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Coviability analysis of Western Mediterranean fisheries under MSY scenarios for 2020

April 26, 2014

An ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) seeks to manage fisheries sustainably, including all dimensions of fisheries: biological, social and economic aspects. The separate management of these aspects may lead to conflicting objectives. Coviability analysis helps us to rank a set of choices (alternative management measures) objectively, allows us to explore which policies will ensure strong sustainability, and formally recognizes the multi-objective nature of fisheries management. The coviability of the main Western Mediterranean Spanish fisheries was examined with a bioeconomic simulation model under alternative management strategies that implement strong fishing mortality reduction policies. Based on a joint (biological and economic) viability assessment, it has been shown that Western Mediterranean fisheries require the reduction of fishing effort to ∼10% of the 2010 levels. This strong conservation measure would need to be applied as soon as possible in order for European Mediterranean fisheries to be managed at MSY, as required by legally binding international agreements, which may be unrealistic. Large reductions in fishing mortality for stocks that have been subject to high exploitation rates for decades are difficult to achieve with the current paradigm of effort control in the Mediterranean. Instead, reorienting the exploitation of Mediterranean fish stocks with management measures that combine changes in exploitation patterns with seasonal or spatial area closures, should help meet the policy goals of fishing mortality levels compatible with MSY by 2020.

Maynou F, in press: Coviability analysis of Western Mediterranean fisheries under MSY scenarios for 2020, ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsu061. Article (subscription required).

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