Trends in NE Atlantic landings (southern Portugal): identifying the relative importance of fisheries and environmental variables
Time series of commercial landings from the Algarve (southern Portugal) from 1982 to 1999 were analyzed using min/max autocorrelation factor analysis (MAFA) and dynamic factor analysis (DFA). These techniques were used to identify trends and explore the relationships between the response variables (annual landings of 12 species) and explanatory variables [sea surface temperature, rainfall, an upwelling index, Guadiana river (south-east Portugal) flow, the North Atlantic oscillation, the number of licensed fishing vessels and the number of commercial fishermen]. Landings were more highly correlated with non-lagged environmental variables and in particular with Guadiana river flow. Both techniques gave coherent results, with the most important trend being a steady decline over time. A DFA model with two explanatory variables (Guadiana river flow and number of fishermen) and three common trends (smoothing functions over time) gave good fits to 10 of the 12 species. Results of other models indicated that river flow is the more important explanatory variable in this model. Changes in the mean flow and discharge regime of the Guadiana river resulting from the construction of the Alqueva dam, completed in 2002, are therefore likely to have a significant and deleterious impact on Algarve fisheries landings.