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Status of fisheries in Egypt: reflections on past trends and management challenges

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This paper provides a summary from primary and grey literature on the current status of fisheries in Egypt. It also discusses gaps which may impede effective management, and highlights future challenges. Total national seafood production has grown steadily overall in the last 15 years due to the rapid growth of aquaculture, despite a decline in fisheries production (about 23 %) from 1997 to 2012. The total production in 2012 was approximately 1,371,975 tonnes, tripling the 457,036 tonnes obtained in 1997. Fisheries production amounted to 354,237 tonnes (25 %) whilst aquaculture produced 1,017,738 (75 %) tonnes in 2012. Fisheries in Egypt’s northern lakes were the most important (36 %) followed by marine fisheries in the Mediterranean and Red Seas (32 %), which had the greatest variations in catch. The main decline in wild fisheries was due to the reduced landings from both marine and northern lake fisheries. Egypt has a wide variety of marine and freshwater species, comprising Sardina pilchardus, Penaeus japonicus, Mugil cephalus, and Saurida undosquamis, etc.; while Oreochromis niloticus, Clarias gariepinus are the main cultured species. The Egyptian fishing fleet increased by over 40 % from 3415 motorised vessels in 1997–4909 vessels in 2012. Most of these (3046 vessels, 62 %) fish in the Mediterranean, while the rest (1863 vessels, 38 %) fish in the Red Sea. Longlines were the fishing gear most used by the motorised vessels (45 %), followed by trawlers (26 %). Policy during the past few decades has been development-oriented, encouraging investment in aquaculture to ensure sustainable fish production, rather than managing wild fisheries in a sustainable way. Despite vigorous efforts through national legislation to address fishery management issues, the weak enforcement, low compliance and unregulated fishing suggest the need to restructure the fisheries management system. The main fisheries stakeholders (policy makers, scientists and fishery managers) should consider the different scales of these fisheries and the context in which they operate, in order to develop suitable management strategies.

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I wish to express my appreciation to the staff of the General Authority for Fisheries Resources and Development (GAFRD) for their cooperation by providing the statistics used in this study. I am also grateful to the anonymous two reviewers, whose comments greatly improved the manuscript. I would also like to thank Monica Brissette and Guido Jones for the language revision.

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Correspondence to Mohamed Samy-Kamal.

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Online resource 1

The structure of the fleet in 2012 according to gear for the main ports in Mediterranean (a-j) and Red seas (k-o). The number of vessels (between brackets) and the percentage with regard to the total number of motorised vessels are presented beside the port name (GAFRD 2012). The ports of Abu Ramad (91) 1.85 % and Qusair (152) 3.1 % in the Red sea are not presented here because the whole fleet is composed of longliners. (TIFF 23940 kb)

Online resource 2

(a-f) Structure of the Egyptian fleets by engine power (HP) in 2012 (GAFRD 2012). Temporal evolution (yearly) of the fishing effort (only motorised vessels): (g) total effort for the period 1998-2012, and (h) disaggregated according to fishing gear for the period 2006-2012 (GAFRD 1997-2012). (TIFF 18230 kb)

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Samy-Kamal, M. Status of fisheries in Egypt: reflections on past trends and management challenges. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries 25, 631–649 (2015).

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