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In 2017, a total of 4825 licences were issued for shore angling in Madeira. Surveys were conducted on 734 anglers, some in the government fisheries office during the licence request and others during the fishing activity. Shore angling is practised throughout the year, mostly at weekends and during day time, and with an increase in summer. More than 60% of the anglers are unemployed, have low incomes, and spend on average €254 per person per year on this activity, adding up to a total of €1.16 million per year. Shore angling average number of fishing days per year per fisher was 65.1±62.0 and the average CPUE was 0.35±0.26 kg/angler/hour. The estimated total annual catch was 520.7 t. Forty-three teleost species, 2 elasmobranchs and 6 invertebrates were identified in the catches. Despite the limitations and inaccuracies inherent to the surveys, they still provided valuable information and gave a general perception of the recreational shore fisheries in Madeira. The possible impact on the most captured species, such as the white seabream, Diplodus sargus (Linnaeus, 1758), and the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense (Linnaeus, 1758), should be analysed because high fishing pressure could affect populations and ecosystems.
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Importance of recreational shore angling in the
archipelago of Madeira, Portugal (northeast Atlantic)
Roi Martínez-Escauriaza 1,2, Margarida Hermida 1,3, Sebastián Villasante 4,5, Lídia Gouveia 2,
Nuno Gouveia 2, Pablo Pita 4,5
1Oceanic Observatory of Madeira, Agência Regional para o Desenvolvimento da Investigação Tecnologia e Inovação.
Edifício Madeira Tecnopolo, Piso 0, Caminho da Penteada, 9020-105 Funchal, Madeira, Portugal.
(RM-E) (Corresponding author). E-mail: ORCID iD:
(MH) E-mail: ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0259-109X
2 Direção de Serviços de Investigação – DSI, Direção Regional das Pescas – DRP-RAM, Estrada da Pontinha, CP 9004-
562, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal.
(LG) E-mail: ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6904-7673
(NG) E-mail: ORCID iD:
3 MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Agência Regional para o Desenvolvimento da Investigação,
Tecnologia e Inovação (ARDITI), Edifício Madeira Tecnopolo, Caminho da Penteada, 9020-105, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal.
4 Campus Do Mar, International Campus of Excellence, Spain.
(SV) E-mail: ORCID iD:
(PP) E-mail: ORCID iD:
5 Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Av. Angel Echevarry s/n, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Summary: In 2017, a total of 4825 licences were issued for shore angling in Madeira. Surveys were conducted on 734 an-
glers, some in the government fisheries office during the licence request and others during the fishing activity. Shore angling
is practised throughout the year, mostly at weekends and during day time, and with an increase in summer. More than 60%
of the anglers are unemployed, have low incomes, and spend on average €254 per person per year on this activity, adding
up to a total of €1.16 million per year. Shore angling average number of fishing days per year per fisher was 65.1±62.0 and
the average catch per unit of effort was 0.35±0.26 kg/angler/hour. The estimated total annual catch was 520.7 t. Forty-three
teleost species, 2 elasmobranchs and 6 invertebrates were identified in the catches. Despite the limitations and inaccuracies
inherent to the surveys, they still provided valuable information and gave a general perception of the recreational shore fish-
eries in Madeira. The possible impact on the most captured species, such as the white seabream, Diplodus sargus (Linnaeus,
1758), and the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense (Linnaeus, 1758), should be analysed because high fishing pressure could affect
populations and ecosystems.
Keywords: recreational fishing; surveys; shore angling; anglers’ perceptions; Madeira; Portugal.
Relevancia de la pesca recreativa desde la costa en el archipiélago de Madeira, Portugal (Atlántico nororiental)
Resumen: En 2017 se tramitaron un total de 4825 licencias para la pesca recreativa desde la costa en la Región Autónoma
de Madeira. En este periodo se realizaron 734 encuestas a los pescadores de esta modalidad, algunas en las oficinas, durante
el trámite necesario para obtener la licencia y otras a personas mientras estaban pescando. La pesca desde la costa es una
actividad que se practica durante todo el año, principalmente los fines de semana y normalmente durante el día, con un au-
mento de pescadores durante el verano. Más del 60% están desempleados o tienen bajos ingresos, y gastan en promedio 254
€ por persona al año en esta actividad, contabilizándose un total de 1.16 millones de € por año. El numero medio de días de
pesca por pescador al año fue de 65.1±62.0, mientras que la CPUE media fue de 0.35±0.26 kg/pescador/hora. La captura
anual total estimada fue de 520.7 t, y se identificaron 43 especies de teleósteos, 2 de elasmobranquios y 6 de invertebrados
en las capturas. A pesar de las limitaciones e imprecisiones inherentes a las encuestas, por primera vez se ha logrado obtener
una valiosa información, que nos permite tener una percepción general de la pesca recreativa desde la costa en Madeira. El
posible impacto sobre las especies más capturadas, como el sargo Diplodus sargus (Linnaeus, 1758) y la vieja Sparisoma
cretense (Linnaeus, 1758), debe ser analizado ya que están sujetos a una importante presión pesquera que podría afectar a
sus poblaciones y al ecosistema.
Palabras clave: pesca recreativa; encuestas; pesca desde la costa; percepciones de los pescadores; Madeira; Portugal.
Citation/Como citar este artículo: Martínez-Escauriaza R., Hermida M., Villasante S., Gouveia L., Gouveia N., Pita P.
2020. Importance of recreational shore angling in the archipelago of Madeira, Portugal (northeast Atlantic). Sci. Mar. 84(4):
Editor: J. Lloret.
Received: February 24, 2020. Accepted: June 26, 2020. Published: September 15, 2020.
Copyright: © 2020 CSIC. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.
Scientia Marina 84(4)
December 2020, 000-000, Barcelona (Spain)
ISSN-L: 0214-8358
2R. Martínez-Escauriaza et al.
SCI. MAR. 84(4), December 2020, 000-000. ISSN-L 0214-8358
Recreational fishing is an activity with few social
barriers practised in rural and urban areas by young
and old people (Hickley and Tompkins 1998). It is
one of the most ancient and popular leisure activities,
involving roughly 10% of the population in developed
countries (Arlinghaus and Cooke 2009, Arlinghaus
et al. 2015, 2016). Recreational fisheries have been
estimated to involve more than 100 million people in
North America, Oceania and Europe (FAO 2016). In
Europe an estimate of around nine million recreational
fishers operate in coastal seas (Hyder et al. 2018).
Until recently, it was thought that catches of rec-
reational fisheries were significantly lower than those
of commercial fisheries, but recent studies have shown
that in some areas catches are similar or even higher
(Cooke and Cowx 2004, Zeller et al. 2008, Pita et al.
2018). Global fish catches have been estimated to be
14% higher if recreational fishing is added to commer-
cial catches (Hyder et al. 2018).
Removing individuals from natural populations
may have consequences for the ecosystem, and this
subtraction could reach levels that threaten the survival
of local species (Post et al. 2002, Coleman et al. 2004).
Furthermore, recreational catches of juveniles and of
key species could have severe impacts on ecosystems
(Cooke and Cowx 2004) by reducing the stock size
and average fish sizes (McPhee et al. 2002), which
may even cause genetic and trophic changes and
habitat degradation (Cooke and Cowx 2006, Lewin
et al. 2006). Therefore, assessments and management
of resources should take this component into account
in order to effectively protect resources (Rangel and
Erzini 2007, Cowx 2008, Smallwood et al. 2011). The
integration of data of the most frequently captured spe-
cies in recreational fishing and their abundance could
provide more reliable catch estimates and could also
improve stock assessments (Post et al. 2002, Cooke
and Cowx 2004, Zeller et al. 2008).
To date, there are no studies available on the rec-
reational marine fisheries in the archipelago of Madeira
(Portugal), in the Northeast Atlantic. Until recently, the
absence of legislation did not facilitate carrying out
any investigation of the activity. There is therefore no
information available on the number of sea anglers in
the islands, their economic relevance or their ecological
impacts on marine ecosystems. In this respect, this paper
combines the information from licences and from a survey
programme carried out in 2017, when the legislation was
implemented. The main objectives of this study are (a)
to characterize catches of marine recreational fishers, (b)
to analyse the socioeconomic features of this recreational
fishery, (c) to investigate anglers’ perceptions about the
current legislation and regulations that apply to this activ-
ity, (d) to evaluate the practice of subsistence fisheries,
and (e) to establish comparisons of potential economic
benefits between recreational and artisanal fisheries.
This study will provide a better understanding of
the situation of marine recreational fisheries in Ma-
deira, thus helping fishery managers and policy makers
to achieve better resource management.
Area of study
The archipelago of Madeira belongs to the region of
Macaronesia (Fig. 1) and consists of two main inhab-
ited islands, Madeira and Porto Santo, and five unin-
habited islands (Desertas and Selvagens islands). The
humid subtropical climate, with average temperatures
ranging between 16°C in the winter and 22°C in the
summer (Araújo et al. 2008), favours the practice of
recreational fishing throughout the year.
The island of Madeira, the principal island of the
archipelago, has a rough coastline with high cliffs and
difficult access to the sea in many parts, especially on
the north coast where the sea is rougher, explaining
why 93% of people live near the southern coast (Quin-
tal 2004, Direção Regional de Estatística da Madeira
2018). Porto Santo is a smaller island with a lower
relief and a large sandy beach (Ribeiro and Ramalho
2009). Desertas and Selvagens islands are uninhabited
and form marine protected areas (MPA, Quintal 2004).
Recreational shore angling is not allowed in MPAs, so
these islands have not been considered in this work.
Licencing system and survey programme
The new regional law regulating marine recrea-
tional fishing in 2016 (Regional Legislative Decree N°
484/2016, 14 November 2016) includes the need for a
recreational fishing licence that has to be requested at
the Regional Fisheries Directorate of Madeira (DRP).
In this study, information provided by anglers when
obtaining their licences in 2017 was used to characterize
this population, using features such as sex, age, socio-
economic status, licence type (annual or monthly), when
it was obtained, and whether the anglers were exempt
from payment (i.e. unemployed, retired or disabled).
Surveys were carried out throughout 2017 to col-
lect information after a pilot study conducted on 69
anglers from November to December 2016. The pilot
study permitted the validation of the initial question-
naires and included key topics relevant for anglers.
Data obtained in the pilot study were also included in
the analysis. A total of 653 surveys were carried out in
Fig. 1. – Map showing the Madeira Autonomous Region (RAM).
Shore angling in Madeira • 3
SCI. MAR. 84(4), December 2020, 000-000. ISSN-L 0214-8358
2017; part of these (391) were conducted in the gov-
ernment office where anglers obtain their licences, and
others were carried out when the anglers were practis-
ing shore angling at the usual access points (piers and
beaches). The researcher collected basic demographic
information on anglers (age, marital status, profession,
etc.) and data related to the activity, including fishing
frequency (number of trips per year), effort (number of
hours per trip) and catches (estimated average weight
of captured fish per trip). Moreover, information about
the fishing methods used, the most frequently caught
species and general opinions about fisheries manage-
ment were collected (for more details, see the ques-
tionnaire in the Supplementary Material). When the
surveys were performed during the fishing activity,
permission to measure the catches was requested. Data
from anglers without a licence were used to estimate
their percentage of the total of anglers.
In 2018 only the number of licences per type (an-
nual or monthly) was obtained, in order to assess the
evolution of demand for licences in the following year.
Data analysis
To avoid the avidity bias, estimates of expenses, ef-
fort and catch per unit of effort (CPUE) were obtained
on the basis of the surveys performed in the fisheries.
To estimate the effort, the average duration of fish-
ing trips was multiplied by the number of annual trips
made by each angler. Anglers indicated the average
catch weight per fishing trip, including trips with maxi-
mum catches and null catches. Dividing this value by
the average duration of the trips, the CPUE value was
obtained and expressed in weight (kg) of fish caught
per angler per hour.
To obtain more accurate results, the anglers were
separated into groups based on the information of the
licence database. In particular, the anglers were di-
vided according to sex (male or female) and type of li-
cence (annual or monthly). Estimated values of annual
expenses, annual effort and CPUE were calculated at
angler level and averaged for each group. To obtain the
final average values per angler, firstly the mean annual
expenses, annual effort and CPUE were multiplied by
the number of licences of each group category; sec-
ondly, the values obtained for each group were added,
thus giving the total annual expenses, annual effort and
CPUE for the entire angler population. Finally, divid-
ing each value by the total numbers of licences, we
obtained the annual expenses, annual effort and CPUE
per angler. The total recreational catch was calculated
by multiplying the average CPUE by the average ef-
fort per angler. The value obtained was multiplied
by the total number of anglers, who include people
without licences (such as illegal anglers and underage
anglers) and people with licences who do not fish. For
this reason, a final correction including this portion of
anglers was made. In particular, thanks to the surveys
performed during the fishing activity, it was possible
to calculate the percentage of anglers without a licence
(12.2%). Moreover, to estimate the number of people
with licences who do not fish we used the result from
a previous study conducted in Spain (17%; Ruiz et al.
2014) as a reference value, since no data were available
for the region.
A one-sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was used
to test data normality and a Levene test was used to
assess variance homogeneity. One-way analysis of
variance (ANOVA) was used to test for significant
differences in expenses, fishing frequency and effort
between the on-site survey (in the government office)
and personal interviews (on fishing sites). A Kruskal-
Wallis test was used as a robust non-parametric alter-
native to ANOVA for the data that did not assume a
normal distribution. All analyses were computed using
PASW Statistics 22.0.
Social characterization
In 2017, 4825 licences were issued for shore an-
gling, of which 4600 were licences for the whole year
and 225 for a single month (Table 1). In 2018 there
was a notable decrease in the number of anglers who
obtained annual licences (3805) but a slight increase in
those who obtained monthly ones (237; Fig. 2).
In 2017 many anglers visited the Fisheries office to
request the licence at the beginning of the year (32%
in January), so most questionnaires (66.1%) were ob-
tained from January until the end of March. In 2018 the
licence requests were distributed throughout the year,
with an increase in the summer months (Fig. 2).
The participation rate of people obtaining a recrea-
tional fishing licence was much higher in Porto Santo
(9.3% of the local population) than in Madeira (only
1.7% of the local population). For the entire region
(254368 inhabitants) the participation rate was 1.9%,
Table 1. – Recreational shore angling licences in Madeira grouped
by island, sex and licence duration in 2017 (Regional Directorate
of Fisheries).
Porto Santo Madeira
Women Men Women Men
Annual 31 390 418 3761
Monthly 2 57 20 146
Fig. 2. – Evolution of the number of shore angling licences in 2017
and 2018.
4R. Martínez-Escauriaza et al.
SCI. MAR. 84(4), December 2020, 000-000. ISSN-L 0214-8358
and it is noteworthy that 9.8% of the licences were ob-
tained by women.
In addition, in order to characterize the socioeco-
nomic dimension of the recreational fisher population
in the region, 734 anglers were interviewed. Eighty-
one anglers were unwilling to answer the questionnaire
because of lack of interest. Of the 262 people surveyed
during their fishing activity, 13 were underage and 19
did not have a licence. It is important to highlight that
no licence is required for underage anglers. Therefore,
the estimated percentage of anglers without a licence
and underage people (12.2%) allowed us to adjust the
estimated number of anglers in the region to 5414 an-
glers. By subtracting the percentage of inactive anglers
(17%, Ruiz et al. 2014), it was estimated that the num-
ber of practising anglers in the Madeira archipelago
was 4593.
The large majority of anglers (94.6%) were Ma-
deiran residents, more than half of whom lived in the
capital, Funchal (58.9%), while only 2.2% were from
the island of Porto Santo (Table 2). The age group
considered during the sampling process included indi-
viduals between the ages of 9 and 79. Almost half of
the individuals were aged between 31 and 50, with an
average age of 42.9±14.9.
The analysis of the marital status of the anglers
indicated that 55.2% of the respondents (n=639) were
married, with an average age of 48.8±12.1, and 36.3%
were single, with an average age of 31.0±11.6. There
was also a small percentage (6.7%) of divorced people,
with an average age of 52.2±10.6, and 1.7% widowed
people, with an average age of 66±8.4.
The average years of experience practising shore
angling was 18.2±15.8, ranging from people who had
just started to veterans who had been fishing for 70
years. The older anglers usually had more experience,
although some were newcomers who had started fish-
ing as a retirement hobby. The average age at which
anglers started fishing was 24.3±13.9.
Regarding the education level, 33.7% of the in-
terviewees (n=635) had basic or no education, 44.7%
secondary, 5.9% higher education and 15.7% had vo-
cational training.
Temporal and spatial patterns
Some of the anglers (34.7%), n=637) fished all
around the island. Of the others, almost half (48.8%)
preferred fishing on the south coast, 15.5% on the north
coast, 11.2% on the east coast, 7.4% on the west coast
and 6% on the island of Porto Santo. Of the anglers,
38.6% went fishing where they lived, 10.8% close
to their home and 40.9% close to the city. Moreover,
33% of the anglers (n=645) were concentrated on the
docks and platforms over the sea, 30.7% preferred
rocky areas and only a low percentage preferred to
fish at the beach (6.5%). Most of the anglers (63.9%)
preferred to fish in company, only 13.7% said they usu-
ally fish alone and the others (22.3%) had no prefer-
ence (n=633). The duration of the fishing activity was
5.3±2.3 hours per fishing trip (n=626). Almost 40% of
those surveyed (n=638) indicated no preference for the
time of day to fish, 14.7% fished at night, 31.0% fished
during the day (of which 15.7% in the morning, 5.2%
in the afternoon) and 8.6% depending on the tides. A
large percentage of the anglers (82.3%) went fishing
almost throughout the year (n=638), but angling effort
was greater at weekends.
Fishing methods
The most frequent methods used by recreational
anglers were bottom fishing, surface fishing, hand line
and spinning, and some anglers indicated that they also
harvested invertebrates, including limpets, Patella spp.
and/or sea snails, Phorcus sauciatus (Koch, 1845).
Surface and bottom fishing were the most popular
methods (78.6% of the anglers, of whom 27.2% only
practised surface fishing and 19.4% only bottom fish-
ing). The other techniques were less frequent: 2.1% of
the anglers used only spinning, 10.5% used spinning
on some occasions combined with the other methods,
5.9% used hand lines occasionally, and 1.9% only used
hand lines. Artificial baits were used by 17% of the
anglers, mainly if they practised spinning or targeted
squids. However, natural baits were more popular, in-
cluding portions of small animals such as polychaetes,
molluscs (mostly squid or snails), decapods or small
fishes such as sardine Sardina pilchardus (Walbaum,
1792) and blue jack mackerel, Trachurus picturatus
(Bowdich, 1825). Many anglers (72.3%, n=647) used
previously caught bait (e.g. snails, crabs or small fish-
es) or bread (77.9%).
Catch composition, CPUE and effort
Fifty-one species of fishes and invertebrates were
recorded during the surveys, including 43 teleost spe-
Table 2. – Recreational shore angling characteristics.
Demographic characteristics % n
Sex Male 92.2 650
Female 7.8
Residence Madeira 94.6 650
Funchal 58.9
Porto Santo 2.2
Education level No education 2.2 635
Basic 31.5
Secondary 44.5
Vocational training 15.7
University 6.1
Marital status Single 36.3 639
Married 55.2
Divorced 6.7
Widowed 1.7
Employment Retired 11.4 647
Self-employed 9.9
Unemployed 25.8
Contract 40.2
Student 4.8
Pension (disability) 1.1
Civil servant 6.2
Monthly income 0 37.7 525
0-500 € 18.7
500-1000 € 25.9
1000-1500 € 6.3
>1500 € 1.9
Variable 9.5
Shore angling in Madeira • 5
SCI. MAR. 84(4), December 2020, 000-000. ISSN-L 0214-8358
cies, 2 elasmobranchs and 6 invertebrates (Table 3).
The families Sparidae and Carangidae were the most
frequent in the catches, with 13 and 4 species, respec-
tively. The most frequent species in the catches were
white seabream and parrotfish.
Regarding the 224 measured fishes of 25 different
species, the most frequent species were bastard grunt
(Pomadasys incisus [Bowdich, 1825]), axillary sea-
bream (Pagellus acarne [Risso, 1827]), and mullets
(mostly Chelon spp.), with 28, 23 and 21 individuals,
respectively. Of the measured fishes, 18.2% belonging
to seven species were below the minimum landing size
(Table 3).
Some shore anglers completed their catches with
the collection of invertebrates, composed mainly of the
limpets Patella candei d’Orbigny, 1839 and P. aspera
Röding, 1798 and the sea snail Phorcus sauciatus, all
collected in the intertidal zone. Also, some cephalo-
pods such as Octopus vulgaris Cuvier, 1797, the long-
finned squid, Loligo vulgaris Lamarck, 1798, and the
Table 3. – Species caught in Madeira waters. Lmat, length at maturity; Lleg, minimum landing size (numbers in bold are measures smaller
than the minimum length at maturity); Min, minimum size; Max, maximum size (*, sizes smaller than those allowed by legislation; underlined,
sizes smaller than the minimum length at maturity), all in cm; N, number of measured fishes; €, average first sale value (data provided by the
Regional Directorate of Fisheries).
Family Scientific name Lmat Lleg N Min-Max Average Recreational
estimated %
Balistidae Balistes capriscus 16.3 10 33-38 35.4 1.50 2.7
Belonidae Belone belone 28.5 0.15
Bothidae Bothus podas 14.1 24 0.03
Carangidae Pseudocaranx dentex 27.8 1 13 13 0.79 8
Carangidae Seriola rivoliana 81.1 0.76 3.7
Carangidae Trachinotus ovatus 39.1 13 12-31 16.6 4.32 1.4
Carangidae Trachurus picturatus 24.7 15 0.53 1.1
Clupeidae Sardina pilchardus 14.8 11 0.13 0.7
Clupeidae Sardinella maderensis 13.4 0.01 0.4
Congridae Conger conger 200 58 0.06 1.7
Haemulidae Pomadasys incisus 28 12-21 15.3 1.41 3.5
Kyphosidae Kyphosus sectator 48.8 0.53 2.6
Labridae Centrolabrus trutta 3 13-18 15.3 0.04
Labridae Coris julis 8.7 0.04
Labridae Thalassoma pavo 15.7 14 12-16 13.7 1.72
Mugilidae Chelon spp.29.5 20 21 12-52* 25 6.89 2.1
Mullidae Mullus surmuletus 16.1 15 0.26 11
Muraenidae Muraena spp. 0.37 1.6
Phycidae Phycis phycis 35.6 37 0.21 2.9
Pomacentridae Abudefduf luridus 10 12 10-13 11.6 2.80 5.6
Pomacentridae Chromis limbata 8.2 0.08 9.9
Pomatomidae Pomatomus saltatrix 30 1 20 20 2.07 2.7
Scombridae Scomber colias 21.5 20 0.99 1.1
Scorpaenidae Scorpaena maderensis 8.7-9.9 0.02
Serranidae Mycteroperca fusca 0.03 7.9
Serranidae Serranus atricauda 25 2 17-23 20 1.61 5.2
Sparidae Boops boops 14.3 15 18 11-18* 13.7 6.32 1
Sparidae Dentex gibbosus 34.7 2 21-24 22.5 0.23 7.3
Sparidae Diplodus cervinus 0.38 7.8
Sparidae Diplodus sargus 16.7 15 9 14-36* 22 15.73 5.2
Sparidae Diplodus vulgaris 17 15 6 12-27* 19.5 2.44 3.9
Sparidae Lithognathus mormyrus 18.8 15 1 35 35 0.52 3
Sparidae Oblada melanura 6 12-23 16.6 6.62 2.4
Sparidae Pagellus acarne 16 18 23 12-24* 26.3 2.38 4.7
Sparidae Pagellus bogaraveo 31.4 25 0.05 7.1
Sparidae Pagellus erythrinus 14.7 15 8 17-25 19.8 2.99 5
Sparidae Pagrus pagrus 26.6 20 3 11-28* 20.3 7.76 6.6
Sparidae Sarpa salpa 16.5 18 17 14-29* 22.2 7.34 3.8
Sparidae Sparisoma cretense 15.5 8 17-27 22.1 10.75 7.2
Sparidae Sparus aurata 8 12-16 13.5 1.63 4.4
Sphyraenidae Sphyraena spp. 59.5-62.5 3 65-81 72.6 2.47 2.9
Synodontidae Synodus saurus 1 15 15 0.06
Tetraodontidae Sphoeroides spengleri /
Canthigaster rostrata 6 11-15 12.6 0.24
Rajiformes Raja spp. 0.48 0.8
Triakidae Mustelus spp.0.32 1.6
Arthropoda: Decapoda
Grapsidae Grapsus webbi 0.04
Mollusca: Cephalopoda
Loliginidae Loligo vulgaris 0.47 7.3
Octopodidae Octopus vulgaris 0.24 8.7
Sepiidae Sepia officinallis 0.17 1.6
Mollusca: Gastropoda
Patellidae Patella spp. 2.91 3.6
Trochidae Phorcus sauciatus 0.10 6.1
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SCI. MAR. 84(4), December 2020, 000-000. ISSN-L 0214-8358
common cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis Linnaeus, 1758,
were fished (Table 3).
Almost all fishers (96.4%) used the catches for
consumption. About half of them (49.4%) released
only small fish and fish without gastronomic value,
3.2% claimed to always practise catch-and-release,
and 17.1% usually gave away part of the catch. A
small group of anglers (3.5%) admitted to selling their
catches illegally.
Expenses, average number of hours per fishing
trip and CPUE were homogeneous between surveys
conducted in the government office and at the fishing
sites (ANOVA and K-W test, p>0.05), whereas the
fishing frequency was significantly different between
the two groups (K-W test, p<0.01). The data showed
that anglers interviewed at fishing sites spent on av-
erage 83.2±71.2 (n=261) days fishing, while anglers
surveyed in the government office spent only 65.1±62
(n=381) days fishing.
To reduce the avidity bias as much as possible, only
the surveys performed in the offices were used to ob-
tain the following results.
After the stratification of angler groups by sex and
type of licence to correct the estimates (Table 4), the
average CPUE was 0.35±0.26 kg/angler/hour (n=369).
Considering the total of 4825 licences for shore an-
gling, and after a correction for anglers without licence
(7.3%), underage (5%) and inactive anglers (17%),
the estimated annual catch was 520.7 t per year, i.e.
an average of 113.3 kg per person per year. The av-
erage number of fishing days per year per fisher was
65.1±62.0, the average of hours per day per fisher was
5.2±2.0 and the total effort was 1,457,077.7 fishing
hours per year, corresponding to 317.2±413.5 hours
per fisher per year (n=384).
Economic characterization
Some anglers (19.7%) refused to provide informa-
tion about their salary. A few (10%) were self-em-
ployed and 7.6% declared that their salary was highly
variable. Almost half of the anglers (40%) admitted
to having no income or relying on social benefits (of
these, 30.6% were unemployed, 11.4% were retired
and 1.1% were disabled). In terms of income, 20.7%
of the anglers earned less than €500 per month and
only 2.1% had a salary above €1500 per month. Un-
employed, retired or disabled anglers (15.2%) were
exempt from licence payment.
The mean annual expenditure after correction by
sex and type of licence was €254.3±413.5 per angler
(Table 5). After a subsequent correction of unlicensed
and underage people, total expenditure was estimated
to be €1.16 M.
Perceptions of recreational fishers
Of the anglers, 13.8% recognized the need for
licences, while 10.6% considered that they were un-
necessary. A few of them (7.7%) recognized some
advantages of the new fishing licence legislation,
2.1% commented that the licences should be cheaper
and 18.2% said that they should be free. Some anglers
who did not see any advantages of the new legislation
believed the ocean belongs to everyone and should
therefore not be regulated. Moreover, they considered
the licences as a form of taxation, because they were
not reflected in improvements for them or for the fish-
ery. In addition, 17.2% of the anglers thought that the
fish size control by the authorities was weak and 6.8%
suggested that anglers should be part of the implemen-
Table 4. – Madeiran anglers CPUE (kg/angler/hour) and effort (in
hours) stratified by sex and licence duration.
Women Men
Annual 0.24±0.16 (n=17) 0.42±0.31 (n=339)
Monthly 0.18±0.03 (n=3) 0.28±0.31 (n=10)
Women Men
Annual 313.59±359.66 (n=17) 368.9±486.2 (n=354)
Monthly 34.670±26.08 (n=3) 77.65±109.51 (n=10)
Table 5. – Estimated mean expenses of anglers (in €) by sex and
type of licence (annual or monthly).
Women Men
Annual 76.67±32.52 (n=12) 316.2±580.37 (n=313)
Monthly 30.0±23.1 (n=4) 42.9±29.3 (n=9)
Fig. 3.Anglers’ perceptions about recreational fisheries regulation and possible improvements.
Shore angling in Madeira • 7
SCI. MAR. 84(4), December 2020, 000-000. ISSN-L 0214-8358
tation of new legislations (Fig. 3). A small number of
anglers (8.6%) considered it necessary to invest in the
improvement of fish stock health, considering it im-
portant to increase the knowledge of target species and
the state of ecosystems and to involve and encourage
anglers to help in research programmes. Some of the
anglers (11.3%) highlighted the importance of informa-
tion being available at the main access points to fishing
activity, such as fishing equipment stores and licencing
offices, to improve their knowledge regarding sustain-
able fishing practices and security. A high number of
anglers (69.5%) reported a decline in catches along
the coast. Most of them (57.4%) related the decline to
the debris generated from construction of new coastal
infrastructure that created a layer of mud on the bottom
impacting the habitats. Other problems reported during
the surveys included the catch of a large proportion of
fish below the minimum landing size (17.1%) and the
waste generated during fishing (23.7%).
Some anglers (5.5%) suggested that the licence
would be better in the form of a card instead of a paper
sheet. Finally, 2.1% suggested that licences with dif-
ferent durations, such as weeks, years or even lifelong
licences, should be available.
Social characterization of anglers
Thanks to the new regional regulation on marine
recreational fishing in 2016 (Regional Legislative De-
cree N° 484/2016, 14 November 2016), which includes
the need for a licence to conduct fishing activities, it
was possible for the first time to quantify the number of
recreational fishers in the region of Madeira.
In summer, the number of licence requests in-
creased, mainly the monthly ones, probably due to
the large number of people on holidays with more
leisure time to practise the activity. However, many
anglers without licence were tourists (40%), probably
due to lack of knowledge of the recently implemented
law. This amount of illegal fishing might be avoided
through the display of information signs in the most
common fishing areas, as suggested by some anglers
during the surveys (11.3%).
The decrease of 17.2% in the number of annual
licences between 2017 and 2018 could be because
the new law with the fishing licence requirement was
regulated in 2017 and most anglers decided to request
it considering that they were going to fish regularly
all year long (a large number of licences were re-
quested in the first month of the year). In 2018 some
anglers might have delayed requesting the licence to
a more favourable season, as its validity is for one
year from the date of request, or might have preferred
the monthly licence for economic reasons. This ob-
served decrease from one year to the next can serve as
confirmation of the high percentage of people who do
not fish despite having obtained a licence. The result
obtained is very close to that obtained for Spain (Ruiz
et al. 2014), which was used as a correction for the
final estimates.
Unemployed, retired and disabled anglers were
exempt from licence payment (15.2%), but 34.5% of
anglers belonging to these categories still paid for the
licence because the only office where it was possible to
obtain the free licence was located in another city (Câ-
mara de Lobos). This problem has since been rectified,
with the introduction of online and ATM payments.
New regulations are usually based on previous
studies from other regions, which could have different
environmental characteristics and a different state of
the local populations of the target species. Therefore,
some inaccuracies in the new fishing legislation of
Madeira were found, such as the daily bag limits estab-
lished for the stock control and designed to reduce fish-
ing mortality of highly exploited species, because no
studies in Madeira were performed to correctly allocate
sustainable fishing quotas to each species (Attwood
and Bennett 1995). Moreover, the minimum landing
sizes of many species of interest are smaller than the
length at maturity (Table 3; Froese and Pauly 2019),
thus compromising the reproduction of these species
(Pita et al. 2016).
The participation rate in shore angling in the Auton-
omous Region of Madeira (1.9%) is similar to the aver-
age for mainland Portugal (1.7%) and the European At-
lantic region (1.7%; Hyder et al. 2018) but lower than
that in the neighbouring Canary Islands (3.1%; Gordoa
et al. 2019). The participation rate in Porto Santo is
quite high (9.2%) compared with other countries; in
fact it was only surpassed by Norway (33.0%) and Ice-
land (31.5%) in Europe, and by Oceania (17%-19.5%)
worldwide (Cisneros-Montemayor and Sumaila 2010,
Hyder et al. 2018). The high participation rate in Porto
Santo is probably explained by the characteristics of
the island, such as its dry environment, its limited
resources and its low productivity, rendering fishing
a valuable resource. Hermida and Costa (2020) also
observed greater involvement in subsistence fishing in
Porto Santo Island.
Despite the proximity between Porto Santo and the
main island of Madeira, their environment is very dif-
ferent. Madeira is characterized by irregular and abrupt
coasts, and the access to the sea is difficult in many
places. For this reason, the docks are usually the areas
most frequently used for fishing, but some of them
cannot be used to practise the activity because of their
proximity to ports and/or bathing areas. Moreover,
areas with access to the sea are mainly occupied by
large resorts, nautical clubs and hotels. For this reason,
the conditions and accesses to fishing along the coast
should be improved, in particular in Funchal, where
an important percentage of anglers (21.5%) were
Compared with other locations, a considerable per-
centage of anglers in Madeira were women (9.7%). In
fact, the percentage of women anglers in Algarve and
in Galicia was 1% (Veiga 2012, Veiga et al. 2010, Pita
et al. 2017a), in Pico and Faial Islands, Azores 6.8%
(Diogo and Pereira 2014) and in Tenerife, Canary
Islands 7% (Pascual-Fernández et al. 2012). Higher
numbers of women anglers were registered in Cap de
Creus, Catalonia, reaching 12% of the total (Font and
8R. Martínez-Escauriaza et al.
SCI. MAR. 84(4), December 2020, 000-000. ISSN-L 0214-8358
Lloret 2011). More than half of the anglers (55.2%)
were married, a little higher than the percentage of Ma-
deiran citizens (42.3%; Direção Regional de Estatística
da Madeira 2018), but lower than the value recorded in
Galicia (68%) by Pita et al. (2018).
Temporal and spatial patterns
In relation to the favourite places to go fishing, one
third of the anglers fished all around the island, chang-
ing spots, probably following the best weather around
the island. Almost half the anglers preferred fishing on
the south coast, while some preferred the north coast,
considering that the environment there is less polluted
and fishes more abundant because the area is less in-
habited. Nevertheless, most preferred fishing around
metropolitan areas because the fishing points are more
accessible. Moreover, most of the anglers preferred
fishing on the docks and platforms over the sea, or in
rocky areas, and only a low percentage preferred to fish
at the beach, probably because of the discomfort of the
natural pebble beaches of Madeira. In addition, most
beaches are bathing areas where fishing is restricted,
and most of the target species live in rocky areas.
The presence of anglers was abundant throughout
the year, but issued licences show a slight rise in sum-
mer months, similarly to what is observed in northern
Portugal (Rangel and Erzini 2007), because people are
on holiday then and have more free time. Nevertheless,
the presence of anglers throughout the year suggests
that fishing also takes place during the winter months,
possibly because of the year-round mild weather con-
ditions in Madeira. This keeps pressure on fishing re-
sources throughout the whole year.
Catch composition, CPUE and effort
Catch and effort values obtained were quite high
(0.35 kg/angler/h) when compared with mainland
Portugal: 0.21 kg/angler/h in southern Portugal
(Veiga et al. 2010), and 0.07 kg/angler/h in northern
Portugal (Rangel and Erzini 2007). In Cap de Creus
(Spain), the CPUE ranged between 0 and 0.10 kg/
angler/h with a mean value of 96 g per angler per hour
(Font and Lloret 2011). CPUE in Madeira was higher
than in Tenerife, Canary Islands (0.10 kg/angler/h;
Pascual-Fernández et al. 2012), but lower than in Pico
and Faial islands, Azores, (0.83 kg/angler/h; Diogo
and Pereira 2014).
Results obtained from surveys can show a degree
of imprecision of the catches, influenced by the con-
straints associated with in situ survey methods (Lock-
wood 2000). Despite this, the results of the present
study seem to confirm that the anglers interviewed
in the fishing areas fish more frequently anglers than
the anglers interviewed during the licence request.
This can create an avidity bias that normally leads to
an overestimation of the results. Hence, anglers in-
terviewed at the fishing sites were excluded from the
analysis, which, in addition to the stratification of the
samples and the corrections applied, renders the results
more accurate.
Many anglers complement their catch with the
manual collection of invertebrates, mainly limpets.
Limpets have been highly exploited for human con-
sumption, constituting a permanently available re-
source which can be collected daily from the beginning
of April to the end of November, up to a maximum of
3 kg per angler per day (Regional Legislative Decree
N° 40/2016). A previous study in the Azores estimates
that the undeclared catch of limpets in the Azores is 60
times greater than the amount reported in the official
statistics each year (Pham et al. 2013).
Analysing the catches made by anglers, it was ob-
served that undersize fish are often captured (31.1%),
and at least seven targeted species were all lower than
the minimum landing size (Table 3). Moreover, the
legal minimum landing sizes of some of the targeted
species are lower than the real maturity sizes (Froese
and Pauly 2019; Table 3). It would be advisable to re-
vise the sizes in the Regional Legislative Decree N°
The most commonly caught species in Madeira co-
incided with those of nearby regions: D. sargus is one
of the most caught species in southern Portugal (Veiga
et al. 2010) and D. sargus and S. cretense are the most
fished species in the Azores (Diogo and Pereira 2014)
and Tenerife (Pascual-Fernández et al. 2012).
It is important to highlight the presence in the catch-
es of the non-indigenous species Sparus aurata Lin-
naeus, 1758, which was the sixteenth most frequently
caught fish species. Sparus aurata was introduced to
the Madeira islands in 1997 (Alves and Alves 2002,
Wirtz et al. 2008) due to escapees from marine cage
aquaculture resulting from equipment malfunction, ac-
cidents, predator activity, storms, etc. (Alves and Alves
2002). Farmed gilthead seabream escapees might have
direct impacts on the environment (Toledo-Guedes et
al. 2014, Arechavala-Lopez et al. 2018), as they can
compete with native species of similar ecological and
feeding habitats for the exploitation of natural resourc-
es (Balart et al. 2009).
Another unexpected species reported in the catches
was Mustelus spp., despite its capture and retention
being prohibited, with regulations stating that, if ac-
cidentally caught, it should be immediately released.
Economic characterization
The data obtained from the economic characteriza-
tion of the population that practises fishing showed a
large percentage of anglers with low or no reported
income. The percentage of anglers without income
was higher (30.6%) than the percentage of Madeiran
unemployed citizens (10.4%; Direção Regional de Es-
tatística da Madeira 2018). These results suggest that
most of the anglers practised this activity as a regular
food source and/or to obtain extra income. Selling all
or part of the catch is common among recreational
fishers in several countries, including Portugal (Lloret
et al. 2016, Pita et al. 2017a,b). This practice is more
common in anglers with low income or among retired
professional fishers who continue their activities with
a recreational licence (Lloret et al. 2016, Pita et al.
Shore angling in Madeira • 9
SCI. MAR. 84(4), December 2020, 000-000. ISSN-L 0214-8358
2017b). In the present study, only 3.5% of anglers
confirmed that they generally sell their catches, but the
percentage is probably underestimated, since it is an
illegal practice. To avoid or reduce this practice, Pita
et al. (2017b) propose that retired professional fishers
be afforded an economic complement to the lowest
Anglers spent around €254 per year on fishing ac-
tivity. This amount is low if compared with expenses
in mainland Portugal (€796) or Spain (€729), (Hyder
et al. 2018), but it is similar to that reported by Veiga
et al. (2013) for southern Portugal, where annual ex-
penditure on fishing equipment was around €266.
Perceptions analysis of recreational fisheries
Though many anglers accepted the new legislation,
their opinions differed regarding the need for a licence.
The surveys were performed in 2017, the first year in
which the legislation requiring licences came into ef-
fect in Madeira. In other regions, such as the southern
Portugal, recreational fishing licences have been man-
datory for several years, and anglers generally accept
the need for regulation of this type of fishery (Veiga
et al. 2013). Some anglers commented that the licence
should be cheaper or even free, as do Spanish anglers,
some of whom suggest changes to the licence system,
including the price (Pita et al. 2017a).
Moreover, some anglers considered the information
about fishing legislation and condition to be insuffi-
cient, as is the case in other Portuguese regions, where
anglers have complained about the lack of information
(Rangel and Erzini 2007, Veiga et al. 2010). In Ma-
deira, only a third of the surveyed anglers were familiar
with the new laws; others were unaware of even basic
information such as species size limits and restricted
fishery areas, which suggests the need for a stronger
effort by authorities in providing this information.
Fishery rules can be consulted on the internet, but for
many of the anglers this is complicated because of their
advanced age and/or low levels of education. An angler
training programme should be implemented and more
information should be placed in the fishing areas.
In the last few years, a large number of anglers
have observed a significant decrease in fish abun-
dance in Madeiran coasts. The same trend was de-
clared by anglers in southern Portugal (Veiga et al.
2013) and Spain (Cardona and Morales-Nin 2013).
Anglers suggested that one of the main causes is the
debris generated by works carried out over the last
few years, a problem already described in Madeira
(Hermida and Delgado 2016). Coastal environmental
degradation is caused by sand mining, dredging and
aggregate extraction and grinding for the construction
industry, contributing to the further collapse of the
coastal environment (Lopo 2004, Hermida and Del-
gado 2016). This can result in destruction of appropri-
ate nursery and recruitment habitats for coastal fishes
and the limitation of primary production by increased
turbidity, decreasing fish recruitment and increasing
fish mortality. Pollution and overfishing are other
important reasons that anglers have pointed out as
possible causes of the decline in fish abundance, as
reported by Veiga et al. (2013). Most of the coastal
areas of the world have been reported to be damaged
by pollution and overfishing, significantly affecting
the coastal environment (Pauly et al. 2003, Watson
et al. 2003, Villasante 2009). It is interesting to note
that many anglers consider that inspections are too
infrequent, as has already been pointed out in other
studies (Brouwer et al. 1997, Cardona and Morales-
Nin 2013).
Survey bias
Collecting data and obtaining accurate informa-
tion on shore recreational fishing is difficult due
to the large number of anglers involved, leading to
small and possibly unrepresentative samples (NRC
2006). Identifying potential biases and classifying
them may be useful in order to better interpret the
data from surveys (Groves et al. 2004). Errors of rep-
resentation are generated when samples do not repre-
sent the population accurately (Groves et al. 2004),
and in fisheries surveys these errors usually include
the coverage error and the non-response error (NRC
2006). A coverage error may be caused by interview-
ing anglers during the fishing activity, since there is
a higher probability of interviewing avid anglers than
those who do not practise fishing frequently. People
with little experience or without catches are often
less likely to answer (Zarauz et al. 2015), so results
are usually biased towards an over-representation of
anglers with more experience and higher catches (the
avidity bias). For this reason, part of the analysis was
performed only with data obtained in the fisheries
office when anglers were applying for the licence.
Moreover, it is common for anglers to refuse to take
part in surveys or not to answer some questions,
leading to unrepresentative results (Fisher 1996). In
this study, 11.0% of interviewees refused to partici-
pate in the survey, and 35.5% of the interviewees did
not answer all the questions, especially those related
to personal economic aspects. The overestimation
usually increases with the measurement errors,
specifically related to the difficulty of the angler in
remembering past fishing events and the tendency to
magnify their effort and catch over time (the recall
bias) (Fisher et al. 1991, Pollock et al. 1994). These
errors can also be influenced by factors such as the
frequency of participation (Thompson and Hubert
1990) or by inaccurate statements by some anglers
with regard to the catch amounts or their expenditure
(Pita et al. 2018).
It should also be noted that some of the confidence
intervals obtained are very large, indicating that there
is great heterogeneity in the surveyed population.
These data reflect the great variability of the Madeiran
anglers, so the extrapolation of the results obtained to
the population level may be imprecise. Nevertheless,
despite the limitations and inaccuracies inherent to sur-
veys, they still provide valuable information and give
a general perception of the recreational shore fisheries
in Madeira.
10R. Martínez-Escauriaza et al.
SCI. MAR. 84(4), December 2020, 000-000. ISSN-L 0214-8358
The present study demonstrates the importance
of the recreational shore angling sector in the ultra-
peripheral region of Madeira, contributing to the un-
derstanding of the implications of shore angling and
the importance of establishing connections between
anglers, researchers and legislators. The results also
support the need to incorporate basic data from recrea-
tional fisheries in the management of fish stocks.
It would be interesting to design and implement a
system for collecting information on this sector, moni-
toring recreational fisheries in the region in order to
quantify the real effort and abundance of the species
captured. Evolution of captures and effort over the
years should be registered to generate time series for the
inclusion of results in stock assessments. It is important
to make a greater effort in collecting information more
accurately, and to follow up on the catches in each fish-
ery, including sampling fish sizes. In addition, these
data could be strengthened by encouraging anglers to
voluntarily provide their catch data. A possible solu-
tion could include the development of mobile applica-
tions that simulate logbooks (Venturelli et al. 2017), or
requiring anglers to fill in a questionnaire on the previ-
ous fishing season when obtaining their licence. Also,
inspectors should collect information on catches and
fish sizes when carrying out controls, which should oc-
cur on a more regular basis, thus generating a database
that can be analysed later by researchers.
Although the results estimated in this study may be
subject to some bias, this is the first work describing
the recreational fisheries in Madeira. These results are
an important contribution to supporting fisheries man-
agement in the region, and could be the beginning of
a monitoring programme of recreational fisheries. The
integration of different sectors of society, including
anglers, fishing associations, scientists, inspectors and
legislators, is necessary to achieve a suitable manage-
ment of recreational fisheries (Arlinghaus et al. 2014,
2016), particularly in a small region like Madeira.
There are no linked research data sets for this sub-
mission. Data will be made available on request.
Thanks to all the anglers who contributed with their
time and their responses to make this study possible.
Thanks to Francesca Gizzi for helping in the revi-
sion and improving the manuscript and to Fernando
Alexandre for the native English language revision.
Roi Martínez-Escauriaza was financially supported by
the Oceanic Observatory of Madeira Project (M1420-
01-0145-FEDER-000001-Observatório Oceânico da
Madeira-OOM). Margarida Hermida was financially
supported by a postdoctoral grant from the Regional
Agency for Development of Research, Technol-
ogy and Innovation of Madeira (ARDITI), project
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The following supplementary material is available through the on-
line version of this article and at the following link:
Questionnaire used in the survey.
... Recreational fishery is a sector that is rapidly growing in Madeira and encompasses modalities, such as boat fishing, shore angling, shellfish gathering and spearfishing (Font et al. 2012, Martínez-Escauriaza 2020a. ...
... The absence or low number of women fishers is a recurrent characteristic of recreational boat fishing, as observed in other studies from different parts of the world (Lloret et al. 2008, Diogo and Pereira 2013, Ryan et al. 2013). This contrasts with the relatively high proportion of women fishers in Madeira (in comparison with other regions), around 10%, but they are mostly restricted to other modalities, especially shore angling and limpet collection (Martínez-Escauriaza et al. 2020a, Hermida andCosta 2020). The average age of recreational boat fishers was similar to that of shore angling fishers (42.9; ...
... Among all the recreational fishing modalities, a higher percentage of boat fishers (8.5%) admitted to selling their catches, followed by spearfishers (6.9%; Martínez-Escauriaza et al. 2020b) and shore anglers (3.5%; Martínez-Escauriaza et al. 2020a). This percentage is surely underestimated for all the modalities, because many fishers who sell their catch illegally are reluctant to admit it in a questionnaire. ...
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Small-scale recreational and artisanal fisheries are popular activities in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, and to date no information is available on their impact on regional coastal ecosystems. Through fishers’ surveys and official registers of fish landings, we described and characterized these fisheries in Madeira, comparing artisanal and recreational fisheries. In 2017, artisanal boats landed 91 species in fishing ports, while recreational catches landed 58 species. The most frequent catches were Dentex gibbosus, Phycis phycis and Pagrus pagrus for artisanal fishery and P. pagrus, Serranus atricauda and Diplodus spp. for recreational fishery. Comparing the same techniques, artisanal fishery always showed higher catch per unit effort values than recreational boat fishery. Nevertheless, the low number of artisanal fishery boats in comparison with the recreational ones reflected the lower total landings of the artisanal fishery, which in 2017 were 62.3 t, compared with the 509.8 t estimated catches for the recreational fishery. Though the estimated recreational fishing data were based on surveys and thus subject to various biases, this activity seems to negatively affect coastal ecosystems and, together with artisanal fishing, exerts a combined pressure on targeted species. Improved legislation for both fisheries is essential for an appropriate management of resources.
... Within Macaronesia, Cabo Verde and Madeira have the least amount of research conducted on chondrichthyans, with alarmingly no information available for batoids other than within species checklists (Wirtz et al., , 2013Biscoito et al., 2018;Freitas et al., 2019c) and landings data (Martínez-Escauriaza et al., 2020). The Azores is considered a marine biodiversity hotspot (Afonso et al., 2020), to which many chondrichthyan studies have focused on biogeography and biodiversity, movement, and trophic ecology of the species that utilize local seamounts (Kukuev and Pavlov, 2008;Das and Afonso, 2017). ...
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Marine megafauna serve valuable ecological and economical roles globally, yet, many species have experienced precipitous population declines. The significance of marine megafauna is particularly evident in Macaronesia, a complex of oceanic archipelagos in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. Macaronesian islands provide important habitats for marine megafauna species, in turn supporting considerable regional economic activity (e.g., ecotourism and fisheries). Despite this, concerted efforts to manage marine megafauna throughout Macaronesia have been limited. This systematic review provides the first description of the trends in marine megafauna research in this unique insular ecosystem, to provide a better understanding of taxa-specific research needs and future directions for conservation. We identified and validated 408 peer-reviewed publications until 2021 following the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) criteria. Literature was dominated by marine mammal research conducted in the northern archipelagos (Azores, Madeira, and Canary Islands) and marine turtle research conducted in Cabo Verde. Much less research focused on large-bodied fish, especially in Madeira and Canary Islands, leaving some of the most vulnerable species regionally data deficient. Research across scientific disciplines focused more on biological studies than management and policy, and anthropogenic impacts were quantified more frequently on mammals or turtles and less on fishes. By identifying gaps in our knowledge of megafauna in relation to threats faced by these organisms, we offer taxa-specific recommendations for future research direction. Although, overall our results indicate that determining population level connectivity should be a major research priority among many marine megafauna species as this information is vital to numerous management strategies, including marine protected areas. In this review, we present a basis of understanding of the current work in Macaronesia, highlighting critical data gaps that are urgently needed to guide the next steps towards establishing conservation priorities for marine megafauna in the region.
... Many of the featured recreational activities in oceanic islands, such as Madeira, focus on the sea, namely scuba diving, spearfishing, whale watching, and recreational fishing [73][74][75]. Involving stakeholders and their clients can complement and improve scientific data at various spatial and temporal scales [76,77]. Citizen science may contribute to ecological conservation by collecting environmental and biological data or by targeting particular species [76][77][78][79][80]. ...
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Current trends in the global climate facilitate the displacement of numerous marine species from their native distribution ranges to higher latitudes when facing warming conditions. In this work, we analyzed occurrences of a circumtropical reef fish, the spotfin burrfish, Chilomycterus reticulatus (Linnaeus, 1958), in the Madeira Archipelago (NE Atlantic) between 1898 and 2021. In addition to available data sources, we performed an online survey to assess the distribution and presence of this species in the Madeira Archipelago, along with other relevant information, such as size class and year of the first sighting. In total, 28 valid participants responded to the online survey, georeferencing 119 C. reticulatus sightings and confirming its presence in all archipelago islands. The invasiveness of the species was screened using the Aquatic Species Invasiveness Screening Kit. Five assessments rated the fish as being of medium risk of establishing a local population and becoming invasive. Current temperature trends might have facilitated multiple sightings of this thermophilic species in the Madeira Archipelago. The present study indicates an increase in C. reticulatus sightings in the region. This underlines the need for updated comprehensive information on species diversity and distribution to support informed management and decisions. The spread of yet another thermophilic species in Madeiran waters provides further evidence of an ongoing tropicalization, emphasizing the need for monitoring programs and the potential of citizen science in complementing such programs.
... Subsequently, sea urchin populations flourish as more individuals are recruited, and they reach larger sizes. The high recreative fishing activity on the coast of Madeira has been studied (Martínez-Escauriaza et al. 2020a, 2020b in addition to the effect of the predation of D. africanum on macroalgae (Alves et al. 2003). Other grazers, such as the sea urchins Arbacia lixula and herbivorous fishes (Sparisoma cretense and Sarpa salpa), also contribute to the consumption of Sargassaceae species (Verges et al. 2009). ...
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Species of the genera Cystoseira, Ericaria, Gongolaria, and Sargassum (family Sargassaceae) are key components of the Mediterranean-Atlantic marine forests, essential for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Populations of these foundational species are particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts, likely to be intensified under future scenarios of climate change. The decline and even disappearance of these species have been reported in different areas of the world. At Madeira Island (NE Atlantic), populations of Gongolaria abies-marina, Ericaria selaginoides, Sargassum vulgare, and Sargassum filipendula, the most ecologically relevant species in Macaronesian marine forests, have been suffering a drastic decline during the last decades, especially on the southern coast of the island, where anthropogenic pressure is higher than on the north coast. The lack of sufficient temporal coverage on qualitative and quantitative studies of Sargassaceae communities in Madeira poses a challenge to establish a specific period for this decline. Consulting qualitative studies and historical records, we have set for the first time a timeline that shows an evident decrease in Sargassaceae populations in the last 20 years on Madeira Island. Following this timeline, we pinpoint the start of this decline in the first decade of the 2000s. This can be particularly confirmed for places like Funchal and Reis Magos, with significantly higher historical records. Currently, most benthic communities on shallow subtidal rocky reefs along the south coast are dominated by sea urchins and crustose coralline algae, the so-called sea urchin barrens. However, in some cases, they are entirely covered by a layer of sediment. We discuss the possible factors contributing to these drastic changes, bringing Madeira's marine forests to a dramatic decline. As many animal species rely on marine forests, the decline of Sargassaceae populations represents an invaluable ecological loss for the coastal ecosystem of the island.
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Macroalgal forests play a key role in shallow temperate rocky reefs worldwide, supporting communities with high productivity and providing several ecosystem services. Sea urchin grazing has been increasingly influencing spatial and temporal variation in algae distributions and it has become the main cause for the loss of these habitats in many coastal areas, causing a phase shift from macroalgae habitats to barren grounds. The low productive barrens often establish as alternative stable states and only a major reduction in sea urchin density can trigger the recovery of macroalgal forests. The present study aims to assess if the 2018 disease outbreak, responsible for a strong reduction in the sea urchin Diadema africanum densities in Madeira Island, was able to trigger a reverse shift from barren grounds into macroalgae-dominated state. By assessing the diversity and abundance of benthic sessile organisms, macroinvertebrates and fishes before, during and after that particular mass mortality event, we evaluate changes in benthic assemblages and relate them to variations in grazer and herbivore densities. Our results revealed a clear shift from barren state to a macroalgae habitat, with barrens characterized by bare substrate, sessile invertebrate and Crustose Coralline Algae (CCA) disappearing after the mortality event. Overall variations in benthic assemblages was best explained by four taxa (among grazers and herbivores species). However, it was the 2018 demise of D. africanum and its density reduction that most contributed to the reverse shift from a long stable barren state to a richer benthic assemblage with higher abundance of macroalgae. Despite this recent increase in macroalgae dominated habitats, their stability and persistence in Madeira Island is fragile, since it was triggered by an unpredictable disease outbreak and depends on how D. africanum populations will recover. With no control mechanisms, local urchin populations can easily reach the tipping point needed to promote a new shift into barren states. New conservation measures and active restoration are likely required to maintain and promote the local stability of macroalgal forests.
Full-text available
Marine forests ecosystems are typical of temperate rocky benthic areas. These systems are formed by canopy-forming macroalgae (Laminariales, Tilopteridales and Fucales) of high ecological value that provide numerous ecosystem services. These key species are also indicators of good environmental status. In recent decades, marine forests have been threatened by different impacts of local and global origin, putting their stability and survival in question. On a global scale, in many temperate areas of the planet, marine forests have been replaced by "sea-urchins barrens". We present a general overview of sea-urchins’ population status in the archipelagos of Azores, Webbnesia (Madeira, Selvagens and Canary Islands) and Cabo Verde, focusing on their role in the maintenance of the so-called "alternate stable state". After an in-depth evaluation of the different anthropogenic and environmental pressures, we conclude that sea-urchins population explosion has been facilitated in the benthic habitats of Madeira and Canary Islands, preventing the recovery of canopy-forming macroalgae assemblages and being one of the main drivers in maintaining a stable barren state. Diadema africanum is the main barrens-forming species in Webbnesia, where it reaches high densities and strongly impacts macroalgal assemblages. On the other hand, in the most pristine areas, such as the Selvagens Islands and other Marine Protected Areas from the Canary Islands, the density of D. africanum is up to 65% lower than in the nearby Madeira Island, and macroalgal communities are preserved in good status. This information is critical for marine environmental management, highlighting the urgent need for implementation of appropriate control mechanisms and restoration actions headed to the conservation of marine forests in Macaronesian archipelagos.
Technical Report
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Existe una creciente preocupación sobre el impacto de la pesca marítima recreativa (PMR) en los ecosistemas marinos, y sobre sus efectos combinados con otras actividades humanas, como la pesca comercial, especialmente en los niveles tróficos superiores. Por otro lado, los pescadores recreativos proporcionan considerables beneficios económicos a través de sus gastos en aparejos de pesca, embarcaciones, licencias y viajes. Sin embargo, la investigación sobre PMR en Europa es limitada, particularmente en los países del Sur. En Galicia se necesita información detallada sobre la PMR para apoyar la labor de las administraciones y reducir los conflictos crecientes entre los pescadores recreativos y otros usuarios de los ecosistemas costeros, incluido el sector de la pesca comercial. Este documento proporciona el primer análisis exhaustivo de la PMR en Galicia, incluyendo su relevancia económica, social y ecológica, a partir de una encuesta respondida por 363 pescadores recreativos. Se estimó que en la actualidad en Galicia operan aproximadamente 60 000 pescadores recreativos, distribuidos en 45 000 pescadores desde costa, 12 000 pescadores desde embarcación y 3 000 pescadores submarinos. Cada año, demandas bienes por valor de 86 millones (M)€, principalmente en artes de pesca y otros gastos, mientras que los propietarios de embarcaciones gastan otros 11 M€. La actividad de los pescadores es mayor en verano y primavera, especialmente en el caso de los pescadores desde embarcación. Los pescadores recreativos capturan 38 especies de peces y cefalópodos, pero las más comunes fueron la maragota (Labrus bergylta), la lubina (Dicentrarchus labrax) y el sargo (Diplodus sargus). La captura recreativa anual es de aproximadamente 7 500 t (5-13% de los desembarcos totales sobre las mismas especies); los pescadores desde costa son responsables del 50% de las capturas recreativas, los pescadores desde embarcación del 40%, y los pescadores submarinos del 10%. Es necesario un mayor grado de involucración por parte de los gestores, científicos, pescadores recreativos, y otras partes interesadas para mejorar la sostenibilidad socio-ecológica de la PMR. En primer lugar, es primordial empezar a recopilar de manera sistemática información estandarizada sobre PMR en Galicia, que resulte comparable con la obtenida en otras regiones europeas.
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Marine recreational fishing (MRF) is a high-participation activity with large economic value and social benefits globally, and it impacts on some fish stocks. Although reporting MRF catches is a European Union legislative requirement, estimates are only available for some countries. Here, data on numbers of fishers, participation rates, days fished, expenditures, and catches of two widely targeted species were synthesized to provide European estimates of MRF and placed in the global context. Uncertainty assessment was not possible due to incomplete knowledge of error distributions; instead, a semi-quantitative bias assessment was made. There were an estimated 8.7 million European recreational sea fishers corresponding to a participation rate of 1.6%. An estimated 77.6 million days were fished, and expenditure was €5.9 billion annually. There were higher participation, numbers of fishers, days fished and expenditure in the Atlantic than the Mediterranean, but the Mediterranean estimates were generally less robust. Comparisons with other regions showed that European MRF participation rates and expenditure were in the mid-range, with higher participation in Oceania and the United States, higher expenditure in the United States, and lower participation and expenditure in South America and Africa. For both northern European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax, Moronidae) and western Baltic cod (Gadus morhua, Gadidae) stocks, MRF represented 27% of the total removals. This study highlights the importance of MRF and the need for bespoke, regular and statistically sound data collection to underpin European fisheries management. Solutions are proposed for future MRF data collection in Europe and other regions to support sustainable fisheries management.
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Recreational fisheries surveys are limited in time and place in many countries. This lack of data limits scientific understanding and sustainable management. Smartphone applications (apps) allow anglers to record the details of their fishing trips and catches. In this study, we describe the opportunities and challenges associated with angler apps as a source of recreational fisheries data, and propose minimum standards for data collection via angler apps. Angler apps are a potentially valuable source of conventional and novel data that are both frequent and extensive, and an opportunity to engage anglers through data sharing and citizen science. Realizing this potential requires that we address significant challenges related to angler recruitment and retention, data quality and bias, and integration with existing fisheries programmes. We propose solutions to each of these challenges. Given that the angler app market is diverse, competitive and unpredictable, we emphasize minimum standards for data collection as a way to ensure large and reliable data sets that can be compared and integrated across apps. These standards relate to trips and catches, and angler demographics and behaviour, and should be supported through consultation and research. Angler apps have the potential to fundamentally change how anglers interact with the resource and with management.
A survey of fish and seafood consumption habits was carried out in Madeira archipelago, in the Eastern Atlantic. A total of 465 valid questionnaires were obtained from all municipalities of Madeira and Porto Santo islands. Cod, an imported product, but a traditional Portuguese staple food, was the most frequently consumed species, surpassing locally caught species such as tunas and scabbardfish. In a GLM analysis, taste emerged as the most important factor conditioning fish consumption frequency, followed by fishing activity. The survey uncovered high participation in subsistence fishing and informal fish acquisition outside the commercial circuit.
Gilthead sea bream and European sea bass aquaculture is widely established in the Mediterranean and North-eastern Atlantic regions, and rearing is mainly in coastal net-pen facilities. The rapid growth of the fish farming industry increases the potential number of farmed fish in the wild. Escape-related issues are likely to increase unless escape-management policies are included into the aquaculture legislation in the near future. This review summarizes the potential direct interactions among escaped fish and nearby farmed fish stocks, wild conspecifics and coastal fish populations, since these interactions could compromise sustainability in coastal areas. Socio-economic implications are also addressed, given that escape events can also lead to economic losses for farmers and may alter local fishery landings. Fish markets and consumers might be also affected. This review compiles the current knowledge on the potential effects of escapees in coastal areas, and contributes to the existing risks analyses regarding sea bream and sea bass escapes. Eventually, the need to design management policies to prevent or minimize escape events and to mitigate further impacts, applicable to Mediterranean countries and of special interest in areas where these species are locally absent, is discussed in the context of sustainable fin-fish aquaculture.
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.