Benguela (Southern)

Anchovy was the dominant small pelagic fish in the 1980s but declined by the 1990s and stocks of sardine, redeye, horse mackerel and Cape hake increased.  The “high pelagic fish biomass” situation of the early 2000s was short-lived, stocks of both anchovy and sardine again declining. Cape hake are the most valuable commercial species in the Southern Benguela but there is little room for expansion of the hake fishery above present levels. Line fish stocks were considered to have been overexploited and a moratorium on catches was implemented in 2002. Recent stock assessments indicate that some line fish stocks are recovering.
Fish biomass is higher in the recent decade compared to the 1980s and 1990s, whereas landings have fluctuated but are lower in the late 2000s compared to two decades before. Inverse fishing pressure has increase steadily from the late-1980s to 2010. Nevertheless, several ecological indicators suggest deterioration of the ecosystem over the past two decades: mean length, mean life span and proportion of predatory fish in surveys are lower in recent years (2008-2010) than in the late 1980s, as is TL of the catch and the community. These declines are only partly accounted for by the short-lived upsurge in small pelagic fish in the early 2000s; demersal fish biomass has increased over the past decade, and combined catches of large pelagic fish, demersal fish and chondrichthyans have decreased. To this end, improving trends are being observed across several ecological indicators in the late 2000s. The environment appears to be an important driver of ecosystem change in the system.

by Lynne Shannon, Dawit Yemane
Table of Frequencies (percent)
Direction Fish size Trophic Level % Predators Life Span Biomass Stability % Sustainable Stocks
Fish size 0.117346 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Trophic Level 0.00 0.586938 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
% Predators 0.00 0.00 0.265917 0.00 0.00 0.00
Life Span 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.250232 0.00 0.00
Biomass Stability 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.160068 0.00
% Sustainable Stocks 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.23688

Chla = Chlorophyll A (mg/m3)
SST = Sea Surface Temperature (°C)
Table of Frequencies (percent)
Direction Management Governance Contribution Wellbeing
Management 0.74 0.00 0.00 0.00
Governance 0.00 0.53 0.00 0.00
Contribution 0.00 0.00 0.11 0.00
Wellbeing 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.06