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Fishery and Aquaculture Relationship in the Mediterranean: Present and Future

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G. RELINI
G. RELINI

Abstract


Although the Mediterranean represents only 0.8% of the world seas, it is the site of a very long-established fishing activity, characterized mainly by multispecific catch and by artisanal or coastal activity, resulting from a mosaic of very diversified structures and gears, along more than 45,000 km of coastline. Two main biological features of this sea are the occurrence of a large richness of species (it represents 5.5% - 7% of world marine fauna and 16.6% of macrophyta), which stands in contrast with its ‘trophic poverty’ and the absence of large monospecific fishery, except for some small and large pelagic fish. Another biological characteristic of Mare Nostrumis the high invasion of exotic species, some exploited by fishery and aquaculture, some others quite dangerous. For the entire Mediterranean and Black Sea, the production (catch + aquaculture) had been steadily increasing over the period 1972-1988 from 1,140,000 t to 2,080,000 t . The period 1988-1991 has shown a drastic drop in catches (in 1991: 1,400,000 t). From 1990 to 1995 the total catch increased to 1,701,379 t then decreased and in 2000 reached 1,485,046 t . In 2000 Turkey had the first place with 496,174 t, 26.9% of the total value (1,846,026 t, including fishing and aquaculture), followed by Italy with 25%, Greece 9%, Spain 7.6% and Algeria 5.4%. As in many parts of the world, aquaculture production in the Mediterranean is rapidly expanding. In 1970 the total aquaculture production was about 18,297 t of which 74.3% produced in Italy. In 2000 a value of 358,614 t was reached, about 1/4 of the total fishery catch, while the world aquaculture production corresponds to half of the world total catch. Italy is still the main producer with 46.7% , followed by Greece with 21.5%, Turkey 9.9% and France 6.7%. A sharp drop in the production of the European eel ( Anguilla anguilla) and of the European flat oyster ( Ostrea edulis) is recorded. Positive and negative interactions between fishery and aquaculture are described for environment, food, juveniles, breeders, discards and market. Special attention is devoted to tuna farming, artificial reef and vallicultura. The response of governments and decision makers to the results and suggestions from marine scientists, proposals for urgent action in order to succeed sustainability and priority marine research areas are briefly described. Some urgent needs are outlined.

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