Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria 45(3): 231-237, doi: 10.3750/AIP2015.45.3.02
Silver-cheeked toadfish, Lagocephalus sceleratus (Actinopterygii: Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae), causes a substantial economic losses in the Turkish Mediterranean coast: A call for decision makers
expand article infoV. Ünal, H. Göncüoğlu, D. Durgun, Z. Tosunoğlu, C. Deval, C. Turan
Open Access
Background. While some Lessepsian species provide economic benefits for Mediterranean fisheries, others cause economic losses. Lagocephalus sceleratus known as silver-cheeked toadfish poses a great risk to human health if consumed economic losses for fishers by damaging their fishing gears. This study aims to determine the socio-economic impact of silver-cheeked toadfish, with regards to its impact on biodiversity and socio-economic factors for small-scale fisheries. Materials and methods. Face-to-face interviews were completed with a total of 261 fishers from Izmir in the Middle Aegean region to Hatay in the Eastern Mediterranean region, to determine the problems arising from the presence of silver-cheeked toadfish species in the ecosystem and the resulting associated economic losses for a 1-year from 1 January to 30 December 2011. The elements, which should be taken into account in calculating silver-cheeked toadfish related economic losses, are related to fishing gear, labour and the associated losses in catches. However, losses associated with silver-cheeked toadfish predation were beyond the scope of this study. Results. Almost all fishers (91%) agree that silver-cheeked toadfish is a major problem, 82% believe that silver-cheeked toadfish negatively affects biodiversity, and 89% believe it lowers efficiency of their catches. Calculated silver-cheeked toadfish related losses were: 1300 TRY (≈442 EUR) per year, per fisherman; 263 296 TRY (≈89 521 EUR) per year, in total, for the interviewed fishers (261), and 204 fishers suffered economic losses relating to this species; which caused total losses of 6 033 577 TRY (≈2 051 416 EUR) per year in total for the 4719 fishers, which were 78% of all fishers (6051) in the study area. Two-thirds of the study respondents think that the most effective way to battle this problem would be to try to eliminate this species from Turkish waters. Among them, 32% of the fishers believe the most suitable gear to eliminate L. sceleratus from the marine ecosystem is the purse seine and 61% consent to fish L. sceleratus for 4 TRY each as a target species. Conclusion. To start a bounty system and a premium payment for each pufferfish caught will both help to reduce negative impact of the species on the ecosystem and provide an extra income for the fishers.
Lessepsian species, pufferfish, economic impact, socio-economics, bounty, small-scale fisheries