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The use of artificial fish aggregating devices by the French tropical tuna purse seine fleet: Historical perspective and current practice








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    Global spatio-temporal patterns in tropical tuna purse seine fisheries on drifting fish aggregating devices (DFADs): Taking a historical perspective to inform current challenges 2013
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    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 tu fisheries datasets from the four tu Regiol Fisheries Magement Organizations (RFMOs). Tropical tu purse seine fisheries typically target large yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and bigeye (Thunnus obesus) tus on free-swimming schools and skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis) and juveniles of yellowfin and bigeye associated with drifting objects. DFA Ds have ebled global skipjack catches to markedly increase, and have also introduced major scientific issues for all tu-RFMOs. In particular, they have strongly modified the fishing strategies of purse seiners that fish on a combition of free-swimming and DFAD-associated schools. Consequently, the cumulated search time traditiolly used to quantify nomil fishing effort to assess the status of tu stocks is inconsistent and cannot be used to derive time series of abundance indices from catch-per-un it 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 tus 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 tus by DFAD fishing may also result in a decrease in recruitment for fisheries that target adult tus such as longliners. In addition, some demographic parameters of tus 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 additi on, 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 precautiory approach, we filly discuss the increasing need for all tu-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.
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