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Aegean Bath Sponges: Historical Data and Current Status

TitleAegean Bath Sponges: Historical Data and Current Status
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsVoultsiadou, E, Dailianis T, Antoniadou C, Vafidis D, Dounas C, Chintiroglou CC
JournalReviews in Fisheries Science
KeywordsAnimal Physiology, Aquaculture, eastern mediterranean, Fisheries & Related Industries, Fisheries Science, Freshwater Biology, Pollution, Porifera, sponge disease, sponge fishing grounds, sponge harvesting

This study attempts to evaluate the status of the populations of bath sponges (species of the genera Spongia and Hippospongia) in the Aegean, combining historical sources dated before a series of disease outbreaks that occurred from 1986 on, unpublished data obtained during the recovery phase after the first incident, as well as a current survey of the main spongiferous beds in the area. The latter was implemented through an extensive sampling trip assisted by professional sponge fishermen, including 55 stations distributed in 17 Aegean islands. Our analysis of population and morphometric data exhibits regeneration potential for bath sponge stocks, yet highlights the contrast between their present status and that of historical times. Uniformity is not evident, as several populations retain high abundances, while simultaneously areas purportedly rich in bath sponges appear deprived. Small-scale environmental regimes in the Aegean are proposed as the shaping factors of this situation; however, the importance of additional elaborate studies and the implementation of an effective regulation scheme regarding their fisheries are stressed.

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