Fishing strategies and spatial dynamics of artisanal fisheries in the Uruguayan Atlantic coast
Artisanal fisheries in Uruguay involve directly or indirectly more than 5000 people and constitute the main source of income in several coastal communities. However, and despite its economic and environmental importance, this activity is poorly documented. As such, this scarcity of information constrains the understanding and effective management of artisanal fisheries. This study aims to characterize different strategies of marine artisanal fisheries on the Uruguayan Atlantic coast and describe the spatial distribution of fishing effort. Based on a Principal Components Analysis we identified four fishing strategies targeting different species (mainly whitemouth croaker Micropogonias furniert, narrownose smooth-hound shark Mustelus spp., angel shark Squatina spp. and Brazilian codling Urophycis brasiliensis), exhibiting different seasonal patterns and fishing gear usage. Finally, the above outlined strategies showed differences in spatial utilization of the fishing area. Our results provide a spatially explicit framework for the management of Uruguayan marine artisanal fisheries.