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RIUTORT J. J., 2012. Premier signalement d'Epinephelus aeneus (GEOFFROY ST. HILAIRE, 1817) (Perciformes, Serranidae), dans les eaux méditerranéennes françaises. [First record of Epinephelus aeneus (GEOFFROY ST. HILAIRE, 1817) (Perciformes, Serranidae) in the french Mediterranean waters]. BSSHNC N° 738-739 : pp. 183-192.
 
Le biologiste marin de l' Association "Bastia Offshore Fishing Club", Jean-Jacques Riutort, a écrit un article sur les premiers signalements d' Epinephelus aeneus (mérou blanc) dans les eaux françaises. Il s'agit du premier signalement de l'espèce pour les côtes françaises (Corse) et le nord-ouest de la Méditerranée. Les deux spécimens ont été capturés courant 2012 dans le secteur nord-Corse. Le premier spécimen a été capturé par un pêcheur professionnel, le second par l' Association Bastia Offshore Fishing. L' article a été publié dans le Bulletin de la Société des Sciences Historiques et Naturelles de la Corse, fascicules n°738-739 .
 

BSSHNC n° 738-739 (2012)

Premier signalement d’Epinephelus aeneus (GEOFFROY ST. HILAIRE, 1817)

(Perciformes, Serranidae), dans les eaux méditerranéennes françaises.

Jean-Jacques RIUTORT

Epinephelus aeneus, individu (LT = 438 mm) capturé le 26 juillet 2012 au sud de Bastia

 (nord-est Corse, France, mer Tyrrhénienne).

  
 

Résumé. La capture de deux individus de mérou blanc, Epinephelus aeneus (GEOFFROY ST HILAIRE, 1817) (Perciformes, Serranidae), dans le nord de la Corse constitue le premier signalement de cette espèce pour les côtes françaises et le nord-ouest de la Méditerranée. Le premier individu mature (LT = 540 mm), a été capturé dans le Golfe de St Florent, le 10 juillet 2012, tandis que le second individu immature (LT = 460 mm) l’a été au sud de Bastia (mer Tyrrhénienne), le 26 juillet 2012.

 

Mots clefs. Epinephelus aeneus, France, Corse, Méditerranée, Mer tyrrhénienne, méridionalisation, zoogéographie, premier signalement.

 

Abstract. The capture of two female specimens of white grouper, Epinephelus aeneus (GEOFFROY ST HILAIRE, 1817) (Perciformes, Serranidae), north of Corsica, is the first record for the French waters and the north-western Mediterranean Sea. The first specimen, a mature individual (TL = 540 mm), was caught in the Gulf of Saint-Florent, whereas the second one, an immature individual (TL = 460 mm), south of Bastia (Tyrrhenian Sea).

 

Keywords: Epinephelus aeneus, French, Corsica, Mediterranean Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea, meridionalization, zoogeography, first record.

 

 
Notre association a participé en tant que co-auteur à la rédaction d' une publication scientifique sur la pêche en Corse : "Preliminary estimate of total marine fischeries catches in Corsica", qui évalue 58 ans d' activité de pêche en Corse (de 1950 à 2008). L' article a été publiée en Août 2011.
 
PRELIMINARY ESTIMATE OF TOTAL MARINE FISHERIES CATCHES IN CORSICA,

FRANCE (1950-2008)

.pp. 3-14. In: Harper, S. and Zeller, D. (eds.) Fisheries catch reconstruction. Islands, part II. Fisheries Centre Reports 19 (4). Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia [ISSN 1198-6727].

 
En voici les auteurs :
 

Frédéric Le Manach, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, United Kingdom; flm@livinblue.com

Delphine Dura, Institut Polytechnique LaSalle Beauvais, 19 rue Pierre Waguet, BP 30313, Beauvais 60026 cedex, France; delphinedura@gmail.com

Anthony Pere, Station de Recherches Sous-marines et Océanographiques, Pointe Revellata, BP33, Calvi 20260, France; a.pere@stareso.com; Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Université de Corse Pascal Paoli, 7 avenue Jean Nicoli, BP 52, Corte 20250, France

Jean-Jacques Riutort, Bastia Offshore Fishing Association, 8 Parc Impérial, Furiani 20600, France; jjriutort@gmail.com

Pierre Lejeune, Station de Recherches Sous-marines et Océanographiques, Pointe Revellata, BP33, Calvi 20260, France; pierre.lejeune@stareso.com

Marie-Catherine Santoni, Office de l’Environnement Corse, département "Parc Marin International des Bouches de Bonifacio", base technique de La Rondinara, BP 507, Ajaccio 20176, France; santoni@oec.fr

Jean-Michel Culioli, Office de l’Environnement Corse, département "Parc Marin International des Bouches de Bonifacio", base technique de La Rondinara, BP 507, Ajaccio 20176, France ; culioli@oec.fr

Daniel Pauly, Sea Around Us Project, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver V6T 1Z4, Canada, d.pauly@fisheries.ubc.ca

 

L' article est téléchargeable sur le lien suivant : Publication pêche en Corse, 2011

Vous pouvez également le visualiser directement sur le lien suivant : ftp://ftp.fisheries.ubc.ca/FCRR/19-4.pdf

Vous trouverez ci-dessous le texte complet de la publication (sans les graphiques)

 


ISSN 1198-6727

 

Fisheries Centre Research Reports

2011 Volume 19 Number 4

FISHERIES CATCH RECONSTRUCTIONS: ISLANDS, PART II

Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Canada

FISHERIES CATCH RECONSTRUCTIONS: ISLANDS, PART II

Edited by

Sarah Harper and Dirk Zeller

Fisheries Centre Research Reports 19(4)

143 pages © published 2011 by

The Fisheries Centre,

University of British Columbia

2202 Main Mall

Vancouver, B.C., Canada, V6T 1Z4

ISSN 1198-6727


 

Fisheries Centre Research Reports 19(4)

2011

FISHERIES CATCH RECONSTRUCTIONS: ISLANDS, PART II

Edited by

Sarah Harper and Dirk Zeller

CONTENTS

Director‘s foreword ............................................................................................................................................. 1

Preliminary estimate of total marine fisheries catches in Corsica, France (1950-2008) ................................. 3

A brief history of fishing in the Kerguelen Islands, France .............................................................................. 15

Reconstruction of total marine fisheries catches for Madagascar (1950-2008) ............................................. 21

Reconstruction of marine fisheries catches for Mauritius and its outer islands, 1950-2008 ....................... 39

Reconstruction of Nauru‘s fisheries catches: 1950-2008 ............................................................................... 63

Marine fisheries of Palau, 1950-2008: total reconstructed catch .................................................................... 73

Reconstruction of Sri Lanka‘s fisheries catches: 1950-2008 .......................................................................... 85

From local to global: a catch reconstruction of Taiwan‘s fisheries from 1950-2007 ...................................... 97

Reconstruction of Fisheries Catches for Tokelau (1950-2009) ..................................................................... 107

Reconstructing marine fisheries catches for the Kingdom of Tonga: 1950-2007 ........................................ 119

Reconstruction of marine fisheries catches for Tuvalu (1950-2009) ............................................................ 131

 

A Research Report from the Fisheries Centre at UBC

Fisheries Centre Research Reports 19(4)

143 pages © Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, 2011

FISHERIES CENTRE RESEARCH REPORTS ARE ABSTRACTED IN THE FAO AQUATIC SCIENCES AND FISHERIES ABSTRACTS (ASFA)

ISSN 1198-6727


1 / Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Harper and Zeller

DIRECTORS FOREWORD

As marine fisheries resources around the world are increasingly threatened by pollution, climate change, and overfishing, it is more important than ever to know the amount and types of fish and invertebrates being extracted from the marine environment. Fisheries resources, particularly for island countries, provide a crucial source of food and income. However, the very fisheries which depend on these natural goods and services—notably small-scale fisheries—are being under-represented in fisheries statistics. In many of the countries highlighted in this report, the majority of seafood consumed is taken via subsistence fisheries. This non-commercial fishing sector is largely overlooked in statistical collection systems, particularly those of several decades ago, but continues to be under-represented today. In some places this is beginning to change, as the importance of small-scale fisheries to national food security is being recognized.

In many developing countries, which lack the infrastructure and resources to fish their own waters for economic development through trade with external markets, foreign access fees are collected as a key source of revenue. In exchange for a modest fee, foreign fleets are allowed to fish their waters for high valued species. While this provides much needed income for the country, it also threatens the availability of these resources for domestic sustenance.

While there is a range in the quality of fisheries reporting from one country to the next, in almost all countries Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fisheries exist. Fisheries landings statistics, as supplied to the United Nation‘s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), represent mainly the commercial and larger-scale fisheries. Artisanal, subsistence and recreational fisheries are mostly overlooked. Discarded bycatch and baitfish associated with certain fishing techniques are also rarely included in the official statistics.

As a follow up to Fisheries Catch Reconstructions: Islands, Part I, this report continues to reconstruct total marine fisheries catches of island countries around the world from 1950 to present. This edition describes fisheries for island countries in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, highlighting the discrepancies that exist between reported landings and likely true catches. The reconstruction approach used here, as in the previous edition, aims to estimate all marine fisheries extractions as a baseline for monitoring and management purposes in the face of continued anthropogenic pressures. The future success of these countries relies, in part, on their ability to keep pace with an increasingly gl0bal economy while maintinaing a healthy supply of resources for domestic purposes.

Ussif Rashid Sumaila, Director

UBC Fisheries Centre

August 2011


2 / Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Harper and Zeller

 


3 / Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Harper and Zeller

PRELIMINARY ESTIMATE OF TOTAL MARINE FISHERIES CATCHES IN CORSICA, FRANCE (1950-2008)1

1 Cite as: Le Manach, F., Dura, D., Pere, A., Riutort, J.J., Lejeune, P., Santoni, M.C., Culioli, J.M., and Pauly, D. (2011) Preliminary estimate of total marine fisheries catches in Corsica, France (1950-2008). pp. 3-14. In: Harper, S. and Zeller, D. (eds.) Fisheries catch reconstruction. Islands, Part II. Fisheries Centre Research Reports 19(4). Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia [ISSN 1198-6727].

Frédéric Le Manacha, Delphine Durab, Anthony Perecd, Jean-Jacques Riutorte, Pierre Lejeunec,

Marie-Catherine Santonif, Jean-Michel Culiolif, and Daniel Paulyg

aFaculty of Science and Technology, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, United Kingdom; flm@livinblue.com

bInstitut Polytechnique LaSalle Beauvais, 19 rue Pierre Waguet, BP 30313, Beauvais 60026 cedex, France; delphinedura@gmail.com

cStation de Recherches Sous-marines et Océanographiques, Pointe Revellata, BP33, Calvi 20260, France; a.pere@stareso.com; pierre.lejeune@stareso.com

dFaculté des Sciences et Techniques, Université de Corse Pascal Paoli, 7 avenue Jean Nicoli, BP 52, Corte 20250, France

eBastia Offshore Fishing Association, 8 Parc Impérial, Furiani 20600, France; jjriutort@gmail.com

fOffice de l’Environnement Corse, département "Parc Marin International des Bouches de Bonifacio", base technique de La Rondinara, BP 507, Ajaccio 20176, France; santoni@oec.fr, culioli@oec.fr

gSea Around Us Project, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver V6T 1Z4, Canada, d.pauly@fisheries.ubc.ca

ABSTRACT

Corsica is an island in the Western Mediterranean belonging to France, located southeast of the French mainland and west of Italy. The island covers an area of about 8,700 km2, is flanked by deep water along its west coast, and by a broad shelf along its east coast. Corsica has fisheries in its coastal lagoons, but its most commercially important fishery is the red spiny lobster (Palinurus elephas) fishery, followed by bottom trawling for finfish. Other smaller and poorly documented artisanal and recreational fisheries also occur, but overall fishing pressure appears to be low, and the number of full time fishers is declining. The total reconstructed catch from 1950 to 2008 was 118,700 tonnes - 5 times more than the 23,700 tonnes reported by France to FAO – of which 30% was unreported recreational catch by locals or tourists, 37% was bottom-trawl catch, 10% was associated bycatch (unreported, landed or discarded), and 23% was red spiny lobster and pelagic catches. The estimated mean annual catch in the 21st century was 1,300 tonnes. Field investigations are needed to improve on these data, presented here as a first approximation of total extractions from the waters surrounding Corsica.

INTRODUCTION

Corsica is the fourth largest island of the Mediterranean and a part of France. It is located southeast of the French mainland and north of Sardinia (Italy), and west of the Italian Peninsula (42° N and 9° E; Figure 1). Corsica is characterized by a mountainous landscape and a highly disparate underwater morphology, featuring a steep descent to depth along the western part of the island (down to 3,000 m, 10 km offshore). In contrast, wide expanses of shallow waters are present along the east coast, where a depth of only 150 m has been recorded 11 km offshore, and several lagoons important for the Island‘s marine fisheries are also found along the east coast (Riutort, 1994).


4 / Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Harper and Zeller

Corsican waters host numerous fish and invertebrate species (de Caraffa, 1929; Miniconi, 1989, 2001) and valuable habitats (e.g., meadows of seagrass Posidonia oceanica), of which most are protected under European Commission directives or national legislations (Anon., 1975; 1979, 1981, 1987, 1992, 1994, 1999) (Figure 1). The Réserve Naturelle des Bouches de Bonifacio is the largest marine protected area (MPA) of metropolitan France, covering approximately 800 km² (Figure 1), including a 13 km² no-take zone and 130 km² with restricted fisheries activities. Regulations and monitoring seem to be effective, as increasing catches have been reported in and around this MPA (Santoni and Culioli, unpub. data)

Figure 1: Map of Corsica and its territorial waters (solid black line). Marine Protected Areas (blue areas and grey solid dots) are designated at a state level and aim to protect both habitats and wildlife by controlling, or even excluding human activities (no-take zones). Natura2000 zones (blue stripes) are designated at a European level and aim to protect both habitats and wildlife, without excluding human activities. The level of protection in the Natura2000 zones is lower than for MPAs. Source: www.affaires-maritimes.mediterranee.gov.fr

Since the 1950s, tourists have been attracted to Corsica for its natural beauty and pristine habitats, and the tourist population currently reaches 3 million per year (Anon., 2010), with a resident Corsican population of less than 300,000. The tourism industry has a major impact on seafood consumption and hence on marine resources, as already highlighted in the 1960s (Maurin, 1965). Currently, numerous hotels and/or charter companies offer recreational fishing opportunities, separate or in combination with consumption of local seafood.

Despite its potential attractiveness for fishers, the waters around Corsica have never experienced heavy industrial fishing pressure, and the history of Corsican resource extraction was shaped more by land-based than maritime activities. Therefore, there is almost no export of seafood out of Corsica, and a substantial fraction of the seafood consumed locally by Corsicans is imported from the French mainland or other Mediterranean countries. Currently, the number of professional fishers is declining, and Corsica likely experiences the lowest commercial fishing pressure in the Mediterranean Sea (Riutort, 1994; Relini et al., 1999). As a consequence, fisheries have generally not received much attention, and quantitative analyses of fisheries are scarce, except for the high-profile fishery for red spiny lobster (Palinurus elephas) (Pere et al., 2007; 2010) and for MPA fisheries (Rigo, 2000; Santoni, 2002; Mouillot et al., 2007; Rocklin et al., 2009).

Corsica - via France - has only supplied fisheries statistics to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO since 1970. This study therefore aims to reconstruct Corsican fisheries catches back to 1950, while ensuring that all extractions due to fishing are considered, following the catch reconstruction approach of Zeller and Pauly (2007). Like most countries in the Mediterranean, France has not declared a formal Exclusive Economic Zones for its Mediterranean coast (EEZ; Anon., 1976; Santoni, 2002; Cacaud, 2005). Hense, our estimates of historical catches for the period 1950 to 2008 are deemed to have come from Corsican EEZ-equivalent waters.


5 / Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Harper and Zeller

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Baseline data were extracted from the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) section of the FAO FishStat database (FAO, 2009). As Corsica is remote from the French mainland, we assumed that all catches reported by France within the ‗Sardinia‘ FAO fishing area (Division 37.1.3) were Corsican. A bibliographical review of all Corsican fisheries was done to identify the ‗anchor points‘ required for inferences on historical catches back to 1950 (Zeller and Pauly, 2007). Data sources included peer-reviewed scientific articles, reports by local institutions, theses and other unpublished accounts, and local expert knowledge.

Total Corsican population

Population statistics were extracted from the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE, www.insee.fr/fr/themes/theme.asp?theme=2&sous_theme=1&nivgeo=6&type=3 [accessed: October 15, 2010]). Population data were used here to indirectly estimate total catches by local residents (see ‗recreational fisheries: residents and tourists‘ sub-section; Figure 2a).

Fishers and fishing vessels in Corsica

The time-series of the population of fishers was obtained from Riutort (1994), and linear interpolations were applied between anchor points for years without data (Figure 2b). The number of fishers after the last anchor point (1993) was calculated by applying the trend in the number of fishers per vessel during the period 1950-1993 to the number of vessels for the period 1994-2008. It is worth noting that these vessels are usually smaller than 15 m, and operate close to shore (Miniconi, 1994; Riutort, 1994; Rigo, 2000; Santoni, 2002). The fishing industry in Corsica is therefore more artisanal than industrial, with small vessels (Riutort, 1994), short periods at sea, and a small supply chain (Riutort, 1989). The two time-series in Figure 2b were used to estimate bottom-trawl catches for the 1950-1970 period (see ‗artisanal demersal fishery‘ sub-section).

Figure 2. Basic statistics on Corsica: a) total resident Corsican population and b) trends in the number of fishers and vessels in Corsica. Anchor points are represented by closed circles.

Lobster fishery

Red spiny lobster (Palinurus elephas) is mainly exploited along the west coast of Corsica, where its preferred hard-bottom habitats are found. The fishery for lobster is relatively small, and vessels stay close to the coast, fishing at depths not exceeding 200 m (Marin, 1987). The fishery was profitable very early on (de Caraffa, 1929), but it is not well documented. Thus, official catch data are deemed inaccurate, and is at best a refelction of trends (Marin, 1987). Here, we attempt to re-estimate lobster catches for the entire 1950-2008 period using various sources of information.


 

6 / Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Harper and Zeller

Statistics were extracted from the Office de l’Environnement Corse (2010) for the 1950-1983 period. The early values (1950s) are in accordance with catches at the beginning of the 20th century, i.e., around 300 t·year-1 (Doumenge, 1956). For the 1983-2008 period, values were extracted from studies by Riutort (1999), Marin (1987) and Pere et al. (2010).

Changes in gears had an influence on both catch per unit of effort (CPUE) and discard rates (non-marketable lobsters). In the early 1960s, the traps in common use were replaced by trammelnets (Miniconi, 1989), which had higher CPUE, but also generated a higher discarding rate. Discards for traps were estimated to be about 5% during the 1950-1964 period (Riutort, unpub. data). During the 1965-1980 period, fishers were using trammelnets for short trips, and a discard rate of 12.5% was therefore used (Riutort, unpub. data). For the 1981-1994 period, the mean value of 15.7% between the 1965-1980 period (12.5%) and the 1995-1999 period (20%) was used (Riutort, 1999; Pere et al., 2010). For the 2000-2003 period, the same value of 12.5% was used. For the 2004-2007 period, Pere et al. (2010) estimated a discarding rate of 11.4%, which was also used for the year 2008.

It is worth noting here that two types of trammelnets are used in Corsica, to target either demersal fish (since before 1950) or red spiny lobster (since the early 1960s). Even when ‗lobster trammelnets‘ are used, a considerable amount of the bycatch is fish. Thus, 55% of total catch were fish species in 2008 (Riutort, 1989; 1994; Santoni and Culioli, unpub. data). This bycatch of fish is retained and landed, and was included in the next sub-section (artisanal demersal fisheries).

Artisanal demersal fisheries

Demersal species are caught in Corsican waters with two types of gears: trammelnets and bottom-trawlers. Trammelnets have been in use for demersal fish for a long time (prior to 1950), while we assumed bottom-trawlers were introduced in the early 1950s (Riutort, 1994). Catches by trammelnets may represent 50% of total fish catches in the province of Bonifacio (Santoni and Culioli, unpub. data), and given that no other studies were available, we used this 50% ratio for the 1965-2008 time-period and the entire island. Thus, the remaining 50% of demersal fish catches were treated as caught by bottom-trawlers as of 1965. For 1950, we set bottom-trawl fish catches as zero, and interpolated linearly to 1965. FAO FishStat contains data on demersal species for the period 1970-1992 only. In the absence of any alternative, we considered these data to be realistic. Indeed, none of the documents available on Corsican fisheries allowed us to make an independent estimate of the bottom-trawl and trammelnet fisheries catches.

Catches per fisher and catches per vessel (CPUE) for the period 1970-1992 were calculated by dividing catches of bottom-dwelling fish reported to FAO by the number of fishers or vessels (Figure 2b). CPUE for the 1950-1970 and 1993-2008 periods were then estimated by extrapolation of the trends of 1970-1992 CPUE time-series. The resulting CPUE data for the 1950-1970 and 1993-2008 periods were then multiplied by the number of fishers or vessels (Figure 2). Our estimate of total catch used the average values of these two catch time-series (one based on CPUE per fisher, one on CPUE per boat), which was then split evenly to create the bottom-trawl and trammelnets components.

Trammelnet fishery

The taxonomic breakdown of trammelnet commercial species in the Bonifacio MPA (Figure 1) was studied by Mouillot et al. (2007) from 2000 to 2006. Given that there were no other studies available that included a taxonomic breakdown, we assumed that the percentage of each species remained the same for the entire 1950-2008 time-period, and were similar for the entire island. A recent study concluded that trammelnet discards were representing approximately 10% of total catches, in the MPA of Bonifacio (Rocklin et al., 2009). These discards are composed of damaged, non-marketable fish. We used this study to estimate the taxonomic breakdown of these discards.


 

7 / Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Harper and Zeller

Bottom-trawl fishery

We assumed that the species composition of landed bottom-trawl catches were similar to the trammelnet fishery. However, we acknowledge that the species composition can vary significantly between the continental shelf and the slope. For higher depths (on the slope), many other species such as Nephrops norvegicus, Etmopterus spinax, Galeus melastomus, Merluccius merluccius or Trigla lyra can indeed account for a large part of the catch (Riutort, pers. obs.; Le Manach, pers. obs.). However, as it was not possible to estimate the percentage of each species or the importance of slope bottom-trawling, we did not take these observations into account. To estimate the bycatch by the artisanal bottom-trawl fishery, we used a bycatch rate of 40%, given by Machias et al. (2001) and Sanchez et al. (2004) for geographically close and similar fisheries. The MEDITS database (Bertrand et al., 1998) - 2009 update - was used to estimate the bycatch taxonomic breakdown. We assumed that non-commercial species occurring in this database were bycatch species, e.g., Spicara spp., Scyliorhinus spp., Raja spp., Micromesistius poutassou, Capros aper. Furthermore, as fishers land a portion of non-targeted bycatch, notably for their personal consumption and soupe de roche (‗rockfish soup‘), we conservatively assumed that 20% of the bycatch was landed, but unreported, and that the remainder (80%) was discarded.

Recreational fisheries: residents and tourists

To estimate recreational catches by Corsicans, we used a ‗Fermi solution‘, i.e., an approach pioneered by the physicist Enrico Fermi, to estimate unknown quantities from limited data (von Baeyer, 1993; Pauly, 2010). Thus, based on local knowledge (Culioli, pers. obs.; Riutort, pers. obs.), we estimated three anchor points, for 1950, 1980 and 2008. For 1980, we assumed that 30% of the total population, i.e., 76,000 out of 255,000 inhabitants, was potentially recreational fishers. Of these potential fishers, we assumed that 15% were actually fishers, and that they were on average fishing once a month, with yields of 4 kg per trip. For 2008, we used the same assumption that 30% of the total population, i.e., 84,000 out of 280,000 inhabitants, were potentially recreational fishers, but that the proportion of actual fishers increased to 25%. As local residents report that there are less fish now than in the 1980s, we assumed that fishers currently fish on average only 10 times a year, with yields of 1 kg per trip. For 1950, we assumed a stable CPUE and fishing effort compared to 1980, and derived total catches from the total population size.

Similarly, our estimate of recreational catches by tourists was based on the annual number of tourists, and assuming that sport fishing became more attractive in the 1990s. We conservatively assumed that 5% of tourists were catching on average 1 kg·year-1 for the 1950-1990 period, and that 8% of tourists were catching on average 1.5 kg·year-1 for the 1991-2008 period. Given that each tourist currently stays on average 10.3 days in Corsica, these assumptions seem reasonable (Anon., 2010).

Pelagic fisheries

Three pelagic fisheries are taking place in Corsican waters. However, information is scarce and no studies enabled us to re-estimate their total catches. Therefore, we included data as provided to FAO in our total reconstruction (except for small pelagics – see below).

Swordfish

Swordfish (Xiphias gladius) started to be targeted by artisanal longliners in the 1980s (Regional Committee of Corsican Marine Fisheries, 2009; Riutort, unpub. data). However, as tonnages are likely small (15-20 t·year-1; Riutort, unpub. data), it is possible that these catches are accounted for in official FAO statistics as ‗marine fish nei‘ (FAO, 2009).

Small pelagics

"Blue fish" (i.e., sardines, anchovies and mackerels) are also fished along the Corsican coast. Several studies report substantial catches during the 1960s and 1970s in Corsica and along the French mainland (Maurin, 1965; Bonnet, 1973; Pichot and Aldebert, 1978). It is worth noting that FAO data include sardine statistics only for 1972-1976 and 2006; data for other years being either non-existent or unrealistically

low. However, older Corsican residents remember very abundant sardine and anchovy catches during the 1950-1960s, most of which were exported to the mainland (Riutort, unpub. data). For the period 1950-1971, we therefore used the average catches for the period 1972-1976, and kept the rest of the time-period unchanged.


8 / Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Harper and Zeller

Tuna

Maurin (1965) reports 100 tonnes of tuna caught in 1963 by Corsicans. However, he suggests that the tourism industry already accounted for a significant part of unreported catches, although he did not elaborate on this topic. Tuna may also be reported to FAO as ‗marine fish nei‘, and annual catches are likely very low or up to 15 tonnes (Riutort, unpub. data).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Figure 3: Reconstructed catches of lobsters and associated discards for Corsica, 1950-2008. The dotted line represents official lobster landings data supplied to FAO.

Lobster fishery

As expected, our lobster catch reconstruction is very different from official statistics: our values are on average 16 times higher than data provided to FAO, and show a very different pattern over time (Figure 3). Lobster catches decreased from 300 t·year-1 in 1954 to 80 t·year-1 for 1959-1960. Then, catches increased again to 300 t·year-1 by 1962. At this time, a new (unspecified) crash occurred and catches dropped to 100 tonnes annually, staying at that level until the late 1970s. By 1984, catches increased to 250 t·year-1. Since then, catches have been decreasing, reaching 80 t·year-1 by the early 2000s. However, it is worth noting that catches currently seem to be increasing. Overall, the trend of the number of fishers and vessels (Figure 2b), and lobster catches (Figure 3) show a similar pattern, which confirms that this fishery is of great importance in Corsica and largely accounts for much of the fishing pressure.

Fluctuations in lobster catches may be partly explained by new policies and gear modifications, along with biological features (e.g., larval migration; Pere et al., 2011). The first crash in the 1950s likely resulted from increasing fishing pressure, and the following increase in catches is likely the result of a gear change from traps to trammelnets, which increased the CPUE. In 1968, policy-makers decided to close the lobster fishery between the 1st of October and 28th of February each year, which probably played a significant role in the stabilization of catches during the 1970s. Finally, new vessels were introduced in the early 1980s and were responsible for increased fishing effort. This increase is likely to have contributed to the increase in catches until 1984, then to the decrease in catches observed until the mid-2000s.

Figure 4: Reconstructed catches and associated bycatch (landed and discarded) for the demersal finfish fishery by the two main gears (trammelnet and bottom-trawler) in Corsica, 1950-2008. The dotted line represents official landings data supplied to FAO.


9 / Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Harper and Zeller

In the late 1970s, nine small marine protected areas (some of them no longer existing; Figure 1) were created, which also possibly led to the catch increases in the late 1970s early 1980s (Figure 3). The current decrease, which started around 1984, may be due to several factors, such as the decreasing number of fishers, or increasing fishing effort. It seems there is an increase in catches during the last few years. Such an increase could be due to biological parameters (e.g., larval migration), but no data were available to assess the validity of this assumption.

Artisanal demersal fishery

Demersal catches totaled an estimated 56,500 tonnes, compared to only 18,800 tonnes reported to FAO (Figure 4). Catches fluctuated, but declined overall from approximately 1,300 t·year-1 in 1950 to 500 t·year-1 in the late 2000s. Bycatch followed a different trend, totaling 10,300 tonnes and peaking around 250 t·year-1 in the 1980s due to the increasing number of trawlers. Bycatch amounts in the 1950s and the 2000s are similar, slightly above 100 t·year-1 (Figure 4).

Figure 5: Reconstructed catches by recreational fishers in Corsica, 1950-2008. Anchor points are indicated by closed circles.

Unlike our reconstruction for the lobster fishery (above), the reconstruction of artisanal bottom-trawl fishery catches was mainly based on official statistics. The main novelty in this result comes from the gaps in time-series originally supplied to FAO being filled in. Also, a significant part of total catches (18%) were previously unreported and are now reported as bycatch (either discarded or landed; Figure 4).

Recreational fisheries: residents and tourists

Recreational fisheries were estimated to catch 35,150 tonnes, of which 80% was taken by local resident fishers, and 20% by tourists (Figure 5). These catches were previously not included in statistics provided to FAO.

Based on our assumptions, we estimated that recreational catches by residents were the highest in 1950, with 612 t·year-1, and then declined to 210 t·year-1 by 2008 (Figure 5). On the other hand, recreational catches by tourists were estimated to have increased during the last two decades, increasing from 17 t·year-1 in 1950 to 360 t·year-1 by 2008 (Figure 5).

Figure 6: Catches in Corsican waters, showing a) reconstructed total catches versus landings data as supplied to FAO; and b) taxonomic breakdown (top 10 species) of reconstructed total catches in Corsica, 1950-2008. The ‗others‘ group includes Scorpaena scofa, Phycis spp., Pagellus, spp., Labridae, Serranus spp., Seriola dumerili, Zeus faber, as well as other fish species of lower importance in term of percentage, and species of invertebrates.


 

10 / Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Harper and Zeller

Overall reconstruction

Reconstructed total Corsican fisheries catches total over 118,700 tonnes since 1950, compared to only 23,700 tonnes reported to FAO by local fisheries authorities. Overall, total catches appear to be steadily decreasing from approximately 2,800 t·year-1 in 1950 to 1,200 t·year-1 by 2008, interrupted by a peak catch of over 3,000 t·year-1 in 1975 (Figure 6a and Appendix Table A1). This decrease seems linked to the decline in both fishers and vessel numbers, but also to declines in fish abundance along the Corsican coast.

Official statistics likely accounted for commercial (artisanal) fisheries only, that is, red spiny lobster and bottom-trawl fisheries. Recreational fisheries by Corsicans, or by tourists, were not considered by official authorities. Finally, we highlighted the existence of discards (for red lobster and bottom-trawl fisheries), which are generally not included in reported statistics (Zeller et al., 2011).

This improved accounting of total catches (versus reported commercial landings) is also evident in the improved taxonomic accounting provided by our study (Figure 6b). Data reported by FAO on behalf of Corsica, besides being of poor quality, also had a poor taxonomic breakdown. Species present in these official data were reported as arbitrary, according to the local fisheries literature. In contrast, we have been able to assign catches to over 30 taxa, of which each had catches allocated in accordance to the literature (Figure 6b and Appendix Table A2).

This study provides an estimate of total fisheries catches in Corsican waters since 1950, and although some sectors such as the pelagic fisheries have not been dealt with in detail, two major conclusions emerge from our work: (1) historical events, changes in gear and emergence of new fisheries illustrate that, despite being assumed to be one of the areas of the Mediterranean with the lowest fishing pressure (Riutort, 1994; Relini et al., 1999), Corsican waters may be exposed to higher fishing pressure than previsously assumed; and (2) our results suggest that Corsicans seem to be much more involved in marine resource exploitation than it appears in the literature and in official statistics.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This is a product of the Sea Around Us project, a scientific collaboration between the University of British Columbia and the Pew Environment Group. We thank Jacques Bertrand (Ifremer) for sharing information and knowledge.

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Machias, A., Vassilopoulou, V., Vatsos, D., Bekas, P., Kallianiotis, A., Papaconstantinou, C. and Tsimenides, N. (2001) Bottom trawl discards in the northeastern Mediterranean Sea. Fisheries Research 53(2): 181-195.

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13 / Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Harper and Zeller

 

Appendix Table A1: Annual catches by Corsican fisheries.

Domestic fisheries (t)

Domestic fisheries (t)

Year Data reported to FAO

Reconstructed catches

1950

0

2759

1951

0

2751

1952

0

2744

1953

0

2736

1954

0

2728

1955

0

2666

1956

0

2603

1957

0

2540

1958

0

2475

1959

0

2478

1960

0

2484

1961

0

2634

1962

0

2740

1963

0

2698

1964

0

2657

1965

0

2615

1966

0

2506

1967

0

2427

1968

0

2422

1969

0

2421

1970

945

2373

1971

784

2204

1972

1280

2206

1973

966

1757

1974

1719

2772

1975

2128

3195

1976

1632

2647

1977

625

1457

1978

759

1662

1979

607

1450

1980

1012

1968

1981

899

1836

1982

1100

2109

1983

986

1956

1984

967

1930

1985

1042

1934

1986

895

1746

1987

811

1672

1988

1093

2094

1989

604

1473

1990

574

1462

1991

584

1469

1992

502

1358

1993

220

1540

1994

137

1482

1995

99

1468

1996

96

1448

1997

85

1433

1998

74

1418

1999

59

1404

2000

28

1370

2001

26

1342

2002

22

1314

2003

21

1287

2004

23

1259

2005

15

1243

2006

281

1482

2007

0

1194

2008

0

1226


14 / Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Harper and Zeller

 

 

Appendix Table A2: Six most important taxa caught by domestic fisheries in Corsica‘s EEZ, 1950-2008.

Year

Palinurus elephas

Sardina pilchardus

Diplodus spp.

Dentex dentex

Scorpaena scrofa

Phycis spp.

Othersa

1950

375

387

189

171

165

106

1366

1951

373

387

187

169

163

104

1368

1952

372

387

186

167

160

102

1369

1953

370

387

185

165

157

101

1371

1954

369

387

184

164

154

99

1371

1955

325

387

183

161

150

96

1363

1956

281

387

182

159

147

94

1354

1957

237

387

181

157

143

91

1343

1958

193

387

180

154

139

89

1332

1959

153

387

179

156

143

91

1368

1960

153

387

178

155

142

91

1378

1961

259

387

177

156

145

93

1416

1962

363

387

176

154

143

92

1424

1963

324

387

176

153

141

90

1426

1964

285

387

176

153

139

89

1428

1965

246

387

176

152

137

88

1429

1966

204

387

176

148

130

83

1377

1967

163

387

176

146

126

81

1347

1968

163

387

176

146

125

80

1343

1969

163

387

178

147

125

80

1342

1970

160

387

179

145

119

76

1306

1971

150

387

182

137

100

64

1184

1972

146

420

184

136

95

61

1164

1973

133

265

186

125

70

45

933

1974

184

348

189

170

164

105

1612

1975

192

548

191

178

178

114

1794

1976

179

328

188

165

154

99

1534

1977

132

70

184

124

68

44

835

1978

150

2

181

137

102

65

1025

1979

154

3

177

125

78

50

862

1980

199

15

174

147

131

84

1217

1981

209

3

172

140

118

75

1120

1982

241

0

169

152

146

93

1307

1983

248

0

167

143

129

82

1187

1984

263

6

165

140

124

79

1154

1985

191

6

162

143

134

86

1212

1986

178

13

160

133

114

73

1076

1987

169

13

165

131

105

67

1022

1988

190

13

171

154

148

95

1325

1989

150

7

179

126

80

51

879

1990

145

6

188

129

76

49

869

1991

142

7

187

129

77

50

876

1992

133

7

186

124

66

42

799

1993

141

7

185

133

86

55

932

1994

135

6

184

130

81

52

894

1995

128

8

183

129

80

51

888

1996

129

4

182

128

79

51

875

1997

130

4

181

127

78

50

864

1998

132

4

180

125

76

49

852

1999

133

4

180

124

75

48

841

2000

125

0

179

123

73

47

824

2001

118

0

178

122

71

45

809

2002

110

0

177

120

69

44

794

2003

103

0

176

119

67

43

780

2004

95

0

175

118

65

42

765

2005

98

0

174

116

63

41

751

2006

83

192

173

115

62

39

819

2007

88

0

172

114

60

38

723

2008

135

0

171

112

58

37

712

‘Others’ comprises Pagellus, spp., Labridae, Serranus spp., Spicara spp., Raja spp., other clupeiformes, Mullus spp., other Scorpaena, Maja squinado, Sepia spp., Homarus gammarus, Lophius spp., Capros aper, Micromesistius poutassou, Scyliorhinus spp., other miscellaneous marine fish, cephalopods and crustaceans.

 


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