Fish Aggregating Device. (Photo: Greenpeace/Paul Hilton)
Tuna fleet defends use of more selective FADs
Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
Authorities of the National Association of Tuna Freezer Vessels (Anabac) and the Associate Producers of Big Tuna Freezer Vessels (Opagac) presented in Brussels their sustainable management model of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs).
The initiative aims to minimize the impact of purse-seine fishing on the ecosystem.
Anabac CEO, Juan Pablo Rodriguez Sahagun, and Opagac managing director, Julio Moron attended the meeting.
The meeting was organized by the Working Group on Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Intersectoral Group on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development of the European Parliament (EP), to discuss proposals in order to improve the sustainable management of these devices, with which more than 50 per cent of the global catch of tropical tunas in the world is performed.
Tuna vessel owners highlighted the good condition of the species caught by the Spanish fleet (60 per cent skipjack tuna, 35 per cent yellowfin tuna and 5 per cent bigeye tuna) in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, reported the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca).
The Spanish tuna fleet also stressed that ship owners are committed to sustainability through:
- Compliance with the regulations of the various regional fisheries organizations;
- Implementation of a pioneer FAD management plan that includes identification, control and mitigation measures for the capture of juveniles and by catch species in 2010 by Spain;
- Progressive coverage of on board observers on 100 per cent of the fleet by 2014.
Anabac and Opagac carried out several initiatives together with the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) and the Technological Centre Specialised in Marine and Food Research (AZTI-Tecnalia).
Some of them were the manoeuvre design improvements carried out in the purse seine fishery, which are performed with FAD in all oceans of the world. What is sought is to improve gear selectivity and the development of a more responsible and sustainable fishery further reducing bycatch, especially sea turtles and sharks.
With these objectives in mind, Spanish fishermen developed a 'code of practice' supporting the design of new more selective FADs that avoid the capture of non-target species.
Anabac and Opagac committed themselves to replace all FADs by new biodegradable non-trapping models before the end of 2013.
Likewise, they have implemented a plan to train crews and skippers and a technical manual on the release of bycatch species to ensure they are freed in good condition, Cepesca added.
The Spanish fleet agrees with the International Foundation for Sustainable Fisheries (ISSF)’s statement, which stresses that if some issues involving bycatch are resolved and a good management and control of FAD is achieved, "this fishing method can be one of the most environmentally responsible device.”
By Analia Murias