General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Mediterranean coastal lagoons: sustainable management and interactions among aquaculture, capture fisheries and the environment

Studies and Reviews. General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean. No. 95. Rome, FAO 2015

Author: Cataudella, S.;Crosetti, D.;Massa, F.;

The Mediterranean region hosts around 400 coastal lagoons, covering a surface of over 641 000 ha differing in both their typology and use. Fisheries and various forms of aquaculture have been traditionally carried out in Mediterranean coastal lagoons since ancient times and are part of the cultural heritage of the region. Traditional lagoon management linked to extensive aquaculture and fish harvesting has certainly contributed, over time, to preserve these peculiar ecosystems, although much of the coastal lagoon areas have progressively disappeared due to land reclamation and other uses. Recently, coastal lagoons have become a relevant environmental concern: land claiming, pollution and the lack of management, among other factors, have strongly modified both the structure and functioning of these sensitive coastal ecosystems. In particular, the management of traditional aquaculture and capture fisheries activities has been identified as the main instrument to maintain lagoons’ ecological features and to prevent the degradation of their sensitive habitats, both from an environmental and socioeconomic point of view. To guarantee the sustainability of aquaculture and capture fisheries in lagoons, proper management plans should be established so as to ensure the preservation of both biodiversity and local knowledge. This should also be considered as a fundamental pillar for any programme aiming at the preservation and restoration of lagoons’ environment.


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