Biodiversity changes in relation to the Galician Small-Scale Fisheries

The Galician artisanal sector is a multi-specific and multi-gear small-scale fishery of enormous socio-economic importance both within Spain and at the EU level. However, despite its key role for the local communities and cultures, there is a lack of basic scientific research regarding multiple fishery and ecological aspects that would help to gain deep knowledge on the resources dynamics. The Technical Unit of Artisanal Fisheries (UTPB) runs a monitoring fishery-dependent program since 1999 that serves the autonomous government (Xunta de Galicia) to develop and implement simple exploitation plans in conjunction with the several fishers associations (‘cofradías’) distributed along the Galician coast. Briefly, data are recorded by UTPB observers onboard fishing vessels randomly selected from within the artisanal fleet (~4000 boats) and assumed to be representative for the numerous set of species and gears and with a sufficient spatial and temporal coverage. This project aims at taking advantage of these data (>40,000 sampled hauls over a 17 yr period) to specifically perform community ecology analyses. In particular, we propose to investigate the spatio-temporal changes in the assemblage composition targeted by the SSF. We are also interested in developing research to evaluate the variability in local biodiversity along the geographic gradient and across the monitored years in relation to the prevailing oceanographic and climatic conditions, so as to evaluate the impact of the current exploitation regimes. Furthermore, we aim at assessing the impact on the ecosystem functioning, for instance, its productivity. Finally, complementary analyses on functional diversity are also desirable.

The post-doc fellow will work on a regional project focused on understanding the dynamics and impacts of the Galician Small-Scale Fisheries.