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Current state of overfishing and its regional differences in the Black Sea

Long-term (1950-2006) changes of fish landings in combination with some ecosystem indicators are used to evaluate the status and sustainability of the Black Sea fishery. Following the depletion of large pelagic predator and demersal fish stocks during the 1950-1960s, the main fishery was targetted on small and medium pelagics that declined abruptly to similar to 200 kton (kton 10(3) t) at 1989-1991 after a highly productive (similar to 750 kton) but overfished state in the 1980s. Thereafter, total landings in all the Black Sea countries except Turkey remained at most 10% level of the previous phase. For Turkey, only the low cost anchovy fishery was able to maintain at the mean catch size of 368 +/- 74 kton for 1992-2006 that however represented roughly twice of the maximum sustainable catch. The absence of fish within the western, eastern and northern regions and the presence of only a fluctuating heavily exploited anchovy fishery in the southern region during the last 20 years demand an immediate common ecosystem-based fishery management policy and actions by all the coastal states. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.