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Juvenile anchovy biomass may maintain adult stock in 2013


Anchovy landing. (Photo: Giroa.org)

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Friday, November 23, 2012, 23:40 (GMT + 9)

Recent research indicates that the average biomass of juvenile anchovy in the Bay of Biscay is sufficient to maintain the adult stock in 2013 at acceptable biological levels.
This is one of the results of the scientific survey called Juvena 2012, which were released this week by the authorities of the Basque Government and of the Technology Marine and Food Research Centre (AZTI-Tecnalia).
According to the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Food Industries, Jokin Diaz; and AZTI general director, Rogelio Pozo, the results "show us the possibility of maintaining the total allowable catch (TAC) of 20,700 tonnes in force," reported the scientific entity.
The scientists estimate that the juvenile anchovy biomass present in the sea during September 2012 was 142,100 tonnes, all of which appeared in the spring.
This finding indicates that if there is a winter survival similar to that in previous years, there is a very high probability that the adult stock biomass in 2013 exceeds the level of biomass limit set at 21,000 tonnes by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).
"The results place us in a moderately positive scenario as to the coastal anchovy of 2013, so the decision to establish the fishing quota in 20,700 tonnes in July 2012 (until June 2013) was correct and in line with the reality of the species," said Diaz.
During the investigation Juvena 2012 the abundance and spatial distribution of anchovy juvenile was determined, their status was studied and the environmental factors affecting their survival were analyzed.
Scientists aim to predict the amount of biomass that will reach adulthood the following year.
The study was conducted aboard the research vessels Emma Bardán, belonging to the General Secretariat of Marine Affairs, and Ramon Margalef, of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO).
AZTI experts calculated the abundance of juvenile specimens by acoustic methodology, which consists of emitting ultrasounds into the sea and in evaluating -- from the echo obtained -- the number of specimens that were in the study area.
Funding for the survey was led by the Basque Government, the General Secretariat of Marine Affairs and IEO.
Based on the results, recommendations can be made to the fisheries authorities on the risks associated with the allowable catches of anchovy.
According to the data provided by AZTI, in the 2012 survey 6,703,715 kilograms of anchovy were unloaded at the Basque ports, valued at EUR 15 million.
In 2013 the fourth survey will be held since the fishery was reopened.
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