Commercial small-scale fishing in the Mediterranean Sea accounts for more than 80% of the commercial fishing fleet. Commercial small-scale fishing competes with non-professional fishing, such as recreational and illegal fishing, however fisheries statistics usually fail to report non-professional fishing data.

This study aimed to investigate the competition between fishing categories (commercial, recreational and illegal fishing) and their temporal variability in two future Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Tunisia. To do so, over a 2-year period, 213 small-scale coastal fisheries landings were monitored and socio-economic information was collected using direct questionnaires.

The obtained results highlight that: 1) At least 48% of non-professional fishers admitted selling the catch, 2) Illegal and recreational fishing mean catch per fishers per day, represented, respectively, 40% and 20% of commercial fishing, 3) Catch rates and species richness for illegal and commercial fishing followed the same temporal patterns at both locations, 4) All fishing categories fished high trophic levels and vulnerable species, and 5) Potential economic values of illegal and recreational fishing catch were significantly higher than those of commercial fishing.

The authors highlight that these findings provide quantitative evidence of competition between illegal and legal (commercial and recreational) fishing in the Mediterranean Sea.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/fme.12321

Ben Lamine et al. (2018) Comparing commercial, recreational and illegal coastal fishery catches and their economic values: A survey from the southern Mediterranean Sea. Fisheries Management and Ecology 25:456-463.