Evaluation of the fish populations vulnerable to fishing in Menorca’s coastal waters

€8,850.00 awarded

Organisation requesting funding:

OBSAM – Menorca’s Socio-environmental Observatory.

Issue of Concern being addressed:

Lack of knowledge of current fish populations after 7-year period of no studies being carried out.                             

Project Overview:

In the year 2000, OBSAM created the “Follow-up Network for Menorca’s Marine wildlife” which offered support and research for projects aiming to improve the knowledge and management of Menorca as a Biosphere Reserve. One of the projects within this networks was the constant monitoring of fish populations vulnerable to fishing in Menorca’s coastal waters. However, due to the financial crisis, these studies were all stopped in 2011.

However, with the improvement of Menorca’s financial situation, the push in environmental priorities from the local Consell, the application to make a new area on the south of the island a Marine Reserve, the application to extend the Biosphere Reserve to Menorca’s coastal waters and the Balearic Governments decision to re-start monitoring the fish populations in the Marine Reserve in the north of island, it seems the ideal time for this research to be carried out.

OBSAM’s last study, carried out in 2011, clearly shows how the fish populations within the Marine Reserve on the north of the island, were more than doubling the rest of the island’s fish populations. This demonstrates the positive effect that these protected fishing areas have on the fish populations and their ecosystems. However, it is now important to understand the current situation and what effect the lack of monitoring in the last 7 years, has had on the different areas around the island.

Project collaborations:

OBSAM is working with the Biosphere Reserve agency, the Balearic government and the Estación Jaume Ferrer (marine research Centre on Menorca) in order to ensure full collaboration on this project both in terms of staff, coordination, funds, required materials etc.

General project objective:

The fish species vulnerable to fishing on Menorca’s coast have suffered constant over-fishing.  Therefore, this project aims to update and assess the state of conservation of the populations of fish vulnerable to fishing, in the Natural Parc of S’albufera d’es Grau, on the north coast and the Isla del Aire on the south coast, with the objective of informing decisions made with regards to the protection of these areas.

The projects specific objectives are:

  • Assess the effects of 7 years of fishing management in the marine area of the Natural Parc of S’albufera d’es Grau.
  • Assess the fish populations in the marine areas of the Isla del Aire, following its proposal as a new Marine Reserve area, and evaluate the current tendencies and populations of the fish vulnerable to fishing within this area, before becoming a Marine Reserve.
  • Re-activate OBSAM’s “Follow-up Network for Menorca’s Marine wildlife”
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders: Estación Jaume Ferrer de la Mola (COB-IEO), Parque Natural de s’Albufera des Grau (Balearic Government) y Agencia de Reserva de Biosfera (Consell Insular de Menorca).
  • Provide the necessary information to prevent possible ecological imbalances
  • Assess the level of fishing pressure being placed on the rocky bottom fish populations via visual censors.
  • Identify sensitive and/or problematic areas as well as detect invasive species (fish, algae or invertebrates)
  • Update statistics in order to determine different tendencies going forward.

 

Project phases:

  1. Preparation for the field research
  2. Field research
  3. Data analysis

 

Chronology:

June 2018 to September 2018