Experimental fishing and visual censuses were conducted at nine Posidonia oceanica sites off Minorca exposed to different levels of fishing intensity to assess the effects of recreational fishing on the species that dominate the catch. Total catch per unit effort (CPUE) was highly seasonal and a statistically significant interaction term existed between the season and the level of fishing intensity, CPUE decreased everywhere at the end of the fishing season (autumn), but such a reduction was more intense at those sites exposed to the highest level of fishing. Visual censuses confirmed that there was a lower abundance of vulnerable fish in autumn. Differences vanished in spring probably because fish reshuffled between the considered sites throughout the winter, when the level of fishing intensity was extremely low. Although the average total lengths of Serranus scriba and Diplodus annularis were unaffected by the level of fishing intensity, the average total length of Coris julis was smaller at the most heavily fished sites. In conclusion, recreational fishing has a relevant impact on most of the exploited species and some of the seasonality reported for the Posidonia oceanica fish assemblages might be caused by the seasonality of the fishery.
Cardona, L., López, D., Sales, M., De Caralt, S., & Díez, I. (2007). Effects of recreational fishing on three fish species from the Posidonia oceanica meadows off Minorca (Balearic archipelago, western Mediterranean). Scientia Marina, 71(4), 811–820. https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.2007.71n4811