Birkan R., Öndes F. 2020. Socio-economic characteristics of small-scale fisheries in the Aegean Sea, Turkey (eastern Mediterranean). Acta Ichthyol. Piscat. 50 (3): 257–268.
The socio-economic characteristics of small-scale fisheries have rarely been documented in the eastern Mediterranean. This study aimed to determine the current socio-demographic status, historical changes in demography and fishing activity, fishing expenditures, and the main problems of small-scale fisheries in the Aegean Sea.
Materials and methods.
Data were collected in 2018, using face-to-face questionnaires from small-scale fishers (n = 190) representing three sub-regions (northern, central, and southern Aegean Sea). The questionnaire included information regarding the main characteristics of fishing vessels, demographic characteristics of fishers, expenditures involved, and other important issues. Furthermore, some demographic characteristics (e.g., age and marriage status) and fishery-specific characteristics (e.g., active fisher ratio) observed in our study, were compared to the published data, to reveal if any changes have prevailed historically.
The mean age of fishers was 50 ± 10 years, and many of them were married males with primary school education. The highest two fisheries expenditures were fuel and oil expenses and personnel (crew) expenses. The fisheries expenditures did not show a statistically significant difference in terms of geographical location. However, there was a significant difference in the total fisheries expenditures depending on fishery type; fishers who use an encircling net reported higher expenditures, in comparison to other fishing types. The results showed that the active fisher ratio and the ratio of fishers who do not have other income has decreased significantly over the last 10 years. In addition, engine power (kW) showed a significant increase over the last 15–16 years. The main problems identified were insufficient inspection, illegal fisheries, and a decrease in stocks.
Increased fishing expenditures and decreasing fish stocks in the Aegean Sea resulted in a decrease in the number of active fishers. Therefore, many fishers tended to have additional jobs, and some of them considered leaving fishing. To maintain the sustainable management of the small-scale fisheries in Turkey, we suggested that the catch and fishing effort should be monitored using the mandatory logbooks, and the hook number should be standardized.
Aegean Sea, fisheries management, fisheries economy, sustainable fisheries, fishing expenditures