Stock dynamic of the Iberian sardine (Sardina pilchardus Walb.) and its implication on the fishery off Galicia (NW Spain)
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The recent failure of sardine catches off Galicia (NW Spain), an area where landings reached up to 100 thousand tonnes only a few years ago, may be explained by two possible hypotheses. The "depletion" hypothesis states that diminishing sardine catches were due to a decrease in stock biomass resulting from a combination of reduced recruitment and increased fishing mortality. The "change in distribution" hypothesis states that catch failure was due to a change in the distribution of the stock owing to environmental changes. Available information, based on direct observations from acoustic and ichthyplankton surveys and the fishery, was analysed. When the stock size is high, the spawning area of the sardine extends offshore in the Cantabrian Sea, and spreads along the continental shelf off northern Portugal. Moreover, adult fish undertake feeding migration towards Galician waters. This spawning behaviour results in a recruitment located mainly off Portugal. Low stock size causes a shrinkage ...
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