Starting/ending date: 01/09/2009-31/08/2010
Financing: 50.000 €
European project
Dr C. Maravelias, Marine Biological Resources

The 20th Century Evolution on Mediterranean Exploited Demersal Resources under increasing fishing disturbance and environmental change.

Exploited fish and shellfish communities and populations in the Mediterranean have been constantly changing over times due both to increasing disturbances and stresses from fisheries and other anthropogenic sources like pollution, nutrients enrichments and habitats deteriorations. Moreover, changes of the exploited populations have been occurring in parallel to possible more general changes of the marine biota and marine environment as a consequence of global warming and introduction of invasive alien species. Most of these alterations have been so gradual and subtle that their effects, partially also masked by the high diversity of Mediterranean fish and shellfish communities, have occurred practically unnoticed until recently.
It is widely recognised that all these different sources of disturbances and stresses may have determined directional unknown changes in the marine ecosystem and in the biological parameters of the different populations, even on a decadal timescale, with possible regime shifts and shifting baselines. Fisheries management deals with evolving stocks and ecosystems. Though long-time series of scientific quantitative data may be lacking or are geographically scattered, applying of historical, empirical and anecdotal evidences may help to make some worthy statements about recent past times both of Mediterranean fisheries and marine exploited populations and ecosystems.
The aim of the study is to undertake an evaluation of past ecosystems and populations, over the last 100 years, by using scientific, commercial and anthropological information in order to set up restoration goals and designing rebuilding strategies with the view not only to preserve the biological and ecological assets but also to identify strategies for the restoration of economic and social benefits.
The final objective of the study is to track the quantitative and qualitative “history” of demersal fisheries and exploited marine animal populations and communities from the early 20th century in the Western, Central and Eastern Mediterranean Sea both in EU, international and non-EU waters.