Over the past six decades, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reported fisheries 'landings', not 'total removals' for Israel. Thus, public data do not include all removals, including discards, the recreational fishery, subsistence portions of the catch or Bluefin tuna catches. Moreover, FAO data inadvertently included landings by Gaza fishers in the Gaza Strip during the 1960s and 1970s. We reconstructed total removals for Israel fishing in the Mediterranean Sea using various anchor points from recent studies to account for the missing removals. We estimated total removals at slightly over 255,400 tonnes for 1950-2010, which are nearly 30% higher than the 198,136 t of Israel's reported catch to FAO (after exclusion of data from the Gaza Strip). The major components of unreported removals were discards (over 37,400 t), dominated by the trawl fishery, and recreational removals (over 15,500 t), which account for a large and rapidly growing fishery sector in Israel. In contrast, subsistence catches (just under 4,000 t) are low, which is not unexpected for a developed country. Non-indigenous Indo-Pacific organisms are a large and growing component in the multispecies catch of Mediterranean fishers; however they appear to change species composition and mode of exploitation more than they affect the level of total removals. In the highly oligotrophic, yet fast changing Levantine Sea, the high discarding rates, use of unsustainable fishing methods and under-regulated fisheries (particularly the recreational sector) pose a threat to the integrity of the marine environment and the ecosystem services we expect from it.
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2013|