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Targeting bigger schools can reduce ecosystem impacts of fisheries

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Sustainability of living resource exploitation relies on an ecosystem management approach. Within tropical tuna purse seine fisheries using fish aggregating devices (FADs), such an approach incorporates the reduction of bycatch, in particular vulnerable species such as elasmobranchs. The levels of total bycatch (in mass) from fishing operations using FADs is known to be five times higher than when tuna are caught in free-swimming schools. We intend to find practical solutions to reduce bycatch in FAD sets through the investigation of the relationships between the ratio of bycatch to target catch across different set size classes in all oceans. Ratios were always highest when catches were small, with the smallest class of catches responsible for the highest total portion of bycatch (23%–43%) while only contributing negligibly to the total target catch (3%–10%). Reducing the number of fishing sets (a part of the total effort) while maintaining the same total yield could contribute to a substantial reduction in the impacts of human activities.

Document Type: Rapid Communication


Affiliations: 1: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UMR 212, P.O. Box 570, Victoria, Seychelles. 2: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UMR 212, Avenue Jean Monnet, BP171, 34203 Sète CEDEX, France. 3: Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, 8604 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037-1508, USA. 4: Oceanic Fisheries Programme, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), BP D5, 98848 Nouméa, New Caledonia. 5: AZTI-Tecnalia / Herrera Kaia. Portualdea, z/g, 20110 Pasaia (Gipuzkoa), Spain. 6: Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO), C.O. de Canarias, Calle General Gutiérrez n°4, 38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain.

Publication date: 2012-09-14

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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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