The artisanal fishery for muricid gastropods in the Ria Formosa lagoon (Algarve coast, southern Portugal) is a locally important fishing activity because the banded murex (Hexaplex trunculus) and the purple dye murex (Bolinus brandaris) are greatly appreciated seafoods with high commercial value in the Portuguese seafood market. An integrated study was implemented to monitor the muricid gastropod fishery with the artisanal fishing gear ("wallet-line") through monthly experimental fishing operations carried out during one year. The aim was to describe the fishing operations and fishing gear, to estimate the fishing yield, to characterise the target species catch composition, and to identify by-catch species and discards. The "wallet-line" is neither a species-specific nor a size-selective fishing gear, because the catches comprised a variety of by-catch species and a high proportion of commercially under-sized target species. The vast majority of the by-catch is discarded immediately on board, so mortality is presumably negligible. The CPUE of both target species and by-catch species decreased during consecutive fishing days, mainly due to declining bait attraction. Considering the overall information gathered on this fishing activity, some management measures are proposed for this artisanal fishery, which might ultimately contribute to the long-term sustainable exploitation of the fishing resource.
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