Landing surveys at local fish markets – Marsa, Malta

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is the environmental pillar of Europe’s maritime policy seeking to provide monitoring and assessment of exploited marine species in Maltese Waters. AquaBioTech Groups involvement in the MSFD project focuses on landing surveys at local fish markets based on approved methodologies whilst enabling the application of the relevantMSFD criteria. 

ABTG Marine & Fisheries department focuses on ‘Fisheries Stock Assessments’​ which includes the monitoring & assessment of exploited marine species in Maltese waters​. This is achieved by Market visits​; Onboard surveys; Stakeholder interviews​; Data collection & analysis​. These statistical assessments of populations give insight into Fishing efforts​; Record and Quantity of caught species; Length & weight measurements​; Determination of sex & maturity. 

As part of the MSFD Project (Activity 2) Dr. Imane Haddi and colleagues Justin Galea and Jorge G. Serrano from ABTG Marine & Fisheries department visited a local fish market in Marsa, Malta. Their activity consisted of recording all the names of the species found in the market and buying samples from the specified ERA species list. These samples are then assessed in the lab, the biometric parameters taken, and macroscopic maturity stage observed for each individual. 

The MSFD Project data should enable assessment of seasonal variations among species regarding landings, bycatch and biological indicators. The data provided by ABTG will serve in stock assessment of commercially exploited fish and shellfish to ensure that they are within safe biological limits, exhibiting a population age and size distribution that is indicative of a healthy stock. 

Such studies are important to expand our current knowledge on marine environmental issues to raise awareness among scientists and the public ensuring sustainable harvest of fish resources, allowing for a secure food supply without exploiting marine species in Maltese waters.