Preliminary results of BIOFAD project: testing designs and identify options to mitigate impacts of drifting Fish Aggregating Devices on the ecosystem
Also published as IOTC-2019-WPEB15-34 and WCPFC-SC15-2019/EB-WP-11 (Rev.01)
The EU project BIOFAD was launched in August 2017. This 28-months EU project is coordinated by a Consortium comprising three European research centers: AZTI, IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement) and IEO (Instituto Español de Oceanografía). The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is also actively collaborating by providing the biodegradable materials needed to test biodegradable dFADs (drifting FADs). Following IOTC, along with other tuna RFMOs, recommendations and resolutions to promote the use of natural or biodegradable materials for dFADs, this project is seeking to develop and implement the use of dFADs with both characteristics, non-entangling and biodegradable, in the IOTC Convention Area. However, there are no technical guidelines on the type of materials and FAD designs to be used. The main objectives of the project are: (1) to test the use of specific biodegradable materials and designs for the construction of dFADs in real fishing conditions; (2) to identify options to mitigate dFADs impacts on the ecosystem; and (3) to assess the socio-economic viability of the use of biodegradable dFADs in the purse seine tropical tuna fishery. This document shows the preliminary results regarding the effectiveness of around 716 BIOFADs deployed, in terms of tuna aggregation, drift, materials’ durability, etc. in comparison to currently deployed NEFADs (non-entangling dFADs). The project BIOFAD has counted since its inception with the support of the whole EU purse seine tuna fishery and, more recently, with the collaboration of the Korean purse seine fleet.