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GCP/RER/010/ITA/MSM-05 (MedSudMed Technical Documents n°5)
Report of the MedSudMed Expert Consultation on Small Pelagic Fishes: Stock Identification and Oceanographic Processes Influencing their Abundance and Distribution

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 Authors:  Levi, D. - Bahri, T. - Basilone, G. - Ben Abdallah, L. - Bonanno, A. - Gaamour, A. - Patti, B. - Zarrad, R.
 Pages:  132

Publication year:

 Keywords: expert consultation - oceanographic processes - small pelagic fish - stock identification

The Expert Consultation on Small Pelagic Fish: Stock Identification and Oceanographic Processes Influencing Their Abundance and Distribution was held from 1 to 3 October 2003 in Salammbô, Tunisia, and was hosted by the Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer (INSTM). The meeting was attended by 19 experts from 5 institutions in the Project Area, as well as representatives of the FAO Regional Projects AdriaMed and Copemed. Fourteen communications were presented; they covered such issues as results of stock assessment carried out by echo-surveys in the Project area, spatial distribution of the main target species, results of the acoustic identification of small pelagic fish species, reproductive strategy and reproductive biology (reproductive cycle, maturity stages, age and growth), small pelagic fisheries, spatial distribution and modelling of fishing effort, influence of meteorological and hydrographical factors on small pelagic fish. The experience of the AdriaMed Project in promoting international cooperative research on shared small-pelagic fish stocks of the Adriatic Sea was presented, as well as the main results of the Workshop on Environmental Variability and Small-Pelagic Fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea organized by the Copemed Project. The priority list of species that future activities should concentrate on was discussed in the light of the GFCM priorityspecies list, economic and ecological importance, and taking into account the peculiarities of each country. A short synthesis of gaps in the knowledge of the biotic and abiotic factors and oceanographic processes influencing the distribution and abundance of small pelagic fish species was made. The main gaps identified concern: the migration of adults, transport of eggs and larvae, and the effect of abiotic factors. Many data are presently collected during the echo-surveys, but they remain insufficient to conduct ecosystem-based studies. The lack of interdisciplinary studies in the area remains one of the main gaps. A series of proposals was discussed, dealing with: (i) spatial distribution and stock assessment of small-pelagic-fish populations; (ii) biological and genetic studies; (iii) eggs and larvae; (iv) relationships between biotic and abiotic factors and life-cycles of small pelagic fish species; (v) fishery analysis and catch and effort data. The importance of developing a functional data base for acoustic data resulting from echo-surveys was discussed and agreed upon.

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