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Small-scale coastal fisheries in European Seas are not what they were: Ecological, social and economic changes

Lloret, Josep; Cowx, Ian G.; Cabral, Henrique; Castro, Margarida; Font, Toni; Gonçalves, Jorge M.S.; Gordoa, Ana; Hoefnagel, Ellen; Mati?-Skoko, Sanja; Mikkelsen, Eirik; Morales-Nin, Beatriz; Moutopoulos, Dimitrios K.; Muñoz, Marta; dos Santos, Miguel Neves; Pintassilgo, Pedro; Pita, Cristina; Stergiou, Konstantinos I.; Ünal, Vahdet; Veiga, Pedro; Erzini, Karim


Josep Lloret

Ian G. Cowx

Henrique Cabral

Margarida Castro

Toni Font

Jorge M.S. Gonçalves

Ana Gordoa

Ellen Hoefnagel

Sanja Mati?-Skoko

Eirik Mikkelsen

Beatriz Morales-Nin

Dimitrios K. Moutopoulos

Marta Muñoz

Miguel Neves dos Santos

Pedro Pintassilgo

Cristina Pita

Konstantinos I. Stergiou

Vahdet Ünal

Pedro Veiga

Karim Erzini


© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Coastal, small-scale fisheries (SSF), whether artisanal (professional) or recreational, represent important socioeconomic activities across Europe that are currently undergoing a number of changes. This paper reviews and analyses the drivers of these changes, and makes recommendations for the future management of SSF. From the biological standpoint, the use of fishing gears that actively select certain species, sizes and sexes, the deployment of fishing gears on certain fragile habitats, the loss of fishing gears and the use of non-native species as bait are examples of how SSFs can threaten the sustainability of vulnerable coastal species and habitats. From a socioeconomic perspective, several factors are altering the traditional characteristics of coastal SSF. Among the most important is the growth of recreational fisheries in coastal waters and the disappearance of traditional low technology fisheries or their substitution by more mechanised, technical fisheries, which is leading to a loss of the traditional ecological knowledge held by artisanal fishers. On the other hand, the increasing competition between artisanal and recreational fisheries, and between them and commercial fishing operations, are also altering the classical features of coastal fisheries in some European countries. SSFs must adapt to the requirements of the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), namely management based on Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), multi-annual management plans and ecosystem based principles. It is concluded that it is necessary to integrate different assessment approaches (biological, social and economic), with active participation from stakeholders, governments and relevant research institutions, to better evaluate and manage coastal fisheries.


Lloret, J., Cowx, I. G., Cabral, H., Castro, M., Font, T., Gonçalves, J. M., …Erzini, K. (2018). Small-scale coastal fisheries in European Seas are not what they were: Ecological, social and economic changes. Marine Policy, 98, 176-186.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 7, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 24, 2016
Publication Date 2018-12
Deposit Date Oct 29, 2018
Journal Marine Policy
Print ISSN 0308-597x
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 98
Pages 176-186
Keywords Artisanal fisheries; Recreational fisheries; Selective fisheries; Marine protected areas; Traditional ecological knowledge
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