Spanish tuna fleet pilot project reduces FAD stranding in Seychelles

Posted By Stop Illegal Fishing:26th Sep, 2018: Best Practice and Lessons Learnt · Fisheries Management · Research · Sustainability

The stranding of fishing aggregating devices (FADs) in Seychelles dropped to 0.5% during 2017, from 32% in the past, thanks to a pilot project carried out by the Spanish tuna fleet, an industry association said.

The pilot project, which is being carried out by members of the Organizacion de Productores Asociados de Grandes Atuneros Congeladores (OPAGAC) in the region since 2016, aims to reduce stranding of FADs in Seychelles.

The pilot project is supported by NGO Island Conservation Society and official institutions of this archipelago.

The project’s results were presented to the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) in Cape Town, South Africa.

OPAGAC, a Spanish industry association representing some of the largest tuna fishing companies active in the Indian, Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Ocean, is also currently carrying out a fishery improvement project (FIP).

Earlier this year, OPAGAC announced the Spanish tuna fleet will invest €3 million this year in its FIP, which it is developing with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). With this figure, the global investment in this FIP, which was launched in 2017, will reach the €12m.

The objective pursued by the fleet is to achieve the Marine Stewardship Council certification for all its fisheries, in 2021.

This year, the fleet grouped in OPAGAC and WWF will continue to promote the FIP in each of its three major principles.

Thus, in relation to the sustainability of the stocks, they will encourage the regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), in charge of managing the tropical tuna fishery in the waters where the Spanish fleet operates, to adopt harvest control rules to ensure the sustainability of stocks in the long term, OPAGAC previously said.

The group is also working to make use of biodegradable fishing aggregating devices in an EU-funded project. Opagac’s fleet has already started to use non-entangling FADs, the organization previously told Undercurrent News.

The use of non-entangling FADs is already compulsory in the Indian and Atlantic Ocean and it will also be compulsory by 2019 in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, a maximum number of fishing aggregating devices was set at 250 in the Indian Ocean, 500 in the Atlantic and 450 in the eastern Pacific.

Source: Undercurrent News

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