The sustainable use of aquatic living resources is the cornerstone of the ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAF). Excess fishing effort leading to the degradation of fishery resources and significant economic waste is globally recognized by resource managers as a major problem for the implementation of the EAF and European’s Union Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Knowledge of how fishers allocate their fishing effort in space and time is essential to understand how a fishery develops. Understanding fishing strategies is also vital for predicting how a fishery might respond to proposed management changes such as effort/area restrictions and introduction of a marine protected area, and for drawing up a management policy. Random utility models were used to examine the factors affecting fishers’ behaviour in the NE Mediterranean. The probability of selecting a specific fishing rectangle was estimated using monthly purse seine data. The predictive inputs concerned both subjective behavioural and objective seasonal and technical-economic characteristics. The present study provided direct evidence of the important role that the strategic decision-making behaviour of fishers could play in understanding the way the industry will respond to changes in resource availability, market conditions and management measures under the EAF principle.