Mapping fishing grounds, resource and fleet patterns to enhance management units in data-poor fisheries: The case of snappers and groupers in the Abrolhos Bank coral-reefs (South Atlantic)
In most small-scale fisheries, especially in developing countries, the collection of reliable fishing statistics is not regular, hampering traditional stock assessments. In those data-poor fisheries, a precise knowledge of resources co-occurrence at the ecosystem level, as well as the spatial mapping of fishing activities seem key to support management in a complex fishers-environment context. In the largest South Atlantic coralline reef, the Abrolhos Bank, fisheries are extremely diverse in terms of exploitation capacity, fishing gears, target stocks and operating areas, but any regional fisheries management is currently in place. The aim of this study was to assess, organize, and analyze fisheries of three snappers (Lutjanus jocu, L. synagris and Ocyurus chrysurus), and three groupers (Cephalopholis fulva, Epinephelus morio and Mycteroperca bonaci) along the Abrolhos Bank, with an ultimate goal of proposing useful management units. Surveys were conducted in the main fishing ports, including fishers' interviews and fish size measures in landings. Data analysis allowed a precise fishing characterization, a grouping of stocks co-occurrence, and the mapping of fishing spots and grounds. Three stocks and seven fishing areas clusters were obtained and defined statistically, suggesting useful management units. Specific fishers' groups per fleet were identified as the main stakeholders to be consulted in fisheries plans. Spatial units based on the occurrence of snappers and groupers stocks were defined, having the “Parcel das Paredes” the greatest number of fishing spots and the lower fish sizes. Overall, findings contain unprecedented fine scale resolution units that clarifies and simplifies the connections among species, fleets, fishing areas and fishers. They should also strength the call for action to implement fisheries management in a broader ecosystem-scale context.