Main content area

Reconstruction of Italy’s marine fisheries removals and fishing capacity, 1950–2010

Piroddi, Chiara, Gristina, Michele, Zylich, Kyrstn, Greer, Krista, Ulman, Aylin, Zeller, Dirk, Pauly, Daniel
Fisheries research 2015 v.172 pp. 137-147
artisanal fishing, fisheries statistics, fishery resources, marine fisheries, traditional technology, Italy, Mediterranean Sea
Italy has the highest catches of all countries fishing in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the availability of fisheries statistics at the national level, reported catch amounts account only for a portion of total fisheries removals. This study aims to provide an estimate of 1) catches for all marine fishing sectors; 2) fishing effort in the major Italian fishing fleets; and 3) catch per unit of effort from 1950 to 2010. Catches were estimated using a catch-reconstruction approach that looked at all types of fisheries removals: from reported and unreported landings (from both industrial and artisanal fisheries) to recreational landings and discards. The reconstructed total catch for the 1950–2010 time period was 2.6 times the amount reported by the FAO on behalf of Italy. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) landings constituted 53.9% of the reconstructed total catch, followed by reported catches (38.8%) and unreported discards (7.3%). Industrial fisheries were dominant, with 79.1% of the reconstructed total removals, followed by the artisanal catch (16.8%), with recreational (3.2%) and subsistence (0.9%) fisheries making very small contributions. Catch per unit of effort declined since the early 1950s. Our study is the first that estimated total Italian fisheries removals and fishing capacity using a holistic approach; such approach is particularly important in areas like the Mediterranean Sea, where the multi-species and multi-gear nature of fisheries make the assessment of single-species fisheries resources and their management difficult.