In ICES waters, there are four main cephalopod groups (Octopods, Loliginids, Ommastrephids, and Cuttlefish) and within these groups, numerous species. As both predators and prey, they are important food web components. Many fish species, sea birds, and marine mammals eat cephalopods as well as providing important fishery resources, especially in the coastal areas of southern Europe.
ICES Working Group on Cephalopod Fisheries and Life History (WGCEPH), chaired by Marina Santurtún and Jean-Paul Robin, meet this week, 8-11 June 2015, at the IEO in Tenerife, Spain. The group studies and compiles information on cephalopod biology and ecology and the fisheries and regulations that can affect them.
Cephalopods are short-lived marine invertebrates, characterized by a high metabolic rate, fast growth, and sensitivity to environmental change, which result in highly variable levels of abundance. In the last 2 years, within the groups work related to the MSFD, the use of cephalopods as indicators for ecosystem biodiversity (D1), sustainable fisheries (D3), trophic interactions (D4), contaminants in seafood (D9), underwater noise (D11), and changes in hydrographical conditions (D7) appear to be adequate.
In 2015, WGCEPH will also work on providing information about the state of cephalopod diversity in Eco-Regions like the North Sea, Baltic Sea, Celtic Seas and Bay of Biscay and the Iberian coast.
WGCEPH have been involved in the latest ICES publication. ICES Cooperative Research Report No. 325 Cephalopod biology and fisheries in Europe: II. Species Accounts is now available from the ICES library.
The authors have generated a compact, comprehensive, and up-to-date set of reviews covering relevant biological and ecological information on exploited European cephalopods. This CRR falls between the short accounts issued by FAO and the more detailed and discursive species reviews that have appeared in journals and books over the years.
The initial impetus arose from a series of EU collaborative research projects, with the subsequent involvement of WGCEPH. There were three framework projects, the first of which started in 1990, and several data collection projects collectively known as Eurosquid. Several of the current WGCEPH members have contributed throughout this whole 25-year period.
"We included a lot of information from the projects in the 2010 CRR (No. 303) on cephalopods but felt that the species accounts needed more work. We just didn't appreciate at the time how much more work was still needed! We hope that these reviews will be useful for anyone with an interest in cephalopods," said one of the editors, Graham Pierce.
Catalina Perales-Raya (IEO) showing the image of an octopus para larvae at the IEO lab facilities.