This work reviews a broad spectrum of subjects associated to Patellid limpets’ biology such as growth, reproduction, and recruitment, also the consequences of commercial exploitation on the stocks and the effects of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the biology and populational dynamics of these intertidal grazers. Knowledge of limpets’ biological traits plays an important role in providing proper background for their effective management. This chapter focuses on determining the effect of biotic and abiotic factors that influence these biological characteristics and associated geographical patterns. Human exploitation of limpets is one of the main causes of disturbance in the intertidal ecosystem and has occurred since prehistorical times resulting in direct and indirect alterations in the abundance and size structure of the target populations. The implementation of MPAs has been shown to result in greater biomass, abundance, and size of limpets and to counter other negative anthropogenic effects. However, inefficient planning and lack of surveillance hinder the accomplishment of the conservation purpose of MPAs. Inclusive conservation approaches involving all the stakeholders could guarantee future success of conservation strategies and sustainable exploitation. This review also aims to establish how beneficial MPAs are in enhancing recruitment and yield of adjacent exploited populations.
Part of the book: Organismal and Molecular Malacology
In this review article, the authors explore a broad spectrum of subjects associated to marine snails of the genus Phorcus Risso, 1826, namely, distribution, habitat, behaviour and life history traits, and the consequences of anthropological impacts, such as fisheries, pollution, and climate changes, on these species. This work focuses on discussing the ecological importance of these sentinel species and their interactions in the rocky shores as well as the anthropogenic impacts to which they are subjected. One of the main anthropogenic stresses that affect Phorcus species is fisheries. Topshell harvesting is recognized as occurring since prehistoric times and has evolved through time from a subsistence to commercial exploitation level. However, there is a gap of information concerning these species that hinders stock assessment and management required for sustainable exploitation. Additionally, these keystone species are useful tools in assessing coastal habitat quality, due to their eco-biological features. Contamination of these species with heavy metals carries serious risk for animal and human health due to their potential of biomagnification in the food chain. Thus, the use of these species as bioindicators is warranted to the establishment of conservation measures targeting marine coastal environments. Climate change increases the level of environmental stress to which intertidal organisms are subjected to, affecting the functioning of biological systems at different levels of organization. Phorcus species have been widely used as indicators of the effect of climate change on local disturbances of intertidal ecosystems and geographic distribution shifts of these organisms. Further studies concerning biological parameters of Phorcus species and how they react to exploitation, pollution, and climate change will consolidate these species as indicators of large-scale ecological impacts of anthropogenic activities.
Part of the book: Biological Resources of Water
The harvesting of littoral benthic shellfish in the archipelago of Madeira dates back to the fifteenth century when the Portuguese discovered and colonized the archipelago. The consumption of littoral shellfish is part of the gastronomic cultural heritage of this region, appreciated by the local population and tourists, and has a high social and economic importance. Therefore, harvesting pressure on these resources is one of the greatest concerns, and as such, a sustainable exploitation based on proper regulation, considering the biological and ecological specificities of these species in their particular habitat, is crucial to promote the preservation of species and habitats at medium and long terms. This study presents the current harvesting management regime for gastropods in the archipelago of Madeira and characterizes the artisanal harvest through a period of 27 years (1990–2017) providing new insights for future research in these topics. This artisanal harvesting operates mostly by small vessels (<10 m), with low tonnage and capacity, in nearby areas preferentially in the North coast of Madeira and around Desertas Islands. During the studied period, management actions resulted in the reduction of 50% of the vessels operating in the harvesting of limpets and in slight recovery of the stocks of limpets. The economic impact of limpets gradually increased over the years, representing in 2017 96% of the economic value landed for molluscs and 2% of the total landings in this region. The present characterization provides a comprehensive outlook of the evolution of the marine gastropod harvest in the archipelago of Madeira and allows future comparisons with other regions where gastropods are commercially exploited.
Part of the book: Invertebrates