Study indicates decline in seabed-dwelling fish in the Mediterranean

Hans Hillewaert

Source: Science for Environment Policy

Using data gathered by satellites, scientists have monitored changes in fishing activity around Italy in the Mediterranean Sea for the period 2007-2010. From this, they developed new ecological indicators that gave a more detailed pattern of fishing activity in the Italian seas. In addition, the new indicators suggest that fish stocks on the seabed around Italy are continuing to decline.

The study proposes a new definition of fishing grounds that includes the economic aspects of how fisheries operate. Fishing grounds, according to the researchers, are thus fishing areas which can change in location over time as fishermen change their behaviour to maximise fish catches and minimise their risks and costs. Changes in fishing effort are therefore not only related to the availability of fish, but also to the ability of fishermen to respond to the market price for fish or fuel costs, for example.

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