Cephalopod fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean

We have just sent our draft report for the assessment of several cephalopod fisheries in the North and Central Atlantic Ocean which is currently being reviewed. The report includes several industrial and small-scale fisheries in Europe and Northwest Africa, including French, Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries, which made our work harder as we needed to gather, read, summarize and translate information from all these languages to the final English version of the report.

Due to its special biological characteristics (short-life cycles and variable growth rates influenced by environmental variability) which make them both potentially susceptible to overfishing but also capable of rapid recovery, cephalopods are difficult to assess and manage. Countries in the area are improving the managament of these fisheries and several management plans have been implemented. However, much more work still needs to be done. A better monitoring (monthly data on catches, effort, biological parameters, etc) of these fisheries would be necessary in order to implement a Ecosystem Based Management for cephalopod stocks. However, despite the importance of these resources for many industrial and small-scale fisheries in the area, there are still large data gaps which need to be investigated, including: reliable species’ identification, adequate definition of target stocks, knowledge of the ecological role of the species, etc. Management measures could then include catch quotas, gear restrictions, closed areas and seasons for protecting spawners and recruitment, deployed flexibly to account for variable abundance, market-based solutions, etc.

For more info please see:

Jereb, P., Allcock, A.L., Lefkaditou, E., Piatkowski, U., Hastie, L.C., and Pierce, G.J. (Eds.) 2015. Cephalopod biology and fisheries in Europe: II. Species Accounts. ICES Cooperative Research Report No. 325. 360 pp.

Pierce, G.J., Robin, J-P., Montero-Castaño, C., Barrett, C., Laptikhovsky, V., González, A.F., Moreno, A., Rocha, A., Santos, M.B., Valeiras, J., Abad, E., Perales-Raya, C., Sobrino, I., Silva, L., Santurtun, M., Iriondo, A., Lischenko, F., Jones, J., Oesterwind, D., Villasante, S., Pita, C., Power, A.M., Allcock, L., Hendrickson, L.. 2020. Assessment of cephalopods in European waters: state of the art and ways forward. Available at: https://www.cephsandchefs.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/ICES-poster-ceph-assessment-final-version-2-gjp.pdf

Day octopus (Octopus cyanea) ready to be sold (Photo: Jose Peiro Crespo)