Verification of the limitation of the number of FADs and best practices to reduce their impact on by-catch fauna
This document presents the verification of two initiatives of the Spanish tuna purse-seiners organizations ANABAC and OPAGAC to monitor better FADs and to reduce their effects on the pelagic ecosystem: the limitation of the number of FADs (in force in the Indian Ocean and to be implemented in the Atlantic Ocean in 2016) and the application of good practices to reduce FAD-associated fauna mortality. This verification is based on data transmission by buoy manufacturers and data processing through R, and on in-situ registration by observers of fauna release operations and FAD characteristics. Fauna release in the Atlantic Ocean in 2015 had a global conformity rate of 74%. The critical parameter was the size of the animals. Boats with initially lower levels of compliance showed significant progress. Non-entangling rafts were observed on over 90% of FADs, and non-entangling submersed structure on around 80%. In the Indian Ocean, we found no record beyond the daily limit set by IOTC, and observed an important decreasing trend during the last quarter of 2015, with a reduction by 33% of the number of active FADs.