Small-scale fisheries are an important fisheries sector in Greece and the Mediterranean. They are characterized by high heterogeneity and a multitude of particularities. The management of small-scale fisheries requires taking into account biological as well as social and economical elements. In the present study, a typology of Greek small-scale fisheries was developed based on biological, social and economical parameters. Consequently, the study focused in the Patraikos Gulf, where elements such as the fishing activity of the local fleet, catch and catch per unit of effort, species composition, discards and length composition of individuals caught were examined. The prefectures of Greece were stratified considering the number of fishermen and local dependence on fisheries and interviews of fishermen were carried out. The multitude of fishing gears and target species and the intense spatial heterogeneity was confirmed. The major activity pattern identified was seasonal (20 days of activity in summer, 13 in winter), however local particularities arose. The main metiers practiced were identified as combinations of fishing gear, target species, area and season. Concerning socio-economical elements, the fishermen generally had low education, high average age, tendency to remain in their place of birth and the profession is attached to the family. The fishermen were categorized into three dependence groups, based on the percentage of income originating from fisheries. Significant differences were identified among these groups considering variables such as mean fishermen age, vessel size, days of activity and income from fishing. Consequently, the small-scale fisheries of the Patraikos Gulf were studied using data from sampling of fishing operations. The catch weighted about 12 kg per operation on average and a total of 102 species were recorded. A methodology for the identification of metiers using a limited dataset, as is often the case in the Mediterranean, was developed. The metiers identified showed significant differences in catch quantity and composition and were grouped in meta-metiers to facilitate fishing activity sampling schemes. The study of discards revealed three reasons for discarding: low commercial value (78% of discards), destruction of the catch before gear retrieval (5%) and bad handling of the catch on board (17%). High discard ratio was recorded for the longline and small-size mesh trammel net metiers. Using data of individual length per species, comparisons were carried out among metiers and seasons that in most cases revealed significant differences. The study of the effect of minimum landing sizes legislation showed a low percentage of undersized individuals regarding both the legislation currently in effect and the proposed one by the Roadmap for the Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy of the European Union, but exceptions arose for certain species. The present work is the foothold for the development of a methodology for studying small-scale fisheries in Greece and for carrying out comparative studies in a European scale concerning this understudied fishing sector.
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