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Colloca F.,CNR Institute for Coastal Marine Environment | Garofalo G.,CNR Institute for Coastal Marine Environment | Bitetto I.,COISPA Tecnologia and Ricerca | Facchini M.T.,COISPA Tecnologia and Ricerca | And 23 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

The identification of nursery grounds and other essential fish habitats of exploited stocks is a key requirement for the development of spatial conservation planning aimed at reducing the adverse impact of fishing on the exploited populations and ecosystems. The reduction in juvenile mortality is particularly relevant in the Mediterranean and is considered as one of the main prerequisites for the future sustainability of trawl fisheries. The distribution of nursery areas of 11 important commercial species of demersal fish and shellfish was analysed in the European Union Mediterranean waters using time series of bottom trawl survey data with the aim of identifying the most persistent recruitment areas. A high interspecific spatial overlap between nursery areas was mainly found along the shelf break of many different sectors of the Northern Mediterranean indicating a high potential for the implementation of conservation measures. Overlap of the nursery grounds with existing spatial fisheries management measures and trawl fisheries restricted areas was also investigated. Spatial analyses revealed considerable variation depending on species and associated habitat/depth preferences with increased protection seen in coastal nurseries and minimal protection seen for deeper nurseries (e.g. Parapenaeus longirostris 6%). This is partly attributed to existing environmental policy instruments (e.g. Habitats Directive and Mediterranean Regulation EC 1967/2006) aiming at minimising impacts on coastal priority habitats such as seagrass, coralligenous and maerl beds. The new knowledge on the distribution and persistence of demersal nurseries provided in this study can support the application of spatial conservation measures, such as the designation of no-take Marine Protected Areas in EU Mediterranean waters and their inclusion in a conservation network. The establishment of no-take zones will be consistent with the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy applying the ecosystem approach to fisheries management and with the requirements of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive to maintain or achieve seafloor integrity and good environmental status. © 2015 Colloca et al. Source

Ligas A.,Centro Interuniversitario Of Biologia Marina Ed Ecologia Applicata cci Cibm | Osio G.C.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Sartor P.,Centro Interuniversitario Of Biologia Marina Ed Ecologia Applicata cci Cibm | Sbrana M.,Centro Interuniversitario Of Biologia Marina Ed Ecologia Applicata cci Cibm | de Ranieri S.,Centro Interuniversitario Of Biologia Marina Ed Ecologia Applicata cci Cibm
Scientia Marina | Year: 2013

The time series of elasmobranch catch rates off the Tuscany coasts (NW Mediterranean) were investigated by means of min/max auto-correlation factor analysis in order to estimate variations in population abundance and evaluate the influence of environmental and anthropogenic factors. The analyses highlighted a general decreasing trend in the catch rates of sharks and skates from 1961 to the mid-1990s, mainly influenced by the increase in fishing effort. Since the 1990s, the EU Common Fishery Policy for the Mediterranean has promoted the reduction of fishing fleets through incentives to vessel demolition. The Porto S. Stefano trawl fleet has decreased by about 50%, leading to a decrease in fishing effort which seemed to be the most relevant factor affecting the increasing trend shown by the catch rates of Galeus melastomus, Scyliorhinus canicula and skates from 1991 to 2009. The elasmobranch assemblage did not undergo major shifts but the weighted frequency of occurrence shows that elasmobranchs were more frequent in the past. Particular caution should be paid in interpreting the recent rebound of some species as an early sign of recovery: trawl survey data and landing data show that over the last 50 years elasmobranch fauna have undergone a drastic decline and that recent rebounds are still far from a recovery to historical levels. Source

Lucchetti A.,CNR Marine Science Institute | Buglioni G.,CNR Marine Science Institute | Conides A.,Hellenic Center for Marine Research | Klaoudatos D.,Hellenic Center for Marine Research | And 4 more authors.
Mediterranean Marine Science | Year: 2015

Passive nets are currently among the most important fishing gears largely used along the Mediterranean coasts by the small scale fisheries sector. The fishing effort exerted by this sector is strongly correlated with net dimensions. Therefore, the use of passive nets is worldwide managed by defining net length and net drop. The EC Reg. 1967/2006 reports that the length of bottom-set and drifting nets may be also defined considering their weight or volume; however, no practical suggestions for fisheries inspectors are yet available. Consequently, even if such technical measures are reasonable from a theoretical viewpoint, they are hardly suitable as a management tool, due to the difficulties in harbour control. The overall objective of this paper is to provide a quick methodological approach for the gross estimation of passive net length (by net type) on the basis of net volume. The final goal is to support fisheries managers with suitable advice for enforcement and control purposes. The results obtained are important for the management of the fishing effort exerted by small scale fisheries. The methodology developed in this study should be considered as a first attempt to tackle the tangled problem of net length estimation that can be easily applied in other fisheries and areas in order to improve the precision of the models developed herein. Source

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