Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 December 2009
The wedge sole (Dicologoglossa cuneata, Moreau 1881) is a commercially important species for the artisanal fleet operating off the south-western Iberian Peninsula. During 2004 and 2005 a study was undertaken aiming to provide a scientific basis for management. Data collection included information on aspects of the fishery, spawning season, size at first maturity, tangle and gill-net selectivity. Seven nominal mesh sizes were used (40, 45 and 50 mm tangle nets and 40, 50, 60 and 70 mm gill-nets). Spawning lasts from December to June, with peaks in March and May. Length at first maturity for females was estimated at 18.5 cm. Catch rates decreased sharply with increasing mesh size, with tangle nets providing the highest yields. The log-normal selectivity model provided the best fit for specimens that were wedged. The higher catch-per-unit-effort of the smaller mesh sizes and the modal length of the fitted selectivity curve being below the size-at-maturity for wedge sole, suggests that the 50 mm nominal mesh size tangle net is the most appropriate for ensuring the fishery sustainability. Nevertheless, the minimum legal size should increase to at least 18 cm and a time–area closure should be implemented off the Guadiana River mouth.