The status of the Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries was evaluated for the period 1970-2010 on a subarea basis, using various indicators including the temporal variability of total landings, the number of recorded stocks, the mean trophic level of the catch, the fishing-in-balance index and the catch-based method of stock classification.
All indicators confirmed that the fisheries resources of the Mediterranean and Black Sea are at risk from overexploitation. The pattern of exploitation and the state of stocks differed among the western (W), central (C) and eastern (E) Mediterranean subareas and the Black Sea (BS), with the E Mediterranean and BS fisheries being in a worst shape.
Indeed, in the E Mediterranean and the BS, total landings, mean trophic level of the catch and fishing-in-balance index were declining, the cumulative percentage of overexploited and collapsed stocks was higher, and the percentage of developing stocks was lower, compared to the W and C Mediterranean. Our results confirm the need for detailed and extensive stock assessments across species that will eventually lead to stocks recovering through conservation and management measures.