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Statistics of the French purse seine fishing fleet targeting tropical tunas in the Indian Ocean (1981-2011)








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    Statistics of French purse seine fishing fleet targeting tropical tunas in the Indian Ocean 2013
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    French purse seiners operating in the Indian Ocean target yellowfin (Thunnus albacares), skipjack (Kat- suwonus pelamis), and bigeye tu (Thunnus obesus) through two major fishing modes that result in different species and size composition of the catch: fish aggregating device-associated (FAD) and free- swimming schools (FSC). Statistical data for the French purse seine fishing fleet have been collected by the “Institut de Recherche pour le D ?eveloppement” (IRD) in collaboration with the Seychel les Fishing Authority (SFA) since the arrival of the first purse seiners in the Indian Ocean in the early 1980s. The fleet activities are described through a suite of fisheries indicators that provide information on fishing capacity, effort, catch, and catch rates for the principal market tropical tus, with a particular focus on the year 2012.
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    Statistics of the European Union and associated flags purse seine fishing fleet targeting tropical tunas in the Indian Ocean 1981-2012 2013
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    In 2012, the European Union and associated flags purse seine fishing fleet of the Indian Ocean was composed of 37 vessels of individual carrying capacity >800 t, which all represented a total carrying capacity of more than 45,000 t. The total cumulated nomil effort was about 9,500 and 7,800 fishing and searching days, respectively. The total number of fishing sets was about 9,000, with about 5,600 realised on FAD-associated schools (i.e. >60%). Overall, the capacity and nomil effort of the fleet have remained stable during the recent years while the total catches have significantly dropped from more than 260,000 t during 2009-2011 to less than 230,000 t in 2012. The decline in catch is mainly explained by a combition of a major decrease in the number of sets per day and catch rates of skipjack on FAD-associated schools, the catch of skipjack per positive set being the lowest observed since 1984, i.e. 15 t set−1. Catch rates of skipjack on free-swimming schools also strongly decreased, which resulted in an overall decrease of skipjack catch by more than 40% between 2009-2011 and 2012. Meanwhile, catch rates of yellowfin on both FAD-associated and free-swimming schools increased in the recent years, resulting in a total catch of yellowfin that increased in 2012 to 130,000 t. The strong reduction in the number of FAD sets resulted in a total catch of bigeye that reached 16,500 t in 2012.

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