gives the catches by species, for all gears combined as from 1984. The catch by species by fishing gear is also available for the port of Casablanca.

The longliners/gillnetters land the species listed in Table 50 and the species composition of the sparidae component of these landings is indicated in Table 51.

For the artisanal fishery, the words “target species” are not appropriate but Table 49 indicates the main species caught. Moroccan statistics

Table 51 Presents the total landings of demersal fish in Morocco, amounting to 24 422 T in 1984. Of this, the Sparidae represent 5 133 t (21%), whilst hake (Merluccius sp.) amounts to 1 630t (7%).

Table 52 presents data on the landings from 1972 to 1984, by species groups, from division 34.1.1, for all vessels except the artisanal fishery.

Table 53 gives, for four main species, the monthly landings, in 1984, from division 34.1.1, and from this the seasonal pattern may be inferred.

For 1984, effort data are available for the Port of Casablanca, by vessel type, expressed as number of trips.

6.1.4 Spain Fishing grounds

The fishing grounds are not known exactly. Some trawlers use a 40 mm mesh size and operate in depths of 150–300 m, which is deeper than the water fished by Moroccan trawlers. Other trawlers (Trio, 60 mm) fish with 60 mm mesh size in depths up to 500 m depth. Fishing seasons

No data available. Fleet composition and characteristics

During the first half of 1984, 306 fishing trawlers and 139 other vessels were observed (CECAF/TECH/84/61, Spanish Progress Report, Table 1). Gear and mesh size used

Some trawlers use 40 mm mesh size and others use 60 mm (Trio). Target species and by-catch

The trawlers that use 40 mm mesh size fish principally for shrimp, and hake (Merluccius sp.) is considered as a by-catch.

For trawlers that use 60 mm mesh size (Trio) the Sparidae in the landings represent about 7% of the total catch (Thiam, Appendix 7, Table 4).

6.1.5 Vessel of other nationalities

The members of the Working Group thought it unlikely that there had been significant fishing by vessels of other nationalities in division 34.1.1. There are no data to confirm or refute this view.

6.2 Statistical division 34.1.2

6.2.1 Spain (Canary Islands)

Fishing for seabreams in this division is concentrated around the Canary Islands. The fishery, which has a long history, uses small artisanal boats (3–5 m long with engine of 3–15 HP) to catch demeersal species. Seabreams form an important precentage of the catch of these boats, most of which are not equipped with navigational equipment. On average each boat has a crew of three. Fishing grounds

Vessels are limited in their operation and mainly fish very close inshore around the islands. They normally do not carry ice, and most of them leave port in the early hours of the morning and return by mid-day. Fishing gears

A variety of gears is used, the most important being as follows:

  1. Handlines: Sparids caught with this gear include “bocinegro” (Sparus pagrus) “chopa” (Spondyliosoma cantharus), “sama” (Dentex spp.), “sargo” (Diplodus spp.) and “satio” (Diplodus vulgaris).

  2. Pole and line : these mainly operate in shallow waters for “bocinegro” (Sparus pagrus), “saitio” (Diplodus vulgaris) and “chopa” (SSpondyliosoma cantharus).

  3. Longlines : longlines are used to catch “bocinegro” (Sparus pagrus), “breca” (Pagellus erythrinus) and “sama” (Dentex spp.)

  4. Traps : various shapes and sizes of traps are operated by artisanal vessels for “chopa” (Spondyliosoma cantharus), “bocinegro” (Sparus pagrus), “sama” (Dentex spp.) and “breca” (Pagellus erythrinus).

  5. Set gillnets : these nets commonly called “trasmallo” in the islands are used for catching “salema” (Sarpa salpa), “boci negro” (Sparus pagrus) and “breca” (Pagellus erythrinus).

  6. Small purse seiners (salemera) : these are mainly used to catch “salema” (Sarpa salma).

  7. Beach seines : these catch a variety of species, the most impor tant being “boga” (Boops hoops), “besugo” (Pagellus acarne), “salema” (Sarpa salpa), and “chopa” (Spondyliosoma cantharus).

6.2.2 Other fleets

Other fleets, including Korean, Soviet, Portuguese (artisanal) and Spanish vessels also fish demersal land pelagic fish in the area.

6.3 Statistical division 34.1.3

In CECAF Statistical Division 34.1.3, several fleets exploit the sparid resources, either as target species or as by-catches. Polish, Spanish, Soviet German Democratic Republic, Romanian, Ghanaian, Moroccan, Korean, Portuguese, Japanese, Mauritanian and some other fleets have operated in this zone and some other continue to do so.

6.3.1 Ghanaian trawl fishery in CECAF statistical division 34.1.3 and 34.3.1

Seven Ghanaian stern trawlers operated on the West African shelf between Cape Verde and Cape Bojador from 1964 to 1967. Good catches were obtained off Cape Bojador, Arguin Bank and St Louis. Trawling operations were carried out between 35 and 70 m depth (Zei and Ansa-Emmim, 1970).

6.3.2 Pollish trawl fleet

The Polish trawl fleet operated in the CECAF area in the period 1963– 1981. From 1963 to 1968, sparids were the target species of this fishery. In 1967, the territorial waters of the coastal countries were increased to 12 nm. Mackerel and horse mackerel then became the target species, but sparids continued to be exploited. After the introduction of the EEZs in 1972/1973 the catches of Spari dae diminished and sardine and sardinella became target species.

Research activities were carried out on board the fishing vessel MT RAMADA, which carried out 3 cruises in 1967 between Cape Bojador and the Kayar trench (Klimaj, 1970). A total of 333 bottom trawl hauls were made between 18 and 220 m depth, resulting in 2516 T of fish. Yields ranged from 5.2 to 11 T per haul. Sparus caeruleostictus, Dentex macrophtalmus and Dentex gobbosus werethe predominant Sparidae in the catches.

6.3.3 Moroccan trawl fleet

Since 1979, the Moroccan trawl fleet has exploited the cephalopod and sparid resources South of Cape Bojador. In 1979, 39 freezer trawlers were fishing in statistical division 34.1.3 and since then the number of trawlers has increased to 149 in 1984. All trawlers are based at Las Palmas where all catches are landed. In 1979, a total catch of almost 6 000 T was recorded. The total catch increased annually up to 78 000 T in 1984. The evolution of the freezer-trawler fleet is presented in Table 56.

There are also Moroccan trawlers carrying ice, and longliners that fish around Cape Bojador. The target species are Sciaenidae, Congridae and Squalidae which are landed in Agadir. Sparids are taken as a by-catch. The characteristics of this fleet are given in Table 57.

6.3.4 Fishing fleets operating in Mauritanian waters (division 34.1.3 and 34.3.1)


From 1974 to 1978, a fleet of small ice-carrying trawlers operated in Mauritania, supplying the fish processing plants in Nouadhibou. Freezer-trawlers exploited the Mauritanian waters until 1980, and are recorded as starting fishing again in May 1982. It is believed that Sovietvessels have continuously fished the northern part of the West African coast, but the Working Group does not have details of their distribution in all years. The effort of Soviet vessels has not been directed at cephalopods as in the case of the Korean and Japanese, although this tendency changed in 1983/1984.


A uniform fleet of small Libyan trawlers (280 GRT, 750 HP) has been active since 1979 as the result of fishing agreements and charter contracts. Their activity in Mauritania stopped in 1985.


The Japanese fleet of freezer trawlers and trawlers carrying ice operated in Mauritania waters from 1970 to 1979 and from 1981 to 1983. The freezer trawlers operated off Cape Timiris and also South of this Cape, while the smaller ice carrying trawlers frequented mainly the area between Cape Blanc and Cape Timiris.


From 1976, Korean trawlers started to replace the Japanese in the fishery for cephalopods. The high yields of this fleet compare favourably with those of other fleets due to the fact that two trawls are fished alternately, resulting in a very effective use of fishing time.


Since the 1950's a Portuguese fleet has been fishing in Mauritanian waters working on the difficult fishing grounds of the Arguin Bank and off Cape Timiris. The target apecies are sparids, mullets, flatfish, lobster and shrimps, with cephalopods as a by-catch.

The Portuguese fleet has been affected in recent years, by the non-renewal of licences and because of a decline in the target apecies. In 1982/1983, a new fleet started operating , fishing for traditional species using long-lines and set nets.


The Spanish fleet used to be the most important one fishing in Mauritanian waters, fishing initially for seabreams and other species. Later the fleet directed its activities towards cephalopods, although a part of the fleet fishes for hake and deepwater shrimp on the continental slope.


The Italian fleet has exploited the continental shelf for sparids and sharks (Mustelus). Italian vessels stopped fishing in 1979.


The Greek vessels that were present in 1979, fishing for sparids, sharks and shrimps, all left Mauritanian waters at the end of that year.


One Mauritanian vessel started fishing in 1980 and since then the fleet has increased up to 26 vessels fishing in 1984. The Mauritanian industrial fleet is based at Nouadhibou and consists of ice carrying trawlers fishing for cephalopods in the Northern part of Mauritania. Sparids are taken as a by-catch.

Due to their small size, these vessels cannot go very far, but exploit the waters South of the Bay of Levrier, the western edge of the Arguin Bank and the waters between the Bank and the mainland. These grounds were abandoned by Spanish trawlers in 1972/1973 and gave high yields when they were exploited again.

Other fleets

Three Algerian and four Romanian ice carrying trawlers were chartered by Mauritanian fish-processing plants in 1982. Six vessels from the German Democratic Republic were charted in the period 1982/1984.

6.3.5 Statistical division 34.1.3

The Spanish vessels which fish for sparids either as target group or as a by-catch fall into 4 groups. These are :

artisanal Vessels.

The ice-carrying trawlers for cephalopods are based at Malaga, Algeciras and Puerto de Sta Meria. Average vessel characterstics are: 125 GRT, 390 HP and 22 m oerall length. Their catches consist mainly of cephalopods, flatfish and hake, with sparids representing about 6% of the total catch.

The ice carrying trawlers with hake as a target species are based in Cadiz. These vessels use a mesh size of 60 mm, and consist of trawlers with an average length of 33 m, 260 GRT and 830 HP. Merluccius senegalensis represented 80% and the seabreams 6 to 10% of the total landings in the period July 1981-December 1983.

The fleet of freezer trawlers which exploits cephalopods is based in Las Palmas. Their average size is 33 m, average capacity 255 GRT and the average engine power 840 HP. Between Cape Bojador (26°N) and Nouakchott (18°N), three fishing areas are distinguished in depths up to 250 m. These are: the area between Cape Bojador and Cape Barbas (23°30'N), the grounds between Cape Blanc (21°N) and Cape Timiris (19°30'N) and the area off Nouakchott between 18° and 19°N. Of the total landings only 1% is represented by Sparidae.

The artisanal fleet includes all the boats that fish with pole and line, bottom longline, gillnet, hook and line, traps and set nets.

The pole and line fishermen fish for tuna-like species and those using gillnets fish for hake. They do not catch important quantities of sparids.

That part of the artisanal fleet that operates hook and line, traps and setnets from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Arrecife de Lanzarote is the only fleet in statistical division 34.1.3 which has one or more representatives of the family of paridae as target species.

The composition of the artisanal fleet is presented in Table 59. Since 1975, the total number of vessels decreased considerably from 125 m in 1975 to 57 m in 1981, but increased in 1982 to 70. The tonnage and engine power of the vessels is between 3.2 and 119 GRT and 18 and 380 HP respectively. The length of the vessels varies between 6.9 and 27 m; the mean total length was 13 m in 1975 and increased to 16 m in 1976, since which time, the average length has stayed the same.

The following gears are used : hook and line, traps, a combination of hook and line and traps, and setnets. Lines are usually provided with No. 5 hooks. Setnets have a length of about 500 m and a depth of 5.5 m , while the mesh is 160 mm. Traps usually have one or two entrance funnels with a diameter of 25 cm and a mesh size between 3 and 10 cm. The fishing time varies between a quarter of an hour and three hours.

In order to catch bait-fish small purse seines are operated. Normally, the sardine (Sardina pilchardus) and the mackerel (Scomber japonicus) are used as bait, and the target species are mainly Argyrosomus regius and Plectorhynchus mediterraneus. Fishermen operating hook and line fish mainly for sparids. Some 70% of the trap catches consist of Spondyliosoma cantharus but another target species is Diplodus vulgaris.

The artisanal fleet operates between Cape Bojador and Cape Blanc and work untrawlable rocky grounds at depths up to 100 m. The three major fishing grounds are shown in Figure 7.

The grounds around Cape Bojador are rich in Spondyliosoma cantharus and are exploited by trap fishermen and most fishermen who are based in Arrecife. The characteristics of their boats prevent them from going further to the South. The area between Point Leven and Cape Barbas is preferred by the fishermen operating the hook and line and/or traps and hook and line. The main species caught are Dentex gibbosus and D. Canariensis. Off Cape Blanc, Argyrosomus regius and Epinephelus aeneus are abundant, and on these grounds the setnets are operated.

6.4 Statistical division 34.3.1

Statistical division 34.3.1 covers the geographical area between 9° and 19°N, including part of the Mauritanian waters (South of Cape Timiris), the whole of Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and the Republic of Guinea.

6.4.1 Guinea Bissau and Guinea

Very few data were available to the Working Group on the demersal fisheries in Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry, where Soviet trawlers of small and medium size operate. In Conakry, the annual demersal landings of the Soviet fleet are of the order of 10 000 t. Foreign vessels are thought to catch annually off Guinea Conakry about 90 000 of valuable demersal fish (Everett, Roest and Tavares, 1985). In both countries, artisanal fisheries exist, but mostly concentrate on the capture of pelagic species like Sardinella maderensis and Ethmalosa.

6.4.2 Mauritania

In Mauritania, both artisanal and industrial fisheries exist. For the artisanal fisheries, mostly concentrated around Nouakchott (34.3.1) and Nouadhibou (34.1.3), frame survey results are available for 1982 and 1984. These are summarized in FAO (1984a). Between 1982 and 1984, the number of recorded artisanal vessels increased from 542 and 642 and the number of fishermen from 1738 to 1909. Only some of these, however, catch demersal species. The industrial demersal trawl fishery in Mauritania is mainly directed towards the catch of cephalopods, and most of the catch is taken in CECAF statistical division 34.1.3 around Cape Blanc. A minor stock of Octopus is however present South of Cape Timiris (34.3.1). Details of number of vessels and their catches are available in FAO (in press), but these are not presented by statistical division. Sparids constitute a by-catch of this fishery, representing in 1981, 1982 and 1983 percentages of the total demersal catch of 24%, 6% and 11% respectively. Since 1981, almost all foreign vessels taking part in this fishery were chartered and the companies obliged to land their total demersal catch at Nouadhibou. Since 1984, there has been a considerable decrease in the number of foreign vessels, the demersal fisheries being reserved for nationals.

Romanian pelagic trawlers operating in Mauritanian waters, and specializing on catches of horse mackerel, had about 3% of sparidae in their total landing in 1981 and 1982 (Staicu and Maxim, 1983).

Before the declaration of the 200 miles exclusive economic zones in the late seventies foreign fleets were active in statistical division 34.3.1. Japanese, Italian and Ghanaian vessels were active since or before 1964, Polish vessels since 1963, while Nigerian vessels fished in the period 1967–1969, and Ivory Coast vessels in 1969–1968. Sparids constituted target species for Japanese and Polish vessels until 1968, when the cephalopod stocks were discovered and exploited. Since then, sparids have made up insignificant percentages of the landings of these and other foreign fleets present in the area.

6.4.3 The Gambia

The demersal fisheries situation in Gambian waters is described in FAO (1984a). As in other countries, there are both artisanal and industrial fisheries. Available data for the artisanal fisheries before 1985 do not allow a distinction between canoes fishing demersal or pelagic species. A complete frame survey was made in early 1985, the published results of which were not available to the Working Group. 20–27 industrial fishing boats were fishing demersally in The Gambia in 1982–1984, most of which landed their catch at Dakar. In 1984, the fleet consisted of 19 licensed Senegalese trawlers (including one shrimp trawler), seven Greek freezer trawlers and one national ice trawler.

6.4.4 Senegal

A description of the demersal fisheries in Senegal is given by Garcia et al. (1979), Franqueville (1983) and FAO (1984a). The demersal fish species of the Senegambian shelf are exploited by trawlers based at Dakar, a foreign fleet principally of EEC countries fishing under licence and an important artisanal fishery (canoes and longliners). Artisanal catches accounted for approximately 35% of the total demersal landings in 1983.

An industrial trawl fishery started in the early fifties. Until 1965, this fishery was limited to the area immediately South of Dakar, on hard bottoms, where about 50% of the catches consisted of sparids. Between 1966 and 1973, after the discovery of the shrimp grounds off Saint Louis and off Casamance, the fleet increased in size and all the vessels exploited the shrimp stocks. In the period 1967–1972, sparids were therefore not exploited by the industrial fishery. With the saturation of the shrimp fishery, a diversification of the demersal industrial fisheries started in 1973/1974. New vessels arrived specializing in the exploitation of cuttlefish with important by-catches of sparids, mainly Pagellus bellottii and Sparus caeruleostictus. Fleet size increased as fishing grounds were extended, to cover the whole Senegambian shelf. The demersal artisanal fishery which traditionally exploited the inshore fishing areas and untrawlable rocky bottoms along the 50 m isobath is still expanding for a variety of reasons including the introduction of ice containers and more powerful outboard motors. The number of target species in the demersal artisanal fishery has considerably increased in recent years. The industrial fishery

The Working Group on coastal demersal stocks of Mauritania-Senegal-Gambia (FAO, 1984a) reviewed the evolution of the Senegalese industrial fisheries. Over the period 1971–1084, the total number of trawlers (national and foreign) tripled from about 50 to 150. Freezer trawlers increased in numbers from 5 to 60 and trawlers carrying ice from 50 to 90 (Figure 9). At the same time, their size (GRT) and engine horse power increases. Most freezer trawlers are in the categories 50–150 (37) and 250–500 (17) GRT, while the majority of the trawlers carrying ice are 50– GRT. Three pairs of pair trawlers, constituting about 10% of the freezer trawlers, fish only periodically and are not present throughtout the year. Small freezer trawlers mostly exploit the shrimp grounds and during periods of low catch rates divert their attention to other species on the same grounds such as sole and croakers. Larger freezer trawlers and the trawlers carrying ice specialize in the capture of red mullet, cuttlefish or other species generally found on hard or sandy bottoms. Cuttlefish trawlers incidentally capture groupers and seabreams (Pagellus bellottii) and may direct their activities towards this group during periods of low cuttlefish catch rates. Pagellus bellottii also constitutes a by-catch of the red mullet (Pseudopenaeus prayesis) fishery. Fin fish trawlers often capture Dentex macrophthalmus as a by-catch of their fishery for Brotula, while Sparus caeruleostictus is caught in shallower waters. Recently, formerly neglected sparids like Diplodus spp. and Boops boops have been landed in modest quantities. The artisanal fisheries

In Senegal, demersal fishing is done by liners (“cordiers”) and canoes. Since 1963, 11–23 liners have been active each year. Details are given in FAO (1984a). Until 1979, only wooden vessels were present with an engine power of 75 HP. In 1980, metal “liners”) were introduced and the engine power of the vessels increased to 160 HP. Their target species are large groupers and seabreams, especially Dentex gibbosus.

The total number of artisanal fishing canoes specializing in demersal fishing, either with gillnets or hook and line, have increased from 3 200 to 3 500 over the period from 1981–1983. Outboard engines used are 8–25 HP, most being 8 HP. Sparids are seasonal target species of the hook and line fishery, and very few occur in gillnet catches. Target species are Dentex canariensis and D. gibbosus, deep water species coming closer to the surface in the cold season; Sparus caeruleostictus, especially when this species is concentrating for spawning purposes in the transition period at the end of the cold season; Pagellus bellottii and Sparus pagrus africanus. Some Diplodus spp. are also landed, but their stocks are so far not intensively exploited.

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