The mutable nassa, Tritia mutabilis, a marine gastropod that is widely exploited on the Adriatic coast is an important source of income for small-scale fishermen in the Mediterranean Sea, particularly in the Gulf of Lion. However, the lack of knowledge on the ecology and biology of this species limits our capacities to propose and produce an effective management plan. As a result, stocks are currently declining, especially in Italy. In order to optimize a management plan for this fishery, we designed a study to better characterize the reproductive biology of T. mutabilis, using gonad histology and performing a regular monitoring of population size frequency. The average shell height of individuals during the breeding period was 24 ± 2.7 mm for males and 30 ± 3.7 mm for females. The presence of small females (10 mm) and large males (32 mm) in the whole sample challenged previous assumptions regarding protandry (sex change from male to female). The size at first maturity was estimated for males and females at 17.5 mm and 24.4 mm shell height, respectively. In Italy, current management measures include a minimum conservation reference size of 20 mm in shell height. Therefore, it is likely that many individuals that did not reproduce are being caught, which could partly explain the decline observed, despite conservation measures introduced more than ten years ago. Overall, our study provides some baseline information to establish, in consultation with fishermen, management measures for this small-scale fishery in France.
Auteurs du document :
Alicia Mallet, Jean-Yves Jouvenel, Morgane Broyon, Nelly Pirot, Benjamin Geffroy
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Mots clés :
gonad histology, gonochoric species, size at first maturity, fisheries management