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Report of the Workshop on elasmobranch conservation in the Mediterranean and Black Sea

GFCM Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). Subcommittee on Stock Assessment (SCSA). Sète, France, 10–12 December 2014









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    Elasmobranchs of the mediterranean and black sea: status, ecology and biology, biographic analysis 2012
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    The authors have compiled published information on taxonomy, distribution, status, statistics, fisheries, bycatch, biologic and ecologic parameters on age and growth, food and feeding habits, reproductive biology and stock assessment of elasmobranchs in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. This bibliographic analysis, through 661 papers dealing with elasmobranchs in the GFCM area, shows that cartilaginous species, including sharks, rays and chimaeras, are by far the most endangered group of marine fish in the Mediterranean Sea, with 31 species (40 percent of all) critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable. The biological characteristics of elasmobranchs (low fecundity, late maturity, slow growth) make them more vulnerable to fishing pressure than most teleost fish. Overfishing, wide use of non-selective fishing practices and habitat degradation are leading to dramatic declines of these species in the Mediterranean Sea. In general, elasmobranchs are not targeted but are caught incidentally. In many fisheries they are, however, often landed and marketed. The study also highlights the following points: – Works are concentrated mainly in the western Mediterranean. Few works concern endangered species and those of the GFCM priority list; – Much systematic confusion persists for some species and some others are doubtful; – The IUCN red list shows clearly the vulnerability of elasmobranchs and the lack of data; – A decline in cartilaginous fish speci es landings has been observed while fishing effort has generally increased; – A standardization of methods and expression of results on the biology should be generalized in the whole Mediterranean; – Papers on biologic parameters concern few species primarily in the occidental and central Mediterranean areas. Therefore, recommendations to fill gaps in order to protect and manage elasmobranchs stocks are proposed in this document. In fact, better understanding of the composition of incidental and targeted catches of sharks by commercial fisheries and biological and ecological parameters are fundamentally important for the conservation of these populations. Moreover, problems encountered by elasmobranchs in the GFCM area are highlighted and conservation measures are suggested.
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    Monitoring incidental catch of vulnerable species in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea: Methodology for data collection 2019
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    Bycatch – a term widely used to refer to the part of catch unintentionally captured during a fishing operation, in addition to target species, and consisting of discards and incidental catches of vulnerable species – is considered one of the most important threats to the profitability and sustainability of fisheries, as well as to the conservation of the marine environment and ecosystems. In the Mediterranean, studies on the incidental catch of vulnerable species cover only a small portion of the total fishing activity. In addition, there are several important knowledge gaps for many types of fishing gear, and several countries and/or subregions, as well as on temporal scales, and only a few measures are in place that address the protection of vulnerable species. Monitoring programmes and surveys on incidental catches, which follow a harmonized methodology allowing for results to be compared across subregions, are necessary to improve knowledge on the issue and to subsequently support the identification of potential mitigation methods and tools, and relevant management measures. This publication and the methodology contained herein aim to provide a framework for the development and implementation of an efficient, standardized data collection and monitoring system for all vulnerable species encountered in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, namely elasmobranchs, marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles, and macrobenthic invertebrates.
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    Report of the Fourteenth Session of the Scientific Advisory Committee, Sofia, Bulgaria, 20-24 February 2012/ Rapport de la quatorzième session du Comité Scientifique Consultatif, Sofia, Bulgarie, 20-24 février 2012 2012
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    The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) held its fourteenth session in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 20 to 24 February 2012. The session was attended by delegates from 19 Members of the Commission as well as observers from intergovernmental organizations together with Georgia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The Committee reviewed the topics addressed by the 11 technical meetings and the 4 Sub-Committees sessions held in the 2011–2012 intersessional period. These included proposals for fishery management measures, research programmes, data collection schemes, development of Management Plans for Red Coral and for Fishing Capacity as well as technical issues, in connection with the use of spatial based measures, Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data and the management related to by-catch of species of conservation concern as well as of discards of commercial and non-commercial species. The agreed priority actions to be undertaken in the Black Sea area were also appraised. Remarkable progress was noted on the definition of a new Task 2 for gathering biological information of catches and on the proposal to revisit the frame and scope of whole Task 1 given the problems of compliance detected. The Committee acknowledged also the progress made in undertaking joint stock assessments of selected demersal, small pelagic and elasmobranchs species and on the modification of the Stock Assessment Forms. The Committee was informed a bout the progress achieved on the process of modernizing GFCM legal and institutional framework through the creation of the ad hoc Task Force, including on its activities and work plan. The first Framework Program in support to this process was also introduced. With regard to the GFCM decision-making process the SAC agreed that a mechanism should be defined, to facilitate the adoption of recommendations. In this respect, an ad hoc meeting was convened to be held before the 36th Session (May 2012 ) to address this issue. The Committee decided to postpone the election of its Bureau until next session and agreed upon its workplan for 2012–2013.

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