Taking a Holistic View of Tropical Purse Seine Fisheries
IntraFish has published an op-ed by Dr. Victor Restrepo, ISSF’s Vice President of Science, that argues purse seine “FAD fisheries” can and should be managed to meet sustainability criteria.
“FAD-free” tuna has been touted for sustainability-minded consumers as a better choice than FAD-caught tuna. Yet in one fishing trip or during one part of the year, he explains, most purse seine vessels — which supply more than 60% of the world’s tuna catch — opportunistically make sets on free-swimming schools as well as on FADs, bringing those market distinctions into question.
“If the overarching aim is to successfully, sustainably regulate all the world’s tuna fisheries,” Dr. Restrepo writes, “shouldn’t we similarly consider and manage all of the purse seine fishery, not only its FAD fishing?” Drawing from a paper he co-authored, “What Does Well-Managed FAD Use Look Like within a Tropical Purse Seine Fishery?,” he outlines three factors for evaluating and achieving sustainability: tuna stock assessment, bycatch mitigation, and fishery management.
Recapping IATTC’s Annual Meeting
Requiring its member-nation fleets in 2018 to start using non-entangling FADs —long advocated by ISSF to help protect non-target species from becoming bycatch — is one of several encouraging outcomes from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) annual meeting in July, which ISSF science consultant Dr. Gala Moreno attended on ISSF’s behalf.
In her ISSF blog post, “Tuna Conservation Measures a ‘Win’ This Year for Eastern Pacific Ocean Fisheries,” she comments on other positive FAD-management decisions at the meeting. She also notes the issues that still require the Commission’s attention, including conservation measures for sharks, turtles, and manta rays as well as observer coverage and safety.
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 https://iss-foundation.org/.