GAP2 scientists and fishermen conducted the second (ever) Adriatic Trawl Survey during August 2013 (video here). The survey’s results were presented at a public meeting on Friday 30th August. GAP2 Scientist Gianluca Franceschini reports.
The 2nd annual meeting, “Fish resources in the Veneto Region Territorial Waters” was held on Friday 30th August, 9.30-11.30am, at the Town Hall of Chioggia.
During the meeting, Saša Raicevich, the team leader of the Italian GAP2 case study, presented and discussed the results of the trawl survey performed last week; a survey which provided data for comparison against 2012.
The meeting was mainly attended by fishermen (some involved in GAP2, some not), but representatives of other stakeholders were also present: environmental and fishery assessors, port authorities, fisher associations, the director of the fish market, scientists of the University of Padova and a journalist from the local press.
On being introduced by lead scientist Otello Giovanardi, GAP2 scientist Saša Raicevich explained that last year’s catches (in Kg/h) were generally higher than this year’. However, breaking down the data for the six main commercial species (red mullet, whiting, cuttlefish, squid, musky octopus and mantis shrimp) showed that this loss was mainly due to very low catches of whiting and, to a lesser extent, squid. Recruits of red mullet (representing 60-70% of this species catch) were similar in quantities but were distributed far from the coast in 2013.
Overall, the two maritime compartments (Venice to the north and Chioggia to the south) varied from one another more in 2013 than 2012. Environmental data, collected from both CTD loggers mounted on nets, as well as from weather databases (wind stress, rain, river outflow) presented a possible explanation to our observations.
Next step will be the integration of fishery-independent information with data collected on-board by fishermen during their day-to-day activity (through the use of electronic log-books). This will strengthen the management proposals of the GAP2 Italian case study.
Saša ended his presentation by introducing a talk that will be held on the 16th of September in Chioggia by a dutch fisherman, involved in GAP2 as well. The fisherman will present new fishing techniques for flatfishes which dramatically reduce the amount of discards, as well as talking about improvements in marketing methods.
Back at the meeting, the concluding discussion with the audience was centered on management measures. As Saša explained, the data on red mullet (distribution and growth of recruits) could support a time extension of the fishing ban, say from 15th of July to 15th of September (compared to 22/07 to 31/08 of this year). Other issues debated included the fish market organization, fish prices and the hours spent at sea.
The meeting ended on Otello’s call to the pre-lunch party at the fish market’s bar, where the discussion was continued (and ended) in a relaxed atmosphere.