Sardine, Atlantic (Iwashi) – Mediterranean Sea
Atlantic sardine are small, pelagic schooling fish (meaning they swim in groups near the surface) found throughout the eastern Atlantic Ocean and its associated seas.
In the Mediterranean Sea, the abundance level of Atlantic sardine is uncertain in many areas, but some populations are depleted. Fishing levels on sardine are above sustainable levels in several areas. The fisheries that target sardine also target anchovy and catch other small pelagic fish, and fishing levels are high on some of these species too. Management of sardine fisheries in most areas of the Mediterranean is poor.
The purse seines and pelagic trawls used to capture sardine fish at or near the water surface and therefore have little impact on bottom habitats. However, because sardines are an important prey species in pelagic food webs, there are concerns about the effects of these fisheries on the food web and overall ecosystem.
Sardines caught in the Eastern Atlantic are evaluated in a separate report.