Bio-economic analysis of the Mar Menor (Murcia, SE Spain) small-scale lagoon fishery



An integrated fisheries management tool based on a bio-economic model was applied to the demersal fishery in the Mar Menor coastal lagoon in SE Spain, with the objective of exploring solutions to ensure the sustainability of this activity. The hypothesis is that excess harvesting in recent years by fishers trying to offset growing production costs has led to the inefficient use of lagoon fishery resources. The authors established the basic bio-economic conditions of the fishery in 2012 by means of field sampling and personal interviews with producers, and analyzed the response of several biological and economic indicators (target species biomass and yield, fleet profits) to a management scenario based on limiting the fishing season of one of the main types of fishing gear (fish traps, locally known as ‘paranzas’). Results show that a reduction in fishing mortality of two overexploited species (Sparus aurata and Lithognathus mormyrus) will help recover the biomass of these stocks by more than 40% as well as increase the economic value of the fishery, with profits increasing by 17% over a 4-year period.