Human impacts on the endangered fan mussel, Pinna nobilis

Fikret Öndes, Michel J. Kaiser, Harun Güçlüsoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Pinna nobilis is a sensitive and vulnerable species and is hence considered a good indicator of anthropogenic pressures on marine ecosystems. This study provides novel data on the density and distribution of endangered P. nobilis on the Turkish coasts. Threats to the status of P. nobilis, including by-catch and illegal collection, were assessed, as was the general awareness of people about the endangered status of fan mussels. The data sources consisted of direct observations from diving surveys and the local ecological knowledge (LEK) of fishers and scuba-divers. Results demonstrated that the density of P. nobilis significantly changed with environmental parameters, such as depth, and among different sampling areas. The number of damaged individuals was lowest in the areas that were distant from human influences such as ports and tourist beaches. The density estimations of P. nobilis across a wide geographic area around the Turkish coasts revealed that the density of fan mussels was highest around western coasts in comparison with southern coasts. Fishers and divers indicated that the population of this species has decreased during the last decade. The main causes of this decline were suggested to be the impacts of fishing gear, poaching, pollution, and boat anchoring. The highest volume of by-catch was estimated to be taken by trawls. In general, the knowledge and local awareness of the conservation importance and status of fan mussels was poor. The study has identified those areas where fan mussels occur at a high density, and hence may indicate areas for possible conservation protection status. Second, areas exposed to the illegal harvesting of fan mussels were highlighted. Societal concern would benefit from educational activities to raise awareness of the ecological importance and conservation needs for fan mussels in Turkey.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Early online date24 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • by-catch
  • conservation
  • density
  • endangered species
  • fan mussel
  • illegal fisheries
  • local ecological knowledge (LEK)
  • marine ecology
  • trawling
  • Turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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