Spatial patterns and temporal trends in the fisheries landings of the Messolonghi-Etoliko lagoons (Western Greek Coast)
Keywords:Mediterranean lagoon, fisheries landings, fish diversity, spatial pattern, seasonal fluctuations
The Messolonghi-Etoliko lagoon is one of the largest lagoon system in the northern Mediterranean coast. This area contains six clearly distinct lagoons with different topographic and hydrological features. The fishery landings of the lagoons are based on the ontogenic and seasonal migrations of the species. The total annual fishery landings of the barrier fish traps are estimated as 195 mt and are mainly composed of 16 species belonging to 8 families. Eel (Anguilla anguilla), the four species of Mugilidae (Liza saliens, L. aurata, L. ramada and Mugil cephalus), the two species of Sparidae (Sparus aurata and Diplodus annularis) and one species of Mullidae (Mullus barbatus) represent more than 92% of the total annual landings. The composition of the fishery landings varies between lagoons. The cluster analysis showed three groups of lagoons. The first group comprised lagoons in which the landings were dominated by eel, the second group was dominated by Mugilidae species and S. aurata, and the third by L. ramada and M. cephalus. The diversity index of the fishery landings is fairly constant in time, except for the Etoliko lagoon, where repeated anoxic crises decreased the diversity index value to almost zero in 1992. All the landing series showed a dominant annual cycle. Two seasonal patterns of the fishery landings were observed and linked to the fish spawning behaviour and/or their reaction to environmental forcings. The first one concerns species caught from summer to early autumn and the second pattern concerns species trapped during their autumn to winter offshore migration.
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