Gap analysis on the biology of Mediterranean marine fishesReport as inadecuate

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We estimated the current level of knowledge concerning several biological characteristics of the Mediterranean marine fishes by carrying out a gap analysis based on information extracted from the literature, aiming to identify research trends and future needs in the field of Mediterranean fish biology that can be used in stock assessments, ecosystem modeling and fisheries management. Based on the datasets that emerged from the literature review, there is no information on any biological characteristic for 43% n = 310 of the Mediterranean fish species, whereas for an additional 15% n = 109 of them there is information about just one characteristic. The gap between current and desired knowledge defined here as having information on most biological characteristics for at least half of the Mediterranean marine fishes is smaller in length-weight relationships, which have been studied for 43% of the species, followed by spawning 39%, diet 29%, growth 25%, maturity 24%, lifespan 19% and fecundity 17%. The gap is larger in natural mortality for which information is very scarce 8%. European hake Merluccius merluccius, red mullet Mullus barbatus, annular seabream Diplodus annularis, common pandora Pagellus erythrinus, European anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus, European pilchard Sardina pilchardus and bogue Boops boops were the most studied species, while sharks and rays were among the least studied ones. Only 25 species were fully studied, i.e. there was available information on all their biological characteristics. The knowledge gaps per characteristic varied among the western, central and eastern Mediterranean subregions. The number of available records per species was positively related to total landings, while no relationship emerged with its maximum reported length, trophic level and commercial value. Future research priorities that should be focused on less studied species e.g. sharks and rays and mortality-fecundity instead of length-weight relationships, as well as the economy of scientific sampling using the entire catch to acquire data on as many biological characteristics as possible are discussed.

Author: Donna Dimarchopoulou, Konstantinos I. Stergiou, Athanassios C. Tsikliras



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