New Data on the Biology and Fisheries of the Threatened Palinurus elephas (Fabricius, 1787) (Decapoda, Achelata, Palinuridae) from the North-West Aegean Sea, Greece
The European spiny lobster Palinurus elephas is a vulnerable species that inhabits and is harvested in the Mediterranean Sea and the adjacent Atlantic waters. The fisheries associated with the spiny lobster are mainly conducted with tangle nets, trammel nets, pots, and creels. The fishing pressure has greatly reduced their numbers, changing them from a common shallow coastal species to a largely remnant population. The relative research on the species' biology and fisheries from the eastern
... rom the eastern Mediterranean Sea is almost absent. The fishery along the Chalkidiki Peninsula, Greece, is multispecies, and fishing is conducted by a small number of artisanal fishermen mainly using trammel nets. The lobster stock—both spiny and clawed lobsters—declined significantly during the late 1980s and early 1990s, later than most cases in the Mediterranean Sea. However, data regarding the nature and status of the fishery associated with the spiny lobster in Greece are lacking. Data regarding the characteristics of the spiny regional fishery were obtained by interviews and questionnaires. Additionally, fishery surveys were conducted during the main lobster fishing season from 1 May 2017 to 31 August 2017. Sixteen species were identified (15 finfish species and one invertebrate species) as targeted. In total, 79 spiny lobsters were sampled in this study; the population's sex ratio significantly diverts from the theoretical 1:1 (χ2 = 4.57; p < 0.05), and males were dominant. Both male and female individuals demonstrate negative allometric growth profiles. In addition, no significant differences were observed between sexes. In Greece, thus far, the knowledge and information are sporadic, limited, and/or species-specific, most of which regard finfish fisheries. Furthermore, the national legislation is rather complicated—or too generalized—thus creating great uncertainties. The in-depth knowledge and experience of fishermen should be further acknowledged and utilized, and wider collaborations among scientists, practitioners, and policy-makers should be established. The present study poses some thoughts on the effectiveness of the recent EU Landing Obligation and its contribution to the potential restoration of the species.