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Common sole in the northern and central Adriatic Sea: Spatial management scenarios to rebuild the stock

February 18, 2014

The northern and central Adriatic Sea represents an important spawning and aggregation area for common sole (Solea solea) and provides for around 20% of the Mediterranean landings. In this area, this resource is mainly exploited with rapido trawl and set nets. The stock is not yet depleted and faces a situation of growth overfishing. The comparison between the spatial distribution by age of S. solea and the geographic patterns of the rapido trawl fishing effort evidenced an overlapping of this fishing activity with the area where juveniles concentrate (age groups 0-2). The majority of spawners inhabits specific offshore areas, here defined as ‘sole sanctuaries’, where high concentrations of debris and benthic communities make difficult trawling with rapido.

The aim of this study was to evaluate existing spatial management regimes and potential new spatial and temporal closures in the northern and central Adriatic Sea using a simple modelling tool. Two spatial simulations were carried out in order to verify the effectiveness of complementary methods for the management of fisheries: ban of rapido trawling from October to December within 6 nm and 9 nm of the Italian coast. The focus of the simulation is that the effort of the rapido trawl is moved far from the coast during key sole recruitment periods, when the juveniles are moving from the inshore nursery area toward the offshore feeding grounds. The management scenarios showed that a change in selectivity would lead to a clear increase in the spawning stock biomass and an increase in landings of S. solea in the medium-term. The rapido trawl activity could be managed using a different logic, bearing in mind that catches and incomes would increase with small changes in the spatial pattern of the fishing effort.

The present study highlights the importance of taking into account spatial dimensions of fishing fleets and the possible interactions that can occur between fleets and target species, facilitating the development of control measures to achieve a healthy balance between stock exploitation and socio-economic factors.

Scarcellaa G, Gratia F, Raicevichb S, Russoc T, Gramolinid R, Scotte RD, Polidoria P, Domenichettia F, Bologninia L, Giovanardib O, Celicb I, Sabatinib L, Vrgocf N, Isajlovicf I, Marcetag B, Fabia G, in press: Common sole in the northern and central Adriatic Sea: Spatial management scenarios to rebuild the stock, Journal of Sea Research, doi: 10.1016/j.seares.2014.02.002. Article.


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