Title: Assessing the vulnerability of Mediterranean demersal stocks and predicting exploitation status of un-assessed stock
Citation: FISHERIES RESEARCH vol. 171 p. 110-121
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC89948
ISSN: 0165-7836
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165783615000429
DOI: 10.1016/j.fishres.2015.02.005
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: According to the Common Fisheries Policy, all commercial fish stocks in the Mediterranean and Black Seashould be managed at MSY by 2015–2020. However, currently 95% of assessed stocks are overexploitedand 73% of demersal species are not assessed. To explore the risk of overexploitation to un-assessedstocks, vulnerability scores were constructed using Productivity Susceptibility Analysis (PSA) for 151Mediterranean demersal fish species. Out of 151 species, 58 displayed low vulnerability, 20 mediumvulnerability, 25 high vulnerability and 48 were considered of major concern. More than half of stocksshowed a risk of being overfished (termed “vulnerability”), greater than that of the stocks currentlyassessed in the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the cartilagineous fish fell into the high and major concernareas. The quality of data used for the PSA was scored and these scores could be used to improve futurecollection of data. Vulnerability scores are well correlated with IUCN red list classification. To rank thepriority of commercial stocks still to be assessed, vulnerability scores were scaled with landings and meanprice per stock. Eight of the top fifteen ranking stocks are currently not assessed. When the vulnerabilityof cartilaginous fish was tested against rate of decline estimated from trawl survey time-series, no strongcorrelation was found. The exploitation ratio (F/Fmsy) of assessed stocks was regressed, using generalizedmixed models, against PSA scores and area and a significant relationship was found. Using this result,assessed stocks were used as a training set to predict the exploitation of un-assessed stocks. F/Fmsywas predicted for 151 species in 14 management areas (GSAs). The results over all areas is that 39 species-area combinations are exploited sustainably, all occurring in area 20 (Greece), while the remaining 2075are exploited unsustainably with respect to Fmsy(F/Fmsy> 1). This prediction model, albeit after further refinement with more data and testing, could be used to predict exploitation ratio when no information on stock status is available. We predict that ≈98% of the unassessed demersal fish species are potentially overexploited in the evaluated areas. This makes it clear that strong management action will be required to achieve the targets of the Common Fisheries Policy in the next 1–5 years.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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