Expatica news

IPMA study reveals unexpected rise in sardine population numbers

A study into the stuck of sardines in Iberian waters carried out by IPMA (the Portuguese Institute of Sea and Atsmosphere) and its Spanish counterpart (the Institute of Oceanography) has revealed a sharp increase in the population of sardines populating the sea.

In recent years there has been much worry over the issue of sustainable fishing, and the Government’s battle to appease both environmentalists and fishermen.

To exemplify how radical some voices in this debate have been, only two years ago, ICES – the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea – was recommending a full out 15-year ban on the fishing of sardines, claiming that stocks were at a critical low.

These findings were slammed by fishermen for not representing reality, and being “completely out of date”. Their strong opposition was understandable, as they are attempting to go against modern society’s drift towards environmentalism in order to protect their own livelihoods.

Now this latest study compiled by IPMA and its Spanish sibling appears to confirm that stocks have in fact enjoyed a massive increase, and thus the fishermen may have actually been correct.

“Final estimates point to an increase in abundance of sardine juveniles from 534 million fish estimated in 2018 to 5.452 billion in 2019”, reported IPMA. The results are far higher than most would have expected.

National fishing associations have obviously welcomed the report, claiming that they knew this all along – which is why strict annual fishing quotas have caused so much anger for these individuals.

It’s worth pointing out that the sardine debate isn’t finished yet though. The report explains that the study which looked into the sardine stocks must be “evaluated by ICES” before next year’s quotas can be defined.

Earlier this year, Ana Paula Vitorino, at the time Minister of the Sea, showed herself to be cautious regarding the possibility of increasing quotas for the fishermen, according to Diário de Notícias, as fishing associations will now be pushing for 2020’s summer limit of 9,000 tons to be increased next year to a massive 30,000 tons.