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Fish and fishing monitoring methods and indicators in Marine Protected Areas in Tunisia

  • Ben Lamine, Emna
Publication Date
Dec 05, 2017
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Scientific monitoring is the key to reliable information in Tunisian future MPAs, where management plans are being established. This crucial step comes with the need to choose appropriate methods, metrics and indicators for monitoring parameter that are important to assess MPAs effectivness. Therefore, the purpose of this manuscript is to select, adapt, test and propose fish assemblage and fishing monitoring methods and indicators in order to propose a monitoring strategy for four Tunisian future MPAs (locations). Selection of methods and indicators from literature was made according to their feasibility, cost-effectiveness and suitability with future MPAs objectives. Therefore, data on fish assemblage and fishing activities were collected using five methods: (1) Transects with variable width (TVW); (2) Fish Assemblage Sampling Technique (FAST); (3) Questionnaires and landing catch monitoring; (4) Experimental fishing; (5) photo-surveillance method. Results shows some highlights that were considered for proposing the monitoring strategy: (1) the usefulness of adopting appropriate sampling models, BACI ("Before After Control Impact"), using standard TVW, to test hypotheses related to the effectiveness of the future MPAs, (2) the relatively low values of biomass in all studied locations in comparison with other Mediterranean MPAs (3) the high potential of citizen science for fish monitoring in Tunisia using easy-to-use FAST method, after testing its coherence with standard TVW method, (4) a high percentage of illegal fishing practice (recreational fishers that commercialize their catch), in the studied locations, (5) the competition of recreational and illegal fishing with commercial-small scale (CSS) one, on vulnerable and high economic value species, and (6) low biomasses, carnivores proportions, large fish proportion in catch of CSS using experimental fishing method. Therefore, the proposed strategy for fish and fishing monitoring for Tunisian future MPAs is based on the collaboration between scientists, stakeholders (fishermen, recreational divers) and managers, which can be useful to implement high compliance and MPAs acceptance levels, especially when it comes to creating a future MPAs network.

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