Moroccan Sardine by Purse Seine

Eastern Central Atlantic — Moroccan Coast

Fish harvesters encircle a large wall of netting around schools of sardine and pull the bottom of the netting closed, like a drawstring purse, to capture the fish. The so-called “purse” seine net is often set from fishing vessels with the assistance of a small skiff. 

Purse Seine with skiff

Purse Seine with skiff

Fish harvesters use a small auxiliary boat or "skiff" to hold the large wall of netting in a steady position as the purse seine vessel pulls the netting around a school of fish. Once encircled, a hydraulic winch is used to pull the “purse line” to close the bottom of the net, capturing the fish and preventing their escape. Some seiners use a powerful drum that reels in the net or a large table on deck that swivels to spool the net. Purse seiners tend to be one of the most efficient methods for catching fish due to the large size of the net and vessel.

Purse Seine with skiff

The Morocco sardine seine fleet is made up of two different classes of vessel: the coastal fleet consists of 683 medium-sized vessels using purse seines and the artisanal fleet consists of 792 registered small vessels (up to 2 tonnes, 7 metres) with small catches of sardines for local consumption, operating with small seines on the Atlantic coast, mainly in the north and central zones.

Conservation Measures

The fishery is currently participating in a Fishery Improvement Project coordinated by the Morocco Ministry of Agriculture and Maritime Fisheries. A number of regulations are in place to address conservation, including:

  • licensing of vessels including fishing zone, fishing method, target species
  • limitations on bycatch and total catch volumes
  • authorized landing ports
  • limits on the total allowable catch
  • time and season closures
  • requirement for logbooks

European Sardine Food Info