SevenS – Studies in Support of Sustainable Management of Sardina pilchardus and Sardinella aurita in the Sicilian GSAs


Scientific coordinators: Dr. Marco Torri (ISMed-CNR) and Dr. Sergio Vitale (IRBIM-CNR)

External funding: financed by the Regional Department of Mediterranean Fisheries of the Sicily Region, on FEAMP OP 2014/2020, measure 1.40

Keywords: juvenile fish, sardine, sardine, sardinella, biological resources, sustainable management



The SevenS project meets the request of the Sicilian Region's Department of Mediterranean Fisheries, which in Prot. no. 1595 of 27/01/2021 expresses the desire to prepare monitoring, research and study plans that can verify the status of sardine and round sardine populations in the Sicilian GSAs, investigating their biology and interactions with the ecosystem, and also gather information on the tradition of "newborn" fishing, on the navels and on the incidence of environmental factors on the dynamics of the resources.

The ISMed-CNR was therefore selected as the scientific body to coordinate the scientific project, which aims to carry out studies on the populations of sardine (Sardina pilchardus) and round sardinella (Sardinella aurita) in the Sicilian areas and to collect information on environmental, technical, social and economic aspects relating to the years in which fishing for the 'neonata' was carried out, which will allow the evaluation of a sustainable management plan for these resources.


Specific goals

The project has seven specific objectives:

  • Qualitative and quantitative assessment of juvenile fish throughout the year for each GSA covered by the experimental activity, and in particular in the areas traditionally involved in this type of fishery.
  • To improve scientific knowledge on the biology and population dynamics of the species Sardina pilchardus and Sardinella aurita in terms of reproductive period, growth and mortality of juveniles and adults.
  • To estimate catch rates (CPUE) and the composition in terms of fish species and relative catch abundances from the study of juvenile and adult populations.
  • To improve information on vessel characteristics, fishing gear and methods, and fishing yields of adults of the so-called 'blue fish'.
  • Collect information on the socio-economic aspects relating to the years when 'bianchetto' fishing was carried out.

To gather historical climatic data and weather and sea conditions to study correlations with the population dynamics of the species concerned.
Identify the knowledge gaps and propose elements for the drafting of specific Management Plans for the fishing of juvenile fish in derogation of the current Reg. (EU) 1241/2019 to be submitted to the European Commission for approval


Lead partner: CNR-ISMed (Palermo Headquarters)

Other public scientific partner organisations in the project

CNR-IRBIM of Mazara del Vallo and Messina

University of Palermo - STEBICEF Department

University of Catania - Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences