Discards of the commercial boat seine fisheries on Posidonia oceanica beds in the eastern Adriatic Sea
Keywords:boat seine, small-scale fishery, discard, immature fish, Posidonia oceanica beds, Adriatic
Scientific observer records were used to estimate the retained and discarded catch composition of the commercial boat seine fisheries over Posidonia oceanica (Linnaeus) Delile meadows in the eastern Adriatic, from November 2008 to December 2009. A total of 91 fish and cephalopod species were recorded in the catches, of which 20 species were always retained, 40 were always discarded and the remaining 31 were selected depending on size (only larger specimens were retained). The most abundant species in the retained catch were Spicara smaris, Atherina hepsetus and Mullus barbatus, while Chromis chromis, Symphodus ocellatus and small specimens of Boops boops dominated the discards. An estimated 43.5% by number and 28.5% by weight of the total catch were discarded. Since the minimum landing size (MLS) is regulated for only 4 out of the 15 most important species in this study, and even these regulations are only partially followed, discarding practices were generally market-driven. The retained and discarded amounts of the catch as well as the numbers of retained and discarded species showed a seasonal pattern. The catches recorded during summer/autumn were generally larger than those in winter/spring. High rates of immature specimens were observed for the most important species, which is probably related to the role of Posidonia beds as important nursery grounds.
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