Fish stock assessments in the Mediterranean: state of the art
Keywords:Mediterranean fisheries, stock assessment
The Mediterranean fisheries are characterised by fragmented fleets, usually composed by relatively small vessels, use of a large number of landing sites, multi-species catches and low CPUEs. Fish are commercialised mainly fresh and the prices are relatively high. These factors make it difficult and expensive to get extensive and reliable data time series and to get biological samples. Most of the fish caught in the Mediterranean are the recruits (0-1 year old) of the main target species. Since the recruitment is much more uncertain than the abundance of the adult stages, the assessments are also more uncertain. Furthermore, no TAC or adaptive management is in place, so the administrations do not require monitoring in order to manage the fisheries. The continental shelf is narrow (with some exceptions) and there are few stocks shared between two or more countries. Consequently, the international management structures have not been sufficiently enforced, and until recently no regular assessments were made by international working groups. These characteristics have led to a situation in which most of the assessments have been done in the framework of scientific projects, and therefore do not have continuity in time. The results of these assessments have rarely been incorporated in management.
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