System of verification of the code of good practices on board ANABAC and OPAGAC tuna purse seiners and preliminary results for the Atlantic Ocean
Spanish tuna purse-seiner organizations ANABAC and OPAGAC established in 2012 a common agreement for the application of good practices for responsible tuna purse-seine fisheries. The aim of this agreement is to reduce the mortality by entangling or by incidental catch of FAD-associated sensible species (sharks, rays/mantas whale sharks and sea turtles). The good practices defined in this agreement comprise the use of non-entangling FADs as well as the application of release operations for FAD-associated sensible fauna. In order to monitorize and assess the actual level of application of these good practices, a system of verification is being implanted in all the vessels of the ANABAC and OPAGAC fleets – i.e. 59 purse seiners and 19 supply vessels in April 2015, including both Spanish flags and other flags – operating in the 3 Oceans, in areas corresponding to 4 tuna RFMOs (ICCAT, IOTC, WCPFC and IATTC). This verification is based on in-situ registration of the good practices by observers. This document presents the initial situation (October 2014) in terms of application of good practices, the training for crew and observers, and the first data of good practices observed in the Atlantic Ocean (34 fishing trips on 19 vessels since December 2014). These first results are overall encouraging, with a majority of vessels displaying a level of compliance superior to 80% for non-entangling FADs and reaching 100% for fauna release operations. In the case of boats with lower levels of compliance, significant progress could be observed in consecutive fishing trips.