Aquat. Living Resour.
Volume 26, Number 1, January-March 2013
|37 - 48
|18 April 2013
Global spatio-temporal patterns in tropical tuna purse seine fisheries on drifting fish aggregating devices (DFADs): Taking a historical perspective to inform current challenges⋆
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UMR 212 EME
“Exploited Marine Ecosystems” (IRD/IFREMER/UM2), 9 Bd Porée, 35400
2 Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UMR 212 EME “Exploited Marine Ecosystems” (IRD/IFREMER/UM2), Seychelles Fishing Authority, BP570, Victoria, Seychelles
a Corresponding author: Alain.email@example.com
Received: 18 February 2013
Accepted: 11 March 2013
This study provides a historical overview of the use of drifting fish aggregating devices (DFADs) in purse seine fisheries since the early 1990s, using global tuna fisheries datasets from the four tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs). Tropical tuna purse seine fisheries typically target large yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and bigeye (Thunnus obesus) tunas on free-swimming schools and skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis) and juveniles of yellowfin and bigeye associated with drifting objects. DFADs have enabled global skipjack catches to markedly increase, and have also introduced major scientific issues for all tuna-RFMOs. In particular, they have strongly modified the fishing strategies of purse seiners that fish on a combination of free-swimming and DFAD-associated schools. Consequently, the cumulated search time traditionally used to quantify nominal fishing effort to assess the status of tuna stocks is inconsistent and cannot be used to derive time series of abundance indices from catch-per-unit of-effort (CPUE). In addition, the lack of information available on the construction, deployment, and use of DFADs has prevented effective monitoring of the fishing pressure over the last two decades exerted by purse seine fleets using this fishing mode. Juveniles of tropical tunas represent a substantial proportion of purse seine catch on DFADs in the three oceans, which has raised particular concern for some bigeye stocks that have been subject to overfishing in the past. Catches of juvenile tunas by DFAD fishing may also result in a decrease in recruitment for fisheries that target adult tunas such as longliners. In addition, some demographic parameters of tunas and other species associated with DFADs may be affected by the resultant habitat modification arising from the widespread deployment of DFADs. Evidence in the literature and provided by the ratio-estimator method suggest that fishing DFAD-associated schools may result in about 100 000 t of bycatch and discards annually. In addition, there is further potential for ghost fishing related mortality of sensitive species such as marine turtles and pelagic sharks. In this context and following a precautionary approach, we finally discuss the increasing need for all tuna-RFMOs to reduce, or at least monitor and control, the use of DFADs to mitigate their adverse effects not only on yellowfin and bigeye stocks but also on open-ocean ecosystems.
Key words: Tuna fisheries / FAD / bycatch / purse seine fisheries / Thunnus albacares, Katsuwonus pelamis, Thunnus obesus
© EDP Sciences, IFREMER, IRD 2013
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