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The use of bottom longline on soft bottoms: An opportunity of development for fishing tourism along a coastal area of the Strait of Sicily (Mediterranean Sea)

Cillari, Tiziana, Falautano, Manuela, Castriota, Luca, Marino, Vanessa, Vivona, Pietro, Andaloro, Franco
Ocean & coastal management 2012 v.55 pp. 20-26
Boops, Pagellus, aquacultural and fisheries equipment, biomass, coasts, environmental sustainability, fisheries, fishermen, income, multicultural diversity, surveys, tourism, traditional technology, traditions, Mediterranean Sea, Sicily
The crisis of small-scale fisheries is causing the progressive abandonment of ancient fishing traditions and customs along a coastal area of the Strait of Sicily. For instance, worthwhile mentioning is the rapid decline in the use of bottom longline, which used to be one of the most popular gears in this area in past times. This study aims at investigating the potential of bottom longline for tourism purposes, in the perspective of recovering ancient fishing crafts. Experimental surveys were carried out to explore the effectiveness of this gear on soft bottoms, which are not usually exploited by local fishermen. An analysis of catches was carried out to assess their suitability within fishing tourism actions. The results gathered during the period of investigation demonstrate a reasonable variety of catches, with large-size specimens representing the bulk of captures. The highest values in terms of abundance and biomass were recorded for bogue Boops boops (L.) and axillary seabream Pagellus acarne (Risso). The possible enhancement of these two low commercial value species is discussed. Results also highlight the suitability of the use of bottom longline during tourism low seasons. The use of longline would produce several positive impacts in the framework of fishing tourism in the study area, such as for instance the creation of alternative sources of income for artisanal fishers, the enhancement of underexploited species in the perspective of environmental sustainability, the recovery and re-launch of a disappearing fishing gear, thus contributing to safeguard cultural diversity.