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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 634:147-157 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13193

Local ecological knowledge of recreational fishers reveals different meridionalization dynamics of two Mediterranean subregions

Valerio Sbragaglia1,2,*, Jacopo Cerri2, Luca Bolognini3, Branko Dragićević4, Jakov Dulćić4, Fabio Grati3, Ernesto Azzurro3,5

1Department of Marine Renewable Resources, Marine Science Institute, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
2Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), Via del Cedro 38, 57122 Livorno, Italy
3IRBIM, Institute of Biological Resources and Marine Biotechnologies - CNR, National Research Council, Largo Fiera della Pesca, 60125 Ancona, Italy
4Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 63, 21000 Split, Croatia
5Stazione Zoologica Anthon Dohrn, Via Francesco Caracciolo 333, 80122 Naples, Italy
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Marine recreational fishers accumulate a vast amount of local ecological knowledge (LEK) during their fishing activity that can be of paramount importance for monitoring how climate change affects fish assemblages. We assessed LEK of recreational fishers to investigate the increase in the abundance of 5 northward-expanding indigenous thermophilic fish species in 2 Mediterranean subregions. We accessed LEK through an online survey completed by 794 recreational fishers (386 from the Adriatic/Ionian subregion and 408 from the Tyrrhenian/Ligurian subregion). The species perceived to have increased most in abundance were Pomatomus saltatrix (71% of replies) followed by Sphyraena viridensis (58%). The remaining species (Sparisoma cretense, Balistes capriscus and Coryphaena hippurus) ranged between 17 and 25%. Recreational fishers have a stable system of beliefs about meridionalization, which is perceived homogeneously between recreational anglers and recreational spearfishers. Our results indicate that latitude is negatively correlated with meridionalization in the Adriatic/Ionian, but not in the Tyrrhenian/Ligurian Seas, suggesting that meridionalization of the Adriatic/Ionian Seas could be a process that has temporally lagged with respect to the Tyrrhenian/Ligurian Seas. Our study demonstrates that LEK of recreational fishers can be easily accessed on a large geographical scale and can be useful to monitor changes in the distributions of data-limited species such as those studied here.


KEY WORDS: Angling · Spearfishing · Adriatic · Tyrrhenian · Tropicalization


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Cite this article as: Sbragaglia V, Cerri J, Bolognini L, Dragićević B, Dulćić J, Grati F, Azzurro E (2020) Local ecological knowledge of recreational fishers reveals different meridionalization dynamics of two Mediterranean subregions. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 634:147-157. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13193

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