Climatic Change

, Volume 122, Issue 1–2, pp 41–54 | Cite as

Indications of a climate effect on Mediterranean fisheries

  • Evangelos Tzanatos
  • Dionysios E. Raitsos
  • George Triantafyllou
  • Stylianos Somarakis
  • Anastasios A. Tsonis


Using the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Mediterranean capture fisheries production dataset in conjunction with global and Mediterranean sea surface temperatures, we investigated trends in fisheries landings and landings per unit of effort of commercially important marine organisms, in relation to temperature oscillations. In addition to the overall warming trend, a temperature shift was detected in the Mediterranean Sea in the late 1990s. Fisheries landings fluctuations were examined for the most abundant commercial species (59 species) and showed significant year-to-year correlations with temperature for nearly 60 % of the cases. From these, the majority (~70 %) were negatively related and showed a reduction of 44 % on average. Increasing trends were found, mainly in the landings of species with short life spans, which seem to have benefited from the increase in water temperature. Τhe effect of oceanic warming is apparent in most species or groups of species sharing ecological (e.g. small and medium pelagic, demersal fish) or taxonomic (e.g. cephalopods, crustaceans) traits. A landings-per-unit-of-effort (LPUE) proxy, using data from the seven Mediterranean European Union member states, also showed significant correlation with temperature fluctuations for six out of the eight species examined, indicating the persistence of temperature influence on landings when the fishing effect is accounted for. The speed of response of marine landings to the warming of the Mediterranean Sea possibly shows both the sensitivity and the vulnerable state of the fish stocks and indicates that climate should be examined together with fisheries as a factor shaping stock fluctuations.


Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Fishing Effort Temperature Oscillation Purse Seine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Tassos Eleftheriou, Margaret Eleftheriou, Daniel Pauly, George Sugihara, John Steele, Themis Chronis and especially Anthony J. Richardson for their comments on early drafts of this manuscript. We would also like to thank the Associate Deputy Editor and two anonymous referees for their comments on the manuscript. This research was supported by: a) OPEC European Project (283291) supported within DG SPACE for the FP7 for Cooperation, b) MEECE European Project (212085) supported within Theme 6 Environment of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, and c) the Southern European Seas Assessing and Modeling (SESAME) project, European Commission Contract GOCE-036949, funded by the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme under the priority “Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems.”

Supplementary material

10584_2013_972_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (15 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 15 kb)
10584_2013_972_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (13 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 13 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evangelos Tzanatos
    • 1
  • Dionysios E. Raitsos
    • 2
  • George Triantafyllou
    • 3
  • Stylianos Somarakis
    • 4
  • Anastasios A. Tsonis
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece
  2. 2.Remote Sensing GroupPlymouth Marine Laboratory (PML)PlymouthUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR)Institute of OceanographyAnavissosGreece
  4. 4.Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR)Institute of Marine Biological ResourcesIraklionGreece
  5. 5.Department of Mathematical Sciences, Atmosphere Sciences GroupUniversity of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA

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