A critique of the ecosystem impacts of drifting and anchored FADs use by purse-seine tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean
Leroy, B.; Phillips, J.S.; Nicol, S.; Pilling, G.M.; Harley, S.; Bromhead, D.; Hoyle, S.; Caillot, S.; Allain, V.; Hampton, J.
Aquatic Living Resources 26(1): 49-61
ISSN/ISBN: 0990-7440 DOI: 10.1051/alr/2012033
In the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), which accounts for over half of world tuna production, purse seine effort and catch on floating objects have increased significantly due to a rapid increase in the use of fixed and free-floating fish aggregation devices (FADs). FAD fishing has had an impact on the current status of the stocks of the three main target tunas in the equatorial WCPO, skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and bigeye (T. obesus). FADs have been shown to influence the behaviour and movement patterns of the three tuna species with the juveniles of each species occupying shallower habitats when associated with FADs. Aggregation of tunas around drifting objects increases their vulnerability to purse seine gear, particularly for juvenile and small size classes. Further to the impacts on the target stocks, the use of FADs has increased the vulnerability of other fishes to the purse seine method, including some shark and billfish species. Given the concern over FAD-related fishing effort on target and bycatch species, there is a need to understand how FAD use affects target and bycatch stocks. Science needs to better support management decisions are highlighted including the need to identify the magnitude of broader community-level affects.