Biological implications of recreational shore angling and harvest in a marine reserve: the case of Cape Creus

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1. Recreational shore fishing along the coast of the marine reserve of Cap de Creus (NW Mediterranean) was studied in 2007 and 2009 based on roving creel surveys (on-site angler surveys during which anglers' harvests are examined by the survey clerk). The study aimed to assess the biological impacts of this leisure activity on coastal fish stocks and the potential risks arising from the use of exotic baits. 2. Recreational shore fishers employ seven different fishing techniques, of which the bottom fishing rod (a fishing rod whose hooks, together with the bait, lie on the bottom or near it by means of a heavy weight) is by far the most widely used method (nearly 90% of observations). In total, 25 fish species were identified in the catch from the bottom fishing rod. 3. The estimated annual shore fishing catches (c.3 tons) are much lower than those obtained by recreational boat and spear fishing (c.20 tons each), and those from commercial (artisanal) fishing (c.50 tons). The weighted mean vulnerability index and trophic level values in the catch from the bottom fishing rod are 52.2 and 4.03, respectively. 4. A minimum of 43% of the baits used by the shore anglers were live, non-native species (mostly polychaetes). 5. Overall, results highlight the impact of shore angling on coastal fish communities of a protected area and the increasing environmental risks arising from the use of exotic marine baits, which constitute a potential and unregulated vector of introduction of non-native species in the Mediterranean ​
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