Technical measures without enforcement tools: is there any sense? A methodological approach for the estimation of passive net length in small scale fisheries
Passive nets are currently among the most important fishing gears largely used along the Mediterranean coasts by the small scale fisheries sector. The fishing effort exerted by this sector is strongly correlated with net dimensions. Therefore, the use of passive nets is worldwide managed by defining net length and net drop. The EC Reg. 1967/2006 reports that the length of bottom-set and drifting nets may be also defined considering their weight or volume; however, no practical suggestions for fisheries inspectors are yet available. Consequently, even if such technical measures are reasonable from a theoretical viewpoint, they are hardly suitable as a management tool, due to the difficulties in harbour control. The overall objective of this paper is to provide a quick methodological approach for the gross estimation of passive net length (by net type) on the basis of net volume. The final goal is to support fisheries managers with suitable advice for enforcement and control purposes. The results obtained are important for the management of the fishing effort exerted by small scale fisheries. The methodology developed in this study should be considered as a first attempt to tackle the tangled problem of net length estimation that can be easily applied in other fisheries and areas in order to improve the precision of the models developed herein.