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Combining Telephone Surveys and Fishing Catches Self-Report: The French Sea Bass Recreational Fishery Assessment

February 6, 2014

Fisheries statistics are known to be underestimated, since they are mainly based on information about commercial fisheries. However, various types of fishing activities exist and evaluating them is necessary for implementing effective management plans. This paper assesses the characteristics and catches of the French European sea bass recreational fishery along the Atlantic coasts, through the combination of large-scale telephone surveys and fishing diaries study. Our results demonstrated that half of the total catches (mainly small fish) were released at sea and that the mean length of a kept sea bass was 46.6 cm. We highlighted different patterns of fishing methods and type of gear used. Catches from boats were greater than from the shore, both in abundance and biomass, considering mean values per fishing trip as well as CPUE. Spearfishers caught the highest biomass of sea bass per fishing trip, but the fishing rod with lure was the most effective type of gear in terms of CPUE. Longlines had the highest CPUE value in abundance but not in biomass: they caught numerous but small sea bass. Handlines were less effective, catching few sea bass in both abundance and biomass. We estimated that the annual total recreational sea bass catches was 3,173 tonnes of which 2,345 tonnes were kept. Since the annual commercial catches landings were evaluated at 5,160 tonnes, recreational landings represent 30% of the total fishing catches on the Atlantic coasts of France. Using fishers’ self-reports was a valuable way to obtain new information on data-poor fisheries. Our results underline the importance of evaluating recreational fishing as a part of the total amount of fisheries catches. More studies are critically needed to assess overall fish resources caught in order to develop effective fishery management tools.

Rocklin D, Levrel H, Drogou M, Herfaut J, Veron G, 2014: Combining Telephone Surveys and Fishing Catches Self-Report: The French Sea Bass Recreational Fishery Assessment. PLoS ONE 9(1): e87271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087271. Article.

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