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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effects of recreational Paracentrotus lividus fishing on distribution patterns of sea urchins at Ustica Island MPA (Western Mediterranean, Italy).

Published source details

Gianguzza P., Chiantore M., Bonaviri C., Cataneo-Vietti R., Vielmini I. & Riggio S. (2006) The effects of recreational Paracentrotus lividus fishing on distribution patterns of sea urchins at Ustica Island MPA (Western Mediterranean, Italy). Fisheries Research, 81, 37-44


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Designate a Marine Protected Area with a zonation system of activity restrictions Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

A site comparison study in 2003–2004 of three rocky seabed sites within a marine protected area with a zonation system, off Ustica Island, Mediterranean Sea, Italy (Gianguzza et al. 2006) found that overall at a fully protected site that had been prohibiting all fishing for 17–18 years, abundances and sizes of two species of sea urchins were higher than at partially protected sites where recreational fishing of purple sea urchins Paracentrotus lividus occurred, but effects varied seasonally. Abundances of purple and black sea urchins Arbacia lixula were higher in the fully protected than the partially protected sites in summer (purple: 2.9 vs 0.7–1.3/m2, black: 3.1 vs 1.7–1.9/m2) and autumn (purple: 4.1 vs 1.6–2.1/m2, black: 2.3 vs 0.7–1/m2), but not spring (purple: 2.3 vs 2.3–2.9/m2, black: 1.5 vs 2.0/m2). Purple sea urchins were larger in the fully protected than the partially protected sites in spring (fully: 45 vs partially: 31–34 mm), summer (43 vs 35–37 mm) and autumn (44 vs 32–35 mm). Black sea urchins were smaller in the fully protected than the partially protected sites in autumn (31 vs 35–37 mm), but similarly sized across sites in spring and summer (37–42 vs 39–45 mm). Ustica Island marine protected area was established in 1986 with a no-take zone and a partially protected zone where some recreational activities take place. In 1994, recreational fishing for purple sea urchin inside the partially protected zone was reopened following undesirable increases in their abundance leading to barren areas. At one site in the no-take zone and two in the partially protected (4–8 m depth), divers identified and counted all urchins along three 10 m2 transects, twice in autumn 2003, in spring 2004, and in summer 2004. The diameter (not including spines) of urchins inside 1 m2 quadrats was measured.

(Summarised by Anaëlle Lemasson)