Summary of purse seine fishery bycatch at a regional scale 2003-2016 WCPFC-SC13-2017/ST-WP-05

Peatman T, Allain V, Caillot S, et al (2017) Summary of purse seine fishery bycatch at a regional scale 2003-2016 WCPFC-SC13-2017/ST-WP-05. In: WCPFC Scientific Committee 13th Regular Session. WCPFC-SC13-2017/ST-WP-05, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) has a responsibility to assess the impact of fishing on non-target species. In this report, we estimate the bycatch of the large-scale purse seine fishery operating primarily in tropical waters of the WCPFC Area east of 140°E. These large vessels, typically greater than 500 tonnes carrying capacity, have been responsible for approximately 83% of the purse seine catch of the main tuna target species, skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna, in recent years, a catch which has varied between 1.5 and 2 million tonnes annually since 2010. Data are collected from large-scale purse seine vessels through logsheets completed by vessel operators, in which catch, primarily of the target species, and other information are recorded for each purse seine set. Since the mid-1990s, some vessels have had observers on board to collect more detailed information on fishing operations, including the quantities of bycatch. Observer coverage of the purse seine fleet was modest (