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Fishing activity of tuna purse seiners estimated from vessel monitoring system (VMS) data

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In the lack of fishery-independent information, catch per unit of effort (CPUE) is the conventional abundance index. In the case of the tropical tuna purse seine fisheries, a critical difficulty lies in the definition of an effective fishing effort, because fishermen use two different fishing modes (free swimming schools versus schools under fish aggregating devices) alternatively during the same trip. In this study, vessel monitoring system (VMS) data were used in an operational level to study and quantify the spatial dynamic of the tropical tuna purse seine fishing activity. A Bayesian state–space model allowed classifying VMS steps into three activities (fishing, tracking, and cruising), which were characterized by a small set of complementary spatial indicators. The dominant activity (49%) was clearly the tracking of tuna schools within areas of aggregations. A hierarchical spatial organization of the three fishing activities was also evidenced. Fishing strategies described by the triplets of proportions of time devoted to each activity and interpreted as compositional data were modelled by the sum of a vessel effect and a seasonal effect.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: UMR 212 EME, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Centre de Recherche Halieutique Méditerranéenne et Tropicale, Avenue Jean Monnet, BP 171, 34203 Sète, France. 2: Ecole des Mines de Paris, 35 rue Saint Honoré, 77305 Fontainebleau, France. 3: CLS, Parc technologique du Canal, rue Hermès, 31520 Ramonville St-Agne, France.

Publication date: 2011-11-21

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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