MADE: preliminary information on a new EC project to propose measures to mitigate adverse impacts of open ocean fisheries targeting large pelagic fish
A particular attention has been paid worldwide on longline fisheries as they catch considerable amount of by-catch (seabirds, turtles, sharks, etc.). Seabird and turtles by-catch mitigation methods have now been established in many fisheries worldwide, but similar efforts must be put to reduce by-catch of sharks. In the same ecosystems, another issue attracts the attention of international tuna commissions: the use of drifting fish aggregating devices (FADs). These FADs are responsible for major catches of juvenile tuna and non target pelagic species (sharks). Finally, the effects of thousands of FADs released regularly in the tropical oceans are unknown, and must be studied to estimate if they impact the biology of pelagic species. The European open ocean tropical and Mediterranean pelagic fishery (Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Greece) is one of the main sources of catch, income and employment for the European fishery, with interactions with many developing countries. The MADE project was set up to develop measures to mitigate adverse impacts of fisheries targeting large pelagic fish in the open ocean: purse seiners using FADs and longliners. This 4-year project, started in mid-2008 within the 7th EC Framework Programme, and is a cooperative research carried out under the coordination of IRD, including 13 scientific institutions belonging to 6 European Countries and 2 ICPC countries in three different areas (Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean). Two main categories of mitigation measures will be studied: spatial management issues (e.g. closure areas) and technical solutions to reduce by-catch in these fisheries. The main concept of MADE is to follow a multi-disciplinary and comparative approach, combining biological and technological studies with economical analyses in different sites (Indian and Atlantic oceans, Mediterranean Sea), with a particular effort to closely associate fishers.