Sardines – East Atlantic & Mediterranean (Iwashi)
Sardines are a pelagic, schooling fish (meaning they swim in groups near the surface) which grow fast and become sexually mature within two years. Sardines are an important commercial species in the eastern North Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and off northern Africa.
Total annual catch is approximately 1 million tons, with many populations having low levels of abundance with some overexploited. Sardine fisheries are evaluated by several regional bodies of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. Management measures are in place throughout their range, but it is unclear whether the current measures will meet sustainability goals.
Most Sardines are caught using purse seines and pelagic trawls, which cause minimal habitat damage. The level of bycatch in the fishery is not known, but is likely moderate.