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ISSF launches next installment of at-sea #BycatchProject
Victoria, Seychelles – 22 March 2012 – A purse seine vessel will carry a team of researchers and the most advanced electronic monitoring technology when it shoves off from port in the Indian Ocean next week, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) announced today. The cruise is the latest installment in a global #BycatchProject designed to test and experiment new technologies and techniques for reducing non-targeted catch in large-scale purse seine fisheries using floating objects that attract fish, called FADs.
The Torre Giulia will spend 6 weeks in the Indian Ocean with 3 research scientists onboard. The team will work alongside the vessel’s crew, developing an underwater census to determine the species composition and abundance of species under FADs, studying the natural behavior of fish around FADs, and testing techniques to attract sharks and other bycatch away from FADs.
Dr. Laurent Dagorn, a Senior Scientist at Institut de Recherche pour Le Développement (IRD) and Chair of the ISSF Bycatch Project Steering Committee will supervise researchers Patrice Dewals (IRD), Fabien Forget (Rhodes University/SAIAB/IRD) and John Filmalter (Rhodes University/SAIAB/IRD).
“A working purse seine vessel provides the perfect setting for studying bycatch mitigation techniques by putting ideas and theories into practice, which will hopefully result in positive outcomes,” said Dr. Laurent Dagorn. “It is essential that we actively pass along lessons learned to skippers, conservationists, governments, and anyone else who has influence within the fishing industry.”
This cruise is a joint scientific effort between the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) and the European-funded project Mitigating Adverse Ecological impacts of open ocean fisheries (MADE). Lessons learned from the #BycatchProject are analyzed by scientists and ultimately passed along to the fishing community in an ongoing series of workshops held by ISSF around the world.
The Torre Giulia will be the second purse seine tuna vessel in the world to employ an electronic video monitoring system, designed for instances where an onboard human observer is not a practical, or safe, option, or to supplement human observers. Experts from Archipelago Marine Research Ltd., will outfit the vessel with an array of sensors to monitor key fishing gear, and trigger the video cameras when it detects fishing activity. An onboard control center manages the system and logs the data, along with vessel location, speed, and heading information provided by the system’s GPS receiver. Throughout the trip, the system also delivers hourly updates via satellite, reporting vessel position, fishing activity, and other relevant information. Once the vessel returns to port, any portion of the logged data can be reviewed to help evaluate fishing activity.
For real-time updates from researchers follow the #BycatchProject on Twitter and learn more about it here.
About the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF)
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is a global coalition of scientists, the tuna industry and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization, promoting science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting ecosystem health. To learn more, visit their website at iss-foundation.org.
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