The MEDITS trawl survey specifications in an ecosystem approach to fishery management
Keywords:demersal resources, trawl survey, sampling, Mediterranean
The MEDITS programme started in 1994 in the Mediterranean with the cooperation among research institutes from four countries: France, Greece, Italy and Spain. Over the years, until the advent of the European framework for the collection and management of fisheries data (the Data Collection Framework, DCF), new partners from Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Malta and Cyprus joined MEDITS. The FAO regional projects facilitated the cooperation with non-European countries. MEDITS applies a common sampling protocol and methodology for sample collection, data storage and data quality checks (RoME routines). For many years, MEDITS represented the most important data source supporting the evaluation of demersal resources by means of population and community indicators, assessment and simulation models based on fishery-independent data. With the consolidation of the DCF, MEDITS routinely provides abundance indices of target species for tuning stock assessment models of intermediate complexity. Over the years, the survey scope has broadened from the population of demersal species to their fish community and ecosystems, and it has faced new challenges, such as the identification of essential fish habitats, providing new scientific insights linked to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (e.g. biodiversity, trophic webs, allochthonous species and marine macro-litter evaluations) and to the ecosystem approach to fishery and marine spatial planning.
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