Blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) fishing around FADs in Martinique (French West Indies)
Ifremer Martinique, Pointe Fort, 97231 Le Robert, Martinique (French West Indies)
2 École Pratique des Hautes Études, ESA 8046 EPHE-CNRS, Perpignan, France
Accepted: 15 May 2000
This paper examines the fishing of blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) around Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in Martinique (French West Indies). It is based on the compared analysis of catches from monthly experimental fishing surveys and sampling of commercial landings. The data collected in these two different ways allowed comparison of blackfin tuna length frequencies. A large part of the commercial landings were made up of young immature tuna with a fork length of less than 40 cm, whereas the experimental longline catches were mainly made up of fish with a fork length ranging between 55 and 75 cm. We give evidence that these discrepancies were mostly due to the fishing technique used. Indeed, contrarily to the experimental surveys, Martinican fishermen only fish during daytime and usually on the surface by trolling. This way, fishermen do not have access to the largest fish, which are found deeper. Our results suggested that a new fishing technique such as vertical longlining, could improve commercial catches of big blackfin tuna under FADs.
Key words: blackfin tuna / Thunnus atlanticus / fish aggregating device / FAD / biology / experimental fishing survey / West Central Atlantic / Martinique
© Elsevier, Inra, Ifremer, Cemagref, Ird, Cnrs, 2000