OBJECTIVES AND EXPECTED ACHIEVEMENTS In the large. socio-economically important, Mediterranean marine fishery for the Swordfish (Xiphias gladius) the determination of sex and gonadal maturity of fishes at capture are important requisites for stock assessment and the controlled regulation of the fishery. This fishery accounts for a yearly financial turnover of well over 300 million EURO within the combined fisheries of the EU.
In many cases sex determination and gonadal maturity of the swordfish cannot be determined due to the lack of external sexual dimorphisms between the sexes or the catch is either "gutted" at sea making sex and gonadal maturation determinations on the landing of the catch impossible. Therefore this data is mainly lacking from present stock assessment exercises. The use of fisheries observers "on board" may be both costly, time-consuming and ineffective when major invasive sampling is forbidden by the fishermen due to the high market value of intact fish.
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