Fishing strategy choices of purse seines in the Mediterranean: implications for management


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ABSTRACT:  An observer's sampling scheme, that employed fisheries scientists onboard fleet vessels was used to examine temporal fishing tactics and strategies affecting catches of the purse seine fishery in the Mediterranean. The month, water depth and the fishers' behavior were found to have an effect on total and Trachurus spp. retained catches, with fishers' behavior explaining the largest percentage of the data variation. The distance of the fishing ground from port and the market price modulated both the retained catches and the fishing location choice. Results confirmed that fishers while in a specific fishing ground developed strategies that would allow them to retain, and thus land, the best possible combination of landings × market value. The current findings also revealed that, when constrained by physical and economic conditions, fishers preferred to minimise risk rather than maximize landings. The observed major switches in fishing strategy were attributed to fishers' risk attitude response towards higher profitability. As the Mediterranean fishery system is mainly based on control effort and technical measures regimes, the current findings are discussed in the light of the need to consider additional information to management plans and decisions.