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Artisanal fisheries survey and artificial reef impact assessment: Coast of Languedoc-Roussillon, France

2010Artisanal fisheries survey and artificial reef impact assessment: Coast of LanguedoCRoussillon, FranceMILLER Anna (USA)
Organisation:University of Poitiers, Poitiers (FR) - Centre de Biologie et d’Ecologie Tropicale et Méditerranéenne, Univ. of Perpignan (FR)Supervisor :Philippe Lenfant (Univ. Perpignan)
Summary: The Catalan coast, located in the western Gulf of Lions in Languedoc-Roussillon, France, exhibits high species diversity for the Mediterranean Sea. This diversity supports multiple fishing industries, including artisanal fisheries, an important part of the fishing economy in Languedoc-Roussillon and the focus of this study. An artificial reef zone was installed in the northern region of the study zone in 2004/2005 with the goal of increasing fish stocks and protecting habitats from bottom-trawling. This survey of artisanal fisheries has been carried out for four years (2007-2010), with the goal of assessing the impacts of this artificial reef zone. Our first two objectives were to evaluate the status of the artisanal fishery in the 2010 field season and to investigate trends from the past four years. Through spatial analysis, we have identified distribution and hotspots of fishing effort, species diversity and catch per unit effort (CPUE) for five major fishing gear in 2010 (also referred to as “métier”, the French term encompassing gear and target species). We also found that CPUE decreased in one métier while both CPUE and fishing effort remained constant in the other four métiers over the past four years. We discuss the application of this analysis as a diagnostic for ecosystems-based management. Our third objective was to compare the difference of natural substrate to artificial reefs for artisanal fishery catches. We have identified patterns for fishing effort, catch per unit effort (CPUE), species richness and mean individual weight of fish between artificial reef and natural zones for two métiers, the red mullet gillnet (“rougetière”) and sole trammel net (“solière”). Rougetière nets demonstrated higher mean individual weight and solière nets showed higher CPUE in the artificial reef zone compared with natural zones. Results suggest that artificial reefs have different impacts on the studied variables, depending on the species. The artificial reefs seem to economically benefit local fishermen, particularly for both métiers analyzed.