This study evaluates the relationship between both commercial and scientific spatial fisheries data and a new satellite-based estimate of potential fish production (Ocean Productivity available to Fish, OPFish) in the European Seas. To construct OPFish, we used productivity frontal features derived from chlorophyll-a horizontal gradients, which characterize 10%-20% of the global phytoplankton production that effectively fuels higher trophic levels. OPFish is relatively consistent with the spatial distribution of both pelagic and demersal fish landings and catches per unit of effort (LPUEs and CPUEs, respectively). An index of harvest relative to ocean productivity (H-P index) is calculated by dividing these LPUEs or CPUEs with OPFish. The H-P index reflects the intensity of fishing by gear type with regard to local fish production. Low H-P levels indicate lower LPUEs or CPUEs than expected from oceanic production, suggesting over-exploitation, while high H-P levels imply more sustainable fishing. H-P allows comparing the production-dependent suitability of local fishing intensities. Our results from bottom trawl data highlight that over-exploitation of demersal species from the shelves is twice as high in the Mediterranean Sea than in the North-East Atlantic. The estimate of H-P index by dominant pelagic and demersal gears suggests that midwater and bottom otter trawls are associated with the lowest and highest overfishing, respectively. The contrasts of fishing intensity at local scales captured by the H-P index suggest that accounting for the local potential fish production can promote fisheries sustainability in the context of ecosystem-based fisheries management as required by international marine policies.

Mesoscale productivity fronts and local fishing opportunities in the European Seas

Serpetti N.;
2021-01-01

Abstract

This study evaluates the relationship between both commercial and scientific spatial fisheries data and a new satellite-based estimate of potential fish production (Ocean Productivity available to Fish, OPFish) in the European Seas. To construct OPFish, we used productivity frontal features derived from chlorophyll-a horizontal gradients, which characterize 10%-20% of the global phytoplankton production that effectively fuels higher trophic levels. OPFish is relatively consistent with the spatial distribution of both pelagic and demersal fish landings and catches per unit of effort (LPUEs and CPUEs, respectively). An index of harvest relative to ocean productivity (H-P index) is calculated by dividing these LPUEs or CPUEs with OPFish. The H-P index reflects the intensity of fishing by gear type with regard to local fish production. Low H-P levels indicate lower LPUEs or CPUEs than expected from oceanic production, suggesting over-exploitation, while high H-P levels imply more sustainable fishing. H-P allows comparing the production-dependent suitability of local fishing intensities. Our results from bottom trawl data highlight that over-exploitation of demersal species from the shelves is twice as high in the Mediterranean Sea than in the North-East Atlantic. The estimate of H-P index by dominant pelagic and demersal gears suggests that midwater and bottom otter trawls are associated with the lowest and highest overfishing, respectively. The contrasts of fishing intensity at local scales captured by the H-P index suggest that accounting for the local potential fish production can promote fisheries sustainability in the context of ecosystem-based fisheries management as required by international marine policies.
2021
catches per unit of effort
chlorophyll-a gradient
landings per unit of effort
local-scale
Plankton-to-fish estimate
spatial fisheries management
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14083/26484
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