Scientia Marina, Vol 82, No S1 (2018)

Ecological importance of survival of unwanted invertebrates discarded in different NW Mediterranean trawl fisheries

Montserrat Demestre
Institut de Cièncias del Mar, CSIC, Spain

Paolo Sartor
Consorzio per il Centro Interuniversitario di Biologia Marina ed Ecologia Applicata (CIBM), Italy

Alfredo Garcia-de-Vinuesa
Institut de Cièncias del Mar, CSIC, Spain

Mario Sbrana
Consorzio per il Centro Interuniversitario di Biologia Marina ed Ecologia Applicata (CIBM), Italy

Francesc Maynou
Institut de Cièncias del Mar, CSIC, Spain

Andrea Massaro
Aplysia Soc. Coop. r.l., Italy


There is currently very little information on the survival of discards of unwanted and unregulated catches of invertebrates after the stresses caused by capture. A great number of the unregulated invertebrate species form the basis of essential fish habitats for important fisheries resources such as hake, red mullet and cuttlefish. Thus, data on their survival after discarding may help to interpret the role of these species within the benthic ecosystems. Furthermore, descriptor 6 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (EU Directive 2008/56/E) foresees maintaining sea floor integrity at a level that ensures that the structure and functions of the ecosystems are safeguarded, and Article 7(d) of the Common Fisheries Policy (EU Reg. 1380/2013) foresees the implementation of management measures for fishing with low impact on the marine ecosystem and fishery resources. Survival measurements by direct recovery of tagged discarded species are not effective in bottom trawl fisheries, for which alternative studies such as semi-quantitative measures obtained on board prior to discarding can be considered as appropriate for mortality estimation. The present work assessed the survival of unwanted species using a semi-quantitative assessment on the deck of trawlers and at the laboratory for a period of 96 hours in two Mediterranean areas (the Catalan coast and the Ligurian and Northern Tyrrhenian seas). A high number of discarded invertebrates showed a high percentage of survival (>70%) in both assessments. The results can be used to provide information that can help to achieve higher survival levels of discarded specimens and enhance the productivity of fishing grounds by increasing the health of benthic ecosystems.


discard survival; invertebrates; mortality estimation; vitality levels; trawl fishery; Mediterranean

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