Aitor Forcada

University of Alicante, Alicante, Valencia, Spain

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Publications (19)36.99 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Due to the diversity of fleet characteristics and catch composition in Mediterranean fisheries, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean has placed emphasis on the direct control of fishing capacity and effort rather than catch limitation. This paper aims to analyse the evolution of fishing effort, landings and métiers in three trawling ports of the western Mediterranean between 2002 and 2011. Four métiers were identified, using multivariate techniques, in the fishery: Red mullet, European hake, Norway lobster and Red shrimp. The mean catch composition within the same métier was similar between ports, although the relative importance of species differed slightly from one port to another. Variation in fishing effort exerted was observed between métiers reflecting differences in the importance and usage of each métier by port. Temporal variations were found among different métiers at seasonal and annual scales. These temporal variations showed that métiers Red mullet and European hake were alternated. Positive significant correlations were observed between landings and different fishing effort variables with an exception of the relation between landings and engine power in the Norway lobster métier with negative significant correlations. Significant differences in total vessel length, gross tonnage, total CPUE and total income were detected among the four métiers depending on each port with few exceptions. These findings are considered a keystone for more practical implications and to assist fisheries' managers in the decision-making process. As demonstrated in the current paper, the management of multi-specific fisheries should start off considering the characteristics of each métier separately. In the sound of métier-based management, the patterns observed in the effort temporal distribution between métiers can indicate the most suitable time to reduce effort on specific target species.
    Ocean & Coastal Management 12/2014; 102. DOI:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.10.005 · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recreational diving effects on Mediterranean benthic communities have been scarcely studied to date. In this study, we evaluate the recreational diving impact on the Mediterranean bryozoan Myriapora truncata. Eight localities with different diving rates and protection levels were sampled before and after summer, the season of maximum presence of divers in the region. A photographic sampling technique was used, which made possible to increase the number of replicates. In each sample: number; mean, maximum and total area; total and mean perimeter and exposure; and aggregation levels of M. truncata colonies were measured by image treatment software. ANOVA, MDS and PERMANOVA were the statistical techniques used to detect and evaluate the effects of the five factors considered (time, protection, impact, locality and site) on M. truncata colonies. The number, area and perimeter of colonies significantly decreased after summer at localities with high presence of divers; whereas hidden colonies went through a positive increase comparing with exposed colonies. Our results evidence M. truncata as a good indicator species for recreational diving impact on coralligenous reef communities. The monitoring of a combination of representative parameters of this species could play an important role on the management of diving areas.
    Ecological Indicators 11/2014; 46:193–200. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2014.05.035 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The change of mesh size or shape as a management measure to improve selectivity as proposed by the EU should be assessed using actual fishery data, despite being tested experimentally in previous studies. This work was conducted to evaluate the consequences of inserting either a 40-mm square-mesh or a 50-mm diamond-mesh (instead of the traditional 40-mm diamond-mesh) at codends in commercial Spanish trawlers. Landings in terms of biomass, income and catch composition were compared under commercial conditions. Four métiers were identified in the fishery: European hake (Merluccius merluccius), red mullet (Mullus barbatus), red shrimp (Aristeus antennatus) and Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus). No significant differences were observed in biomass or income owing to the new mesh in either European hake or red mullet. In contrast, the total biomass of the red shrimp métier and the biomass of the Norway lobster, Nephrops norvegicus, were significantly higher after the selectivity change. Regarding the catch composition, only the European hake métier showed slight – but not significant – changes after using the new mesh. Considering these results, there was no short-term effect (substantial biological or economic loss) as previous studies had expected. This could possibly be related to a higher performance of the new gear that may compensate for the lower retention of small sizes.
    Journal of Applied Ichthyology 11/2014; 31(2). DOI:10.1111/jai.12630 · 0.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two marine surveys of Magnoliophyta along the Lebanese coast (about 160 km long) as a component of the biological monitoring in Enfeh Peninsula, Ras Chekaa cliffs, Raoucheh cliffs, Sidon, Tyre and Naqoura were conducted in 2012 and 2013. Theywere undertaken within the framework of the Regional Project for the Development of a Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Protected Areas (MPAs) Network through the boosting of MPA Creation and Management (MedMPAnet Project), led by RAC/SPA. During these surveys along the six sites of the Lebanese coast, Cymodocea nodosa was encountered in 33.7% (16/48) of the stations and was recorded only in three localities: Enfeh Peninsula and Ras Chekaa cliffs in the northern coast and Tyre in the northern coast. C. nodosa was common around Enfeh area but less common in Ras Chekaa. On the contrary, it has been rare in the southern sector of Lebanon, where it has been observed only in front of the south beach of Tyre. C. nodosa colonises the sandy and muddy sand bottoms and their meadows are developed in shallow waters (1-4m depth). It is noteworthy the abundance of germinated seeds in June of 2012, that colonised deeper sediments (as far as 31m depth).
    5ème Symposium Méditerranéen sur la Végétation Marine (Portorož, Slovénie, 27-28 octobre 2014); 01/2014
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    ABSTRACT: The present work presents an integrated comparative assessment of the sustainability of fishing tactics or metiers (combinations of area, season, fishing gear, and target species). An index, which includes biological, conservation, socioeconomic, and management criteria, was created for this purpose: the “Metier Sustainability Index” (MSI25). It was designed using the traffic lights approach and comprises 25 indicators that refer to the “health” of the fisheries. Additionally, the MSI25 provides an indication of the “certainty” of that information with regard to the data type/heterogeneity. Subsequently, the index was tested using data from six case studies (81 metiers) from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The index showed that 63.0% of the metiers were “sustainable”, 21.0% were “unsustainable” and 16.0% were “under pressure”; 59.3% of characterizations were considered as “certain”. The index evaluation showed significant differences between areas and gears. This paper considers the characteristics of the datasets used, the case management status, and the applicability of the index in improving the management of specific fisheries. Overall, the MSI25 was found to be a useful tool for the evaluation and management of highly heterogeneous fisheries and data from various sources and types.
    ICES Journal of Marine Science 01/2013; 70(1):68-98. DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fss161 · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Export Date: 21 February 2013, Source: Scopus
    Animal Biodiversity and Conservation 01/2011; 34(1):165-177. · 0.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Marine protected areas (MPAs) are often promoted as tools for biodiversity conservation as well as for fisheries management. Despite increasing evidence of their usefulness, questions remain regarding the optimal design of MPAs, in particular concerning their function as fisheries management tools, for which empirical studies are still lacking. Using 28 data sets from seven MPAs in Southern Europe, we developed a meta-analytical approach to investigate the effects of protection on adjacent fisheries and asking how these effects are influenced by MPA size and age. Southern European MPAs showed clear effects on the surrounding fisheries, on the ‘catch per unit effort’ (CPUE) of target species, but especially on the CPUE of the marketable catch. These effects depended on the time of protection and on the size of the no-take area. CPUE of both target species and the marketable catch increased gradually by 2–4% per year over a long time period (at least 30 years). The influence of the size of the no-take area appeared to be more complex. The catch rates of the entire fishery in and around the MPA were higher when the no-take areas were smaller. Conversely, catch rates of selected fisheries that were expected to benefit most from protection increased when the no-take area was larger. Our results emphasize the importance of MPA size on its export functions and suggest that an adequate, often extended, time frame be used for the management and the evaluation of effectiveness of MPAs.
    Fish and Fisheries 12/2010; 12(4):412 - 426. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-2979.2010.00401.x · 8.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Marine reserves are assumed to protect a wide range of species from deleterious effects stemming from exploitation. However, some species, due to their ecological characteristics, may not respond positively to protection. Very little is known about the effects of life history and ecological traits (e.g., mobility, growth, and habitat) on responses of fish species to marine reserves. Using 40 data sets from 12 European marine reserves, we show that there is significant variation in the response of different species of fish to protection and that this heterogeneity can be explained, in part, by differences in their traits. Densities of targeted size-classes of commercial species were greater in protected than unprotected areas. This effect of protection increased as the maximum body size of the targeted species increased, and it was greater for species that were not obligate schoolers. However, contrary to previous theoretical findings, even mobile species with wide home ranges benefited from protection: the effect of protection was at least as strong for mobile species as it was for sedentary ones. Noncommercial bycatch and unexploited species rarely responded to protection, and when they did (in the case of unexploited bentho-pelagic species), they exhibited the opposite response: their densities were lower inside reserves. The use of marine reserves for marine conservation and fisheries management implies that they should ensure protection for a wide range of species with different life-history and ecological traits. Our results suggest this is not the case, and instead that effects vary with economic value, body size, habitat, depth range, and schooling behavior.
    Ecological Applications 04/2010; 20(3):830-9. DOI:10.1890/08-2131.1 · 4.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been proposed and established throughout the world, but few studies have adequately assessed the spatial adaptations of fishers to the limitations imposed by their placement. The main objectives of this work were to identify and describe the characteristics of the artisanal fisheries around Tabarca Marine Reserve (western Mediterranean Sea) and to de. ne their activity in space and time. Data were collected through questionnaires to fishers and onboard sampling. The artisanal fisheries were complex owing to the multispecific nature of the landings, the variety of gears involved, and their marked seasonality. All boats of the three harbours around the MPA were assessed, for a total of 32 boats. The fishers exploit 18 fishing grounds with eight gear types, for a total of 17 metiers. Mullus trammelnet, Sepia trammelnet, and sparid longline are the most frequently used metiers. The main factors determining the spatial distribution of the fishing effort are proximity to home harbour, habitat heterogeneity, and closeness to the MPA. Total fishing effort appeared slightly concentrated around the MPA, but each metier showed different patterns of effort distribution. Although the sparid gillnet and the sparid longline concentrated along MPA boundaries, the Sepia trammelnet and the Mullus trammelnet did not.
    ICES Journal of Marine Science 03/2010; 67(2-2):191-203. DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsp234 · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The development of transversal competencies provides an integral education. However, its practical implementation among different subjects is not a trivial task. There are several issues that should be previously solved in an optimal way to take advantage of the synergy among subjects. Main issues are: i) the need for a common space for the documents management, ii) the availability of the document everywhere and anytime, and iii) the possibility to collaborate in the documents edition tasks. It was implemented a virtual portfolio for the students which allows the assessment of all the subjects in a global way. To this goal we used the Google apps due to its free access, availability and suitability for the collaborative editing tasks.
    International Association for Technology, Education and Development (IATED), Valencia; 01/2010
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    ABSTRACT: Marine protected areas (MPAs) potentially enhance the long-term sustainability of coastal fish resources that have been overexploited. The types and quality of habitats, both inside and outside the MPAs, may determine the likelihood of migration by fish to surrounding unprotected areas where spillover to fisheries occurs. We assessed whether MPAs enhanced catches of artisanal fisheries, using an experimental fishing study with the same fishing gear as that used by local fishers. This approach allowed us to test the hypothesis of increased catches along the borders of MPAs in comparison with those in other fishing grounds located at. medium and far distances from 3 Mediterranean MPAs: Tabarca Marine Reserve, Carry-le-Rouet Marine Reserve and Cerbere-Banyuls Marine Reserve. Surveys were clone over 2 homogeneous habitats (Posidonia oceanica meadow and sand), in 3 different seasons. Catches were significantly higher for some species near the borders of the MPAs when fishing on P. oceanica meadows, but not when fishing on sandy bottoms. The spillover effect appears to be limited by a lack of continuous Suitable habitat through the boundaries of the MPA. Some of the species that showed a significant response to protection and concurrent higher catches near the MPA borders, such as Dentex dentex, Mullus surmuletus, Phycis phycis, Sciaena Umbra and Scorpaena porcus, are target species of artisanal fisheries. Although we found that the spatial scale of the spillover-induced density gradient was localized, it was sufficient to provide local benefits to artisanal fisheries. We conclude that spillover effects are not a universal consequence of siting MPAs in temperate waters and that they are related to the distribution of habitats inside and around MPAs.
    Marine Ecology Progress Series 03/2009; 379:197-211. DOI:10.3354/meps07892 · 2.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Marine protected areas (MPAs) could be useful as fisheries management tools for the exportation of pelagic eggs, larvae and adult fish. A decreasing gradient of fish biomass across MPAs boundary may indicate export. We determine whether gradients of decreasing biomass of fish assemblage occurred in Tabarca Marine Reserve over two habitats with different continuity across the boundaries, to test if the patchy nature of the marine environment might act as a barrier for the fish export. In general, significant decreasing gradients in total fish biomass and biomass of some species were observed on P. oceanica and rocky substrates, independently of their different continuity through the reserve boundaries. Changes in the multivariate structure of the fish assemblage were correlated with the distance from integral reserve. All of these results support the hypothesis that the exportation of adult fish from Tabarca Marine Reserve occurs, and this process may influence the surrounding fished areas.
    Marine Environmental Research 12/2008; DOI:10.1016/j.marenvres.2008.08.003 · 2.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated spillover (biomass export) around 6 marine protected areas (MPAs) in the western Mediterranean based on catch and effort data from artisanal fisheries. The selected MPAs were Cerbere-Banyuls and Carry-le-Rouet in France, and Medes, Cabrera, Tabarca, and Cabo de Palos in Spain. These MPAs had been functional for more than 8 yr and incorporate areas of fisheries closure and restricted use where fishing is limited. We based our study on the hypotheses that, in the presence of biomass export, (1) fishing effort would concentrate close to MPA boundaries, and (2) fishery production, expressed as catch per unit area (CPUA), would be highest near MPA boundaries and decrease with distance. We selected data from 14 'fishing tactics' using gill nets, trammel nets and bottom long-lines targeting sparids, mullids, serranids, scorpaenids and palinurids. We analyzed the spatial distribution of effort, fishery production and revenues per unit area, using generalized additive models (GAMs), and we tested regression slopes of effort density and CPUA with distance to closure boundaries, using generalized linear models (GLMs). GAMs allowed us to recognize habitat discontinuities or 'hot spots' of high production in the vicinity of the MPAs, and to identify the extent of potential spillover effects in order to implement GLMs. We found evidence of effort concentration and high fishery production near fisheries closures for all fishing tactics analyzed and significant negative slopes for most. Revenues generally followed trends similar to CPUA. Significant negative slopes from GLM of effort density and CPUA with distance from fisheries closures were indicative of biomass export where habitats across closure boundaries had some degree of continuity. The spatial extent of spillover was consistent with species mobility and fisheries efficiency and extended 700 to 2500 m from fishery closure boundaries. Our results suggest that coastal MPAs can be an effective management tool for artisanal fisheries in the region and can be extended to the rest of the western Mediterranean, as the fishing tactics studied are typical of the region.
    Marine Ecology Progress Series 08/2008; 366:159-174. DOI:10.3354/meps07532 · 2.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the present study the fish assemblages in the rocky-bottom habitat of the Sierra Helada Natural Park (Alicante, Spain) were recorded to provide data for future evaluation of any changes induced by long-term management. Visual censuses were carried out along strip transects by Scuba diving on rocky bottoms at depths between 1 and 32 m. In the seven localities sampled, 44 species were recorded. Number of species, abundance, biomass and size structure values recorded did not show differences between high and low protection areas. Species composition was similar to other marine protected areas of the western-Mediterranean. The main differences found between localities can be attributed to the high heterogeneity and complexity of the habitat at smaller spatial scales.
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    ABSTRACT: Cited By (since 1996): 48, Export Date: 21 February 2013, Source: Scopus
    Marine Ecology Progress Series 01/2008; 366:159-174. · 2.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) in traditional fishing grounds of artisanal fleets is becoming a tool for managing the exploited resources in the Mediterranean Sea. For a proper management and design of these areas in terms of fisheries benefits is necessary to understand the relation between the local fisheries and the MPA. For analyzing this relation, defined by numerous factors, is necessary to tackle the following questions: a) How the fishing sector is like in the vicinity of the MPAs. b) How the fleet and fishing strategies are like within the reserves and their areas of influence. c) In which way MPA characteristics affect the local fisheries. This work resume the information needed to answer these questions in six Western Mediterranean MPAs showing: This information allows to locate the results of studies related to fisheries in MPAs in its proper context. During the work carried out by the WP6 of the BIOMEX project we found this information is essential for a correct interpretation and understanding of studies of fisheries in MPAs. Analysis of spatial distribution of effort, MPA benefits over fisheries, gradients of biomass, etc, not considering these factors may derive in misunderstanding real effects of MPAs over local fisheries.
    Proceedings of European Symposium on Marine Protected Areas as a tool for fisheries management and ecosystem conservation emerging science and interdisciplinary approaches., Murcia (Spain); 01/2007
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    ABSTRACT: Marine protected areas (MPA) produce a positive effect on fish populations, but this may be difficult to identify due to the high temporal variability of populations. Meta-analysis is an option for analysing data from different sources and sampling designs and it can address problems related to temporal and spatial variability in fish populations. We analysed fish abundance data from visual counts conducted in summer, from 1996 to 2002, in the MPA of Tabarca (Alicante, Spain). The results showed an overall positive effect of protection at the species and family levels. Overall abundance of fishes inside the reserve was, on average, 1.22 times higher than outside the reserve boundaries. Positive effect of protection was found for Boops boops, Diplodus annularis, Diplodus cervinus, Epinephelus marginatus, Epinephelus costae and Epinephelus aenus. Species of Labrids were not affected by protection, except for Thalassoma pavo and Symphodus ocellatus. Meta-analysis of temporal data allows evaluation of the protection MPA provide and is particularly useful when data sources have different experimental designs or sampling programs. The Tabarca MPA has benefited fish populations by increasing their abundance and we suggest that meta-analysis is a complementary tool for the management of MPAs.
    Marine Biology 01/2007; 151(3):1153-1161. DOI:10.1007/s00227-006-0557-0 · 2.39 Impact Factor
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