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Maritime Forum

Study 2008-11 lot 4 Understanding size developments of exploited stocks and ecosystems in the Mediterranean by using private fishermen’s “tally-books” and historical info

In the lack of scientific quantitative data, empirical fishermen’s knowledge and other available historical information will be compiled in order to identify and interpret long-time changes in the Mediterranean demersal fisheries and ecosystems.

Why this study?

As a consequence of human activities and of general changes of the marine environment (global warming, alien invasions) the exploited fish and shellfish communities in the Mediterranean have been constantly changing over times. Long time-series of scientific quantitative data are generally lacking in the Mediterranean. Historical, empirical and anecdotal information may prove useful to assess recent changes on exploited Mediterranean stocks and ecosystems.


The main aim of this study is to undertake an evaluation of past ecosystems and populations in the Mediterranean, over the last 100 years, in order to set up restoration goals and design rebuilding strategies. Another objective is to track the ‘history’ of demersal fisheries and stocks from the early 20th century in the entire Mediterranean basin.


The contractors should do an inventory and identify reliability of available scientific, commercial, statistical data, historical sources, and private fishermen’s “tally-books” or similar sources of data for the different Mediterranean areas. Structured interviews with fishermen will also be conducted to further incorporate their empirical knowledge. All this information will be collated and used to describe the main demersal fisheries, fishing practices, and main fishing gear characteristics. Appropriate statistical and modelling tools will be used to analyze the available information in order to identify and interpret long-time trends in demersal and benthonic fish and shellfish stocks and describe the main relevant environmental drivers. Demersal stock collapses and the loss of keystone pelagic and demersal species over the past 100 years will be identified. Permanent and compatible electronic databases will be created in an open source format so that all compiled information will be available for future scientific needs.


The duration of the study shall not exceed 12 months from the date of signature of the contract.


The maximum budget allocated for this study is 200.000 Euros, covering all expenses.