Feb 25

Taking the Initiative on Maltese Trawl Industry Management. Industry and Science Collaboration on Identifying Nursery and Spawning Areas for Trawl Fisheries Target Species

  • Nicholas Flores Martin
  • Chapter

Collaborative Research in Fisheries pp 249-262


Malta has managed a Fisheries Management Zone (FMZ), which extends to 25 NM from the baseline of the Maltese Islands, since 1971. The key aim of the Malta FMZ is to protect the fisheries resources of Malta’s marine area and the ecosystems on which they depend. While bottom trawling is limited in terms of the number of vessels, it is one of the major contributors to landings. As of the start of the GAP project (April 2011), 12 bottom trawlers were licensed to trawl within the FMZ. The study was originally the initiative of fishers, motivated by the need to have data that could be used as a basis to advise on the management of the trawling fleet working within the FMZ. Throughout the sampling design stage, the methodology was discussed between fishers and scientists with the aim of using fishers’ knowledge to determine sampling locations while at the same time obtaining sound results. A 13-month study was conducted, using modified versions of “mazara” type nets traditionally used by Maltese bottom trawlers. The nets had two square mesh cod-ends with mesh sizes of 40 mm and 20 mm. Data were collected on seven target species and three non-target species which will be used to address data gaps with respect to nursery and spawning areas of local populations of targeted stocks. This chapter provides an initial discussion on the potential contribution of the information collected to provide management advice for Malta’s trawl fisheries management plan, the main focus of which is the control of fishing effort.


Co-management Mediterranean Stock assessment Fishers’ knowledge Malta