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Characterization of purse seine fishery of Ziama Bay (Gulf of Béjaia, SW Mediterranean): Implications for sustainability management

Boubekri, Ibrahim, Amara, Rachid, Mazurek, Hubert
Ocean & coastal management 2019 v.175 pp. 79-89
Engraulis encrasicolus, Sardina pilchardus, aquacultural and fisheries equipment, coastal zone management, coasts, fisheries, fishery resources, fishing boats, interviews, laws and regulations, marine protected areas, national parks, sardines, seasonal variation, Algeria, Mediterranean region
The establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Algeria faces several obstacles, particularly lack of legislation and poor management of local resources. The attempt to establish an MPA at Taza (Gulf of Béjaia, SW Mediterranean) is part of a broader project to set up a network of MPAs in the Mediterranean basin. The MPA of Taza was first proposed by the staff of Taza National Park in 2000, who, with the support of the MedPAN (Network of Managers of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean) South Project (MSP), began promoting this initiative in 2009. This study analyzes the purse seine fishery in this coastal area through the study of landings and yields, in order to characterize one of the most important fishing activities in the Gulf of Béjaia. In addition, the study assesses the impact of non-purse seine vessels which has detrimental effects leading to a de facto open access fishery situation. Landings observation and interviews with purse seine fishers (i.e. vessels with a license to practice purse seining) were conducted from May 2013 to April 2014 to record catches, the characteristics of fishing gear, and the fishing grounds. At the same time, non-purse seine fishing vessels - that is, vessels without a license to practice purse seining - were also monitored. The purse seine fishery of Ziama shows a seasonal pattern in the selection of fishing grounds. The species most frequently landed by purse seine and non-purse seine vessels throughout the study period was the sardine (Sardina pilchardus). Other less frequently caught species such as the European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) make a seasonal appearance. This data could be useful to understand fishery dynamics and the behavior of fishers prior to the establishment of an MPA in a given zone.