Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Recommendations from the 2nd Symposium on Fish Aggregating Devices 2011

 Recommendations from the 2nd Symposium on Fish Aggregating Devices 2011

From the Summary:

In the open ocean, tuna purse-seine operators profit from large pelagic fishes’ propensity to aggregate around drifting objects. They do so by fishing around FADs that have been deliberately set adrift for fishing purposes, and which are monitored by electronic tracking beacons. These drifting FADs (dFADs) are tools that have greatly increased catches of tuna around the globe. In fact, global catch of tuna from around dFADs accounts for about 43% of the 4.2 million tonnes of skipjack, bigeye, and yellowfin caught annually. However, the uncontrolled proliferation of dFADs deployed throughout the world’s oceans is a major concern of fisheries managers, environmentalists, and fishermen alike due to the impacts of dFAD fisheries on juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tuna, vulnerable sharks and sea turtle species, and the broader marine environment.

In November 2011, over 150 industry, science, and fisheries policy experts from 40 countries attended the International Symposium, “Tuna Fisheries and FADs,”* to discuss the challenges with FAD fisheries, and recommend best practices for responsible management of the world’s most prominent tuna fishing gear.

Symposium Conclusions:

•The unconstrained proliferation of dFADs has resulted in negative impacts on target and non-target species.

•Increased dFAD use has led to large increases in fishing mortality of juvenile yellowfin and bigeye tuna, which contributes to “growth overfishing”— the catching of too many fish before they reach a size at which maximum growth and productivity would be obtained from the stock.

•Bycatch levels for dFAD fisheries are high, and include catches of oceanic sharks, marine turtles, billfish and some pelagic bony fish.

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