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A review of the fisheries biology of the mantis shrimp, Squilla mantis (L., 1758) (Stomatopoda, Squillidae) in the Mediterranean

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Fisheries of Squilla mantis are found in the Mediterranean mostly in the vicinity of major river mouths. The life cycle of this species is well known: the spawning period is concentrated from winter to spring and planktonic larvae are found in summer, with the settlement of post-larvae occurring from the end of summer to mid-autumn. Recruitment to the fishery starts in late autumn, with full recruitment being reached between January and May. The population at sea consists of 3 year-classes and the life span is estimated at about 3 years. The mantis shrimp is a benthic species, strongly related to bottom sediments, as demonstrated by its burrowing behaviour and by the composition of its diet. The species shows also a territorial pattern of behaviour. A marked seasonality in the catches can be recognized, whereby catches are obtained mainly in the winter and spring months. The population structure varies seasonally due to the incorporation of recruits (winter-spring) and the disappearance of adults (summer-autumn). The fishery is mainly based on the exploitation of a single cohort constituted by the recruits of the previous year, and is highly recruitment-dependent. The levels of the catches have remained fairly constant in the 1990's due to the high resource turnover of the species. The facts that egg-bearing females do not exit their burrow during incubation, catchability is lower during day-time, and trawling is not permitted shallower than 50 m in the Mediterranean may protect this species from fishing. La pesca comercial de la galera, Squilla mantis, se desarrolla en el Mediterráneo en las proximidades de la desembocadura de los ríos más importantes. El ciclo de vida de esta especie se conoce bien: el periodo de puesta se concentra en invierno y primavera, y las larvas se encuentran en el plancton en verano. Las post-larvas se asientan en el fondo desde finales de verano a mediados de otoño. El reclutamiento a la pesquería empieza a finales de otoño y el reclutamiento completo se produce entre Enero y Mayo. La población en el mar consta de 3 clases anuales y la longevidad de esta especie se estima en 3 años. La galera es una especie bentónica, muy relacionada con el sedimento, como se demuestra por su comportamiento excavador y la composición de su dieta. Esta especie muestra también un territorialismo muy marcado. Se observa una fuerte estacionalidad en las capturas, que se producen principalmente en los meses de invierno y primavera. La estructura poblacional varía estacionalmente, debido a la incorporación de reclutas (invierno-primavera) y la desaparición de adultos (verano-otoño). La pesquería se basa principalmente en la explotación de una única cohorte constituida por los reclutas del año anterior y es altamente dependiente del reclutamiento. Los niveles de captura se han mantenido relativamente constantes en los años 1990 debido a la elevada tasa de renovación de la especie. La especie se encuentra relativamente protegida de la pesca debido a que las hembras no abandonan sus galerías durante la incubación, su capturabilidad es baja durante el día, y la pesca no está permitida en el Mediterráneo a profundidades inferiores a los 50 m.


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