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The need for fine-scale assessment of trawl fishing effort to inform on an ecosystem approach to fisheries: Exploring three data sources in Mediterranean trawling grounds

Montserrat Demestre, Alba Muntadas, Silvia de Juan, Chryssi Mitilineou, Paolo Sartor, Julio Mas, Stefanos Kavadas and Javier Martín

Marine Policy, 2015, vol. 62, issue C, 134-143

Abstract: Aiming to estimate fishing effort at a small-scale that can be linked to benthic ecosystem disturbance (including target and non-target communities and habitats), three approaches were compared in 4 Mediterranean areas subjected to different trawl effort: (i) information from the fishery (fishermen interviews and daily sales' records), (ii) Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data and (iii) Side-Scan Sonar (SSS) records. Fishery data proved a useful baseline to characterise effort in the fishing grounds, VMS described in detail the dynamics of the fleet and SSS provided evidence of small-scale trawl activity. This paper examines the strengths and weaknesses of these 3 methods regarding their feasibility to assess the effort distribution at the smallest possible scale, but with a broad application. The findings highlight the need for accurate fishing effort estimations to evaluate trawling disturbance on ecosystems to ensure both healthy benthic ecosystems and sustainable exploitation of target species populations.

Keywords: Small-scale effort estimation; Trawling impact; Sustainable resources; Good environmental status; Mediterranean (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2015.09.012

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