Bioeconomic simulation analysis of hake and red mullet fishery in the Gulf of Saronikos (Greece)
Keywords:Saronikos Gulf, trawl fisheries, beach seiner, European hake, red mullet, fisheries management, bioeconomic model
Hake (Merluccius merluccius) and red mullet (Mullus barbatus) are two of the most important species in Greek fisheries due to their high commercial interest. Both have been reported to be overexploited and in need of management to preserve the continuity of their exploitation. Hake is exploited by trawlers and red mullet by both trawlers and beach seiners in Saronikos Gulf (Greece). The MEFISTO bioeconomic simulation model is applied in order to test the interaction between trawlers and beach seiners through the age-specific fishing mortality applied by each fleet to the red mullet stock. The effects of the withdrawal of some beach seiners in 2002 and the increase in trawl mesh size that has already been implemented (from 28 mm to 40 mm stretched mesh) are tested jointly with alternative management scenarios such as the complete withdrawal of beach seiners and effort reduction in trawler activity. The analysis of the simulation results is based on the evolution of biological and economic indicators through 15-year stochastic projections. It is shown that limiting fishing effort and improving selectivity patterns of the trawl fleet would be beneficial for the recovery of the populations and for the profitability of the fishery. In addition to the increase in trawl mesh size, a further fishing effort reduction of 12% is recommended for the trawling fleet. Conversely, limiting or completely removing the beach seiner fleet would protect red mullet juveniles but would not significantly increase the profitability of the trawling fleet, and it would cause unemployment.
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