Title: “Once upon a Time in the Mediterranean”. Long Term Trends of Mediterranean Fisheries Resources Based on Fishers’ Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Citation: PLOS ONE vol. 10 no. 3 p. e0119330
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC91296
ISSN: 1932-6203
URI: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0119330
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119330
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: We investigate long-term changes in the Mediterranean marine resources driving the trawl fisheries by analysing fishers’ perceptions (Traditional Ecological Knowledge, TEK) throughout the Mediterranean Sea for the last 80 years. To this end, we conducted an extended set of interviews with old experienced fishers that enabled us to classify species (or taxa) as 'decreasing' or 'increasing' both in terms of abundance, as well as average size in the catch. The aspect that most clearly emerged in all the investigated areas over time was the notable increase of fishing capacity indicators, such as engine power and fishing depth range. Atlantic mackerel, poor cod, scorpionfishes, striped seabream, and John Dory demonstrated a decreasing trend in the fishers' perceived abundance, while Mediterranean parrotfish, common pandora, cuttlefish, blue and red shrimp, and mullets gave indications of an increasing temporal trend. Although, as a rule, trawler captains did not report any cataclysmic changes (e.g. extinctions), when they were invited to estimate total overall catches, a clear decreasing pattern emerged; this being a notable finding taking into account the steep escalation of fishing efficiency during the past century. The overall deteriorating status of stocks in most Mediterranean regions calls for responsible management and design of rebuilding plans. This should include historical information accounting for past exploitation patterns that could help defining a baseline of fish abundance prior to heavy industrial fisheries exploitation.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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