An overview of bottom trawl selectivity in the Mediterranean Sea
In the Mediterranean Sea, where bottom trawling for demersal species is the most important fishery in terms of landings, around 75% of the assessed fish stocks are overfished. Its status as one of the world’s most heavily exploited seas and the one subject to the highest trawling pressure has become a global concern. An extensive review of bottom trawl selectivity studies was performed to assess the sustainability of this fishery in the Mediterranean; the selectivity parameters were collected from 93 peer-reviewed publications of 10 countries, totalling 742 records and 65 species. The review highlighted that i) the catch of bottom trawls commonly employed in the Mediterranean, even complying with current regulations on codend meshes, still includes immature individuals for 64-68% of the species investigated, and individuals under the minimum conservation reference size (MCRS) for 78% of the species investigated, and that ii) the MCRS set for 59% of the species analyzed is well below their length at first maturity, and is therefore ecologically inadequate. Although square-mesh codends are slightly more selective, the models developed herein demonstrate that improving size and species selectivity would require considerably larger meshes, which may significantly reduce profitability. The urgent need to reduce the biological impacts of bottom trawling in the Mediterranean should be addressed by promoting the adoption of more ecologically sustainable fishing gears through the introduction of more selective meshes or gear modifications.
- How to Cite
LUCCHETTI, A., VIRGILI, M., VASAPOLLO, C., PETETTA, A., BARGIONE, G., LI VELI, D., BRĈIC, J., & SALA, A. (2021). An overview of bottom trawl selectivity in the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean Marine Science, 22(3), 566–585. https://doi.org/10.12681/mms.26969
- Vol. 22 No. 3 (2021)
- Review Article
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