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Reconstruction of catches, fisheries, and carrying capacity of Galician (NW Spain) small-scale fisheries

Sebastián Villasante, Rashid Sumaila, Maria do Carme Garcia-Negro and Gonzalo Rodríguez Rodriguez. 2010.


This paper examines the carrying capacity of the nine ecogeographic areas of the Galician(NW Spain) continental platform during the 1998–2007 period by (i) reconstructing fisheries catches and (ii) quantifying the amount of available primary production required (PPR)required to sustain small-scale (inshore and coastal) fisheries catches. The results obtained indicate a decline of the appropriation of PPR in the majority of the areas analyzed, with a high range of variability among them. The three areas that showed an increase of PPR in the last decade are Ría of Vigo, Fisterra, and A Mariña-lucense. Furthermore, Galician smallscale fisheries utilize ~15.1% of total primary production in the Ría of Vigo, ~7.2% in the Ría de Arousa (without mussel farming production) and ~17.3% in the Ría of A Coruña-Ferrol; these values are below the 24–35% estimated by Pauly and Christensen (1995). These last results mainly reflect the range of variability in the estimates of total primary production, the decline of total catches in the areas explored, and the reduction of catches of trophic level(TL) >3.25 species, which caused a decline in mean TL, mostly due to overexploitation of demersal species in recent years. Nevertheless, our PPR estimates should be considered conservative regarding that part of the discards and none of the illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU) are not included in the analysis. Both factors can cause underestimation of the footprint of fisheries and bias the estimated mean TLs of catches.

Keywords: reconstruction of catches, carrying capacity, small-scale fisheries, Galicia (NW Spain)

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