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Mediterranean fishery discards: review of the existing knowledge

June 21, 2013

A considerable amount of the existing knowledge of discards in the Mediterranean Sea is presented. Discarding highly varies along the basin both geographically and among the different fishing gears with bottom trawls being responsible for the bulk of discards, since they are characterized by high discards ratios. Midwater trawls, purse-seines, and small-scale fisheries, despite their less proportion of discards per se, produce overall high discards quantities, since they are responsible for the majority of the landings. Based on the collected information, a rough Mediterranean-wide estimate of discards around 230 000 t or 18.6% (13.3–26.8%) of the catch is produced. Discarding in the Mediterranean is regulated by market demands rather than by legal constraints, and marketable bycatch may constitute an important supplemental source of income. A pattern in resource use related to socio-cultural characteristics is apparent, with welfare communities discarding more in terms of percentages. Natural conditions (e.g. environmental gradients) and fishers’ strategies also substantially affect discarding. Mitigation tools mainly comprise selectivity improvement and spatio-temporal closures. Despite the progress in studying discards, needs are evident to expand monitoring schemes, apply analytical techniques, and establish objectives of the discards issue under the framework of ecosystem approach to fisheries.

Tsagarakis K, Palialexis A, Vassilopoulou V, in press. Mediterranean fishery discards: review of the existing knowledge, ICES Journal of Marine Science, 2013, doi:10/1093(icesjms/Fst074. Article.

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