Study: Small tuna fisheries, high bycatch

August 4, 2011 16:49
The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization on 3 August 2011 published a study aimed at quantifying catches of tuna and bycatch in small-scale pelagic fisheries in an effort to identify, on a global scale, information gaps and management concerns associated with these fisheries, reports with reference to SeafoodSource.

Titled "Bycatch in small-scale tuna fisheries," the 132-page report evaluated 181 ocean areas worldwide. These small-scale pelagic fisheries produced around 681,000 metric tons of tuna annually in the mid-2000s. However, they also yielded around 753,000 metric tons of non-tuna bycatch annually.

While there's been a lot of research bycatch from purse-seine and longline tuna fisheries, information on small-scale pelagic fisheries and their bycatch is woefully lacking, according to the study. What's more, these small-scale pelagic fisheries aren't well managed, if managed at all, so it's difficult to reduce bycatch.

The study recommended that regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) improve their information gathering, increase their collaboration with other tuna RFMOs, verify catches from small-scale pelagic fisheries in Indonesia and offer greater technical details to the small-scale pelagic fisheries that harvest sensitive species.

Conducted by FAO Consultant Robert Gillett, the study was commissioned in late 2009 and occurred in February and March.

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