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The State of Mediterranean and Black Sea Fisheries 2018

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Bringing together data and indicators submitted by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) contracting parties and cooperating non-contracting parties on stock status, national catches, fleet and socio-economic aspects, as well as information obtained from other sources, SoMFi 2018 aims to provide objective, reliable and up-to-date information to a wide audience and support decision-making in fisheries. It provides the most detailed assessment yet of the state of fishery resources in the region. It shows current status of stocks, including those most at risk from overfishing, and looks at related issues like discards and incidental catches of vulnerable species.

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Status of fishery resources

Data for the assessment of stock status are currently collected through stock assessment forms (SAFs), which also contain information on reference points and outcomes of the assessment (e.g. estimates of fishing mortality, exploitation rate, spawning stock biomass and recruitment).1 Although assessments have been presented to the SAC since its establishment in 1997, SAFs have been digitalized since 2007, and are stored in a database that incorporates metadata, which provide key information for the formulation of advice on stock status and input files from the stock assessment model. The analysis presented in this chapter is based on information contained in the SAF metadata database between 2006 and 2016 (stocks assessed in the years 2007 to 2017, based on information on fisheries from the previous year); only information pertaining to stocks validated by the SAC at the time of preparation of this report is used for this analysis, and only non-deprecated assessments (i.e. assessments no older than three years for small pelagic species and no older than five years for demersal species) are considered for each year. An overall analysis of stock status was carried out in relation to approved reference points. These are mainly linked to indicators of fishing mortality (FMSY or proxies for FMSY), since few stocks have agreed biomass reference points (BLIM and BPA). The terminology “within” or “outside” “biologically sustainable limits”, agreed in the context of FAO (FAO, 2014), is used to describe the stocks for which indicators (fishing mortality, stock biomass) are inside or outside the limits established by the reference points. The fishing mortality indicators used herein are: (i) terminal fishing mortality (i.e. the fishing mortality estimated in the last year of the time series used for assessment) for small pelagic stocks and demersal stocks assessed with forward assessment methods (e.g. statistical catch-at-age methods); and (ii) the average fishing mortality of the last three years for demersal stocks assessed with backward methods (e.g. XSA). Special attention has been given to priority species agreed by the GFCM (see Box 7) and, whenever possible, information has been aggregated to provide a subregional and regional outline of the status of resources, using indicators derived by the GFCM (Box 8).

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