Scientia Marina, Vol 78, No 4 (2014)

Spatial assessment of artisanal fisheries and their potential impact on the seabed: the Cap de Creus regional case study (northwestern Mediterranean Sea)

Ariadna Purroy
Department of Marine Biology, Institute of Marine Science (CMIMA-CSIC) , Spain

Susana Requena
Department of Marine Biology, Institute of Marine Science (CMIMA-CSIC) , Spain

Josep Maria Gili
Department of Marine Biology, Institute of Marine Science (CMIMA-CSIC) , Spain

Antonio Canepa
Department of Marine Biology, Institute of Marine Science (CMIMA-CSIC) , Spain

Rafael Sardá
Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes, CSIC , Spain


The northwestern Mediterranean region faces two contrasting realities: intensive fishing activity and a rising awareness among citizens of the need to protect ecologically important areas. In NE Spain, a large portion of the Cap de Creus area will be declared a Natura 2000 offshore site, establishing a large Marine Protected Area. This study examines the spatial distribution of artisanal fisheries and their potential impact on key vulnerable ecosystem components (KVECs) in the region. Data collection is based on a questionnaire-based survey in the absence of better records. An integrative map showing potential cumulative impact values for the Cap de Creus region was developed, including fishing gear pressure on selected KVECs. The most potentially impacted areas were found along the coast and on canyon margins. Results showed that different types of fishing gears converge, implying a higher impact on certain benthic communities and KVECs, with the greatest spatial coverage in coralligenous areas, Posidonia beds and maërl beds. When fishing log book and vessel monitoring system data are not available, the use of fishermen surveys linked to geographical information system tools can provide fundamental information for further implementation of effective measures for ecosystem-based management aimed at improving conservation of marine benthic ecosystems.


benthic communities; fishery management; Mediterranean; marine protected area; GIS; métier

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