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Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Seas - Advances in Research and Technologies

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In line with an ecosystem approach to fisheries, any attempt at adopting sustainable fisheries should involve ensuring the conservation of marine species whose populations’ survival can be directly and indirectly affected by fishing. About 85% of assessed stocks are fished at biologically unsustainable ...

In line with an ecosystem approach to fisheries, any attempt at adopting sustainable fisheries should involve ensuring the conservation of marine species whose populations’ survival can be directly and indirectly affected by fishing. About 85% of assessed stocks are fished at biologically unsustainable levels, and the overall level of overfishing is around 2–3 times of FMSY. Fish population processes are complex and their understanding requires a multidisciplinary approach. Present-day fisheries management aims to optimize exploitation rates to achieve management objectives in the context of an ecosystem approach. This requires that models used for assessment and prediction integrate ecosystem processes with traditional population dynamics. The incorporation of oceanographic information and modern molecular techniques provides an opportunity to integrate physical environmental variables and genetic information, which together with GIS informational tools, has the potential to provide a flexible modeling approach to stock delineation.

In both the Mediterranean and Black Seas, the effect of fishing can be exacerbated by the ongoing rapid warming trend, which is believed to act synergistically with fisheries exploitation. For all these reasons, the development of the EAF in the Mediterranean and Black Seas is considered a priority. Despite the increasing use of microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA-based markers in fishery research over recent decades, the gains in discrimination power afforded by the combination of different genetic markers to address complex processes, e.g. distribution shifts, population expansions in response to climatic fluctuations, overfishing and fishery collapses, has still not been widely realized in current fishery research tasks. Molecular markers are essential in determining genetic variation and biodiversity with a high degree of accuracy and reproducibility. High genetic diversity is key to the survival of fish populations, increasing their resistance to various stressors on the environment (eg. climate change, contaminants, and pathogens).

In this Research Topic, we, therefore, welcome contributions relating to:

• The conservation of vulnerable and endangered species incidentally captured by commercial fisheries – technical and managerial measures
• The management and co-management options of fisheries – critical analysis of available case studies
• Spatial management measures
• Socio-economic analysis, bio-economy modeling
• The implementation of molecular genetic methods for assessing the population-genetic structure of commercial fish species
• The development of indicators for the conservation of commercially exploited fish species – bio-economical impacts of fisheries and environmental factors on the resources
• Incomes alternatives for fishers via the “blue growth” concept to reduce fishing efforts on the marine populations by measurable outputs
• Studies on fish behavior during fishing operations with different equipment with a view of reducing the impacts of fishing gear on targeted and untargeted species
• The determination and forecasting of new indicators on the interactions of vulnerable stocks and environmental factors
• Innovative fishing methods and gear for more selective fisheries


Keywords: Fishery management, Conservation, Mediterranean and Black Seas, Innovative technologies


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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