The ongoing decrease of fish stocks worldwide due to the increase of fishing pressure makes it necessary to apply a series of measures in order to restore the stocks. Next to a variety of EU coordinated measures, a variety of ideas have been generated aiming at assisting the main policy towards sustainable fishery management. The use of stock enhancement applications such as artificial reefs and fishery exclusion zones are the most popular ones and have already been implemented providing promising results. These methodologies aim at increasing fish populations densities, reduction of natural mortality and improving growth, and feeding efficiency. The problem of these interventions is the high cost for the establishment, monitoring, surveillance and management of the installations.
The emerging idea, to increase fish populations, through the reduction of natural mortality in early stage of fish’s life, seems to promise a better result. The reproduction capacity of fish is incredibly high, but a large portion of the population is lost on the way because of ongoing natural and anthropogenic mortality. The most vulnerable time in the life of fish is the egg to fry period. If we could provide survival opportunities to juveniles when they have reached autonomous propelling abilities in settlement areas, the impact on the fishable biomass should be great. Every gram of biomass that has been saved in juvenile fish may provide one to ten kilograms of adult fish.
The aim of this Project is to meet these requirements in the most lucrative fishing section of the Mediterranean, the demersal fishery. The objective of the project is to provide to the fishing industry with simple and inexpensive means in order to establish large scale protection programs. The innovative final products that will be developed will be easy to deploy devices, constructed from nets and other inexpensive synthetic materials. For experimental research purposes, different types of protecting devices are expected to be built and tested both under controlled conditions in mesocosm tanks as well as in the open sea. For this purpose, we will deploy experimental devices in the underwater science park of Hellenic Centre for Marine Research in Kato Gouves of Heraklion.