Fishing Industry Welcomes Introduction of First Management Measures to Limit FADs
The EU tuna fishing industry has welcomed a major new policy designed to aid the continued improvement of the sustainability of fishing methods, agreeing to limit the number of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) that can be used by any one vessel.
The decision was reached at the last session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) held in late April, proposed by the EU delegation and supported by other IOTC countries, deciding to impose a maximum limit on the number of FADs in use per vessel.
FADs are floating objects that have been employed for hundreds of years in both commercial and recreational fisheries to improve methods when catching ocean going pelagic species including tuna. FADs typically consist of bamboo rafts with buoys attached for its location that could be drifting in the ocean or anchored at the sea floor to improve fish catching methods.
Due to FAD use, skipjack production has increased, generating thousands of jobs while becoming one of the most wide-spread and affordable sources of wild animal protein in the world. This increase has also substantially contributed to food security in many countries with little effect on tuna stocks.
This proactive initiative, supported by the EU tuna fleet, to limit FAD use to ensure sustainability came about despite the three main stocks of tuna (yellow fin, big eye and skipjack) being in a healthy state for the last four years and highlights industry responsibility in applying the precautionary approach.
This self-imposed limitation is the latest in a series of efforts to ensure sustainability. For more than ten years, the EU tuna industry has been working closely with several scientific bodies to improve the selectivity of FADs and to minimize by-catch. The EU fleet, having been the first to introduce FAD management plans at national level, has promoted the adoption of similar plans at regional seas level, as the necessary basis to analyse FAD use and their effects. EU operators have also been responsible for the design of eco-FADs which minimise the effects of FADs on the ecosystem.
FADs are used for the vast majority of the tuna purse seine fleet and support thousands of livelihoods of coastal communities all over the world. 93% of the recent tropical tuna catch came from healthy stocks and a high proportion (more than 65%) of that came from fisheries using FADs.
Javier Garat, President of Europêche, said: "The limitation on the number of FADs permissible per vessel is just the latest step forward in improving the sustainability of the fishing industry. Despite the majority of tuna stocks being at a safe level, the introduction of this limit will act as a further safeguard for stocks, and will hopefully demonstrate the industry’s commitment to sustainability.”
For more information, please contact Ellie Smith or Jack Williams – firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com – 0845 4567 251
Europêche represents the fisheries sector in Europe. Currently, the Association comprises 12 national organisations of fishing enterprises from the following 9 EU Member States: DE, DK, ES, FR, IT, MT, NL, PL, UK.
Tags: FAD, tuna, IOTC, fishing, skipjack, yellow fin, big eye, sustainability, eu, stocks, purse seine