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Anchovy Population Evaluated in the Bay of Biscay

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SPAIN - The Basque Government has commissioned the Azti-Tecnalia Food & Fisheries Technological Centre to undertake the Bioman 2013 fisheries campaign, the goal of which is to evaluate the anchovy population in the Bay of Biscay at the end of the spring season.

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The Department of Economic Development and Competitiveness highlights the importance of the data from this study and believes that it can confirm the good situation of the fishery grounds thanks to the responsible management, states Azti Tecnalia.

The research will determine the area of reproduction of the species, its egg production and its fecundity. Scientists from the Technological Centre are on board the “Ramón Margalef” and the “Emma Bardan” oceanographic research vessels in order to carry out this study. The data gathered over approximately one month at sea will act, together with other technical reports, to estimate the biomass of the species at the end of the spring season.

Knowledge about and preservation of the anchovy biomass is fundamental for the Basque fishing fleet. Based on this, the Basque Government has been promoting Bioman research campaigns since 1987. Once again, specialists from Azti-Tecnalia, having sailed out from the Port of Pasajes, gathering samples of anchovy spawn at numerous points in the area under study in order to determine the egg production of the species.

In a parallel manner, they will make catches of adult anchovies to determine their level of fecundity. With all this data they will make an estimate of the anchovy biomass in the Bay of Biscay by what is known as the Egg Production Method.

The scientific team will also analyse the characteristics of the habitat of the anchovy from a hydrographic and biological point of view, an increasingly relevant aspect in fisheries scientific research. They will also gather data such as temperature, salinity and chlorophyll content.

The results of ‘Bioman 2013’ will be compared with existing information from past campaigns, as well as from that obtained by the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer). The French experts are currently developing their campaign to calculate anchovy biomass, based on acoustic techniques, emitting ultrasounds into the water and analysing their echoes to estimate the biomass in the zone under study.

On terminating the campaign, in the month of June, the data will be analysed and a report will be drawn up with the estimate of the anchovy biomass in the Bay of Biscay. The data will be presented at the International Council for Exploration at Sea (ICES).

Taking these results into account and those obtained by the French Institute, the ICES will issue scientifically-based guidance to fishery management bodies within the European Union, setting out management measures for anchovy fishing.