Towards the implementation of ecosystem management: a multi-level assessment of a small scale Mediterranean multi-specific fishery

Dimitriadis, Caterina
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Fisheries are complex systems, in which the process of assessment and management should explicitly consider the ecological, social and economic attributes of the system. For a responsible and sustainable management of marine resources and their interaction with the fishing activity, both, managers and scientists, are necessary. The multidimensional view of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM:) provides the most suitable context for managing small-scale fisheries, promoting-the participation of all members of society linked to the fishing activity, as co-management is a key factor in their development. In Catalonia, the fishermen guild of the port of Palam6s is one of the most important in the region of Baix Emporda and holds ample historical record of local fishing activity information. This PhD dissertation applies the information from the fishermen guild of the port of Palam6s, through a vision of EAFM:, considering fisheries as a socio-economic unit (systemic approach), but also as different ecosystem components representing different levels of the hierarchy on the biological organization (communities and individual species). From a systemic context, the use of the Living Planet Index (LPI) is proposed to describe the fishe:r:y dynamics in order to assess the performance of the fishery targeted by the fishermen guild of Palam6s, analyzing simultaneously the degree of compliance with the objectives of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The LPI index is suitable for multi-specific fisheries using different fishing strategies as the small­scale fisheries of the Palam6s port. At the level of the biological communities and through a network approach, potential management units were identified based on the analysis of by-catch, thus incorporating non-target species. According to the characteristics of each module, at least some of these could be considered management units not evident using a different approach. Finally, the effects of SSF were evaluated on a commercial interest species, Pagellus erythrinus. In that sense, it has been re-evaluated the reproductive cycle by means of an histological approach, various population parameters were estimated and the vulnerability of this species in relation to the activities of SSF was evaluated, in an attempt to show a practical application of the third hierarchical management level, that must be considered in an ecosystem approach to fisheries on the biological strategy of the species, since species individually, respond differently to different types of fishing pressure and any management carried out considering all the species as a whole, would probably fail. ​
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