Lessons learned from the monitoring of FOB and buoy use by French and associated purse seiners in the Indian Ocean : How to avoid data gaps ? Do we need a FAD register ?
In recent years, conflicting points of views have regularly been expressed in IOTC regarding the appropriate management of Floating OBject (FOB) fisheries. Solving this issue requires high quality data on FOB fisheries, that would allow monitoring the impacts of using dFADs in purse seine (PS) and other tropical tuna fisheries, and providing appropriate scientific management recommendations. Though important efforts have been made to improve data collection and reporting, concerns about the lack of information on FOB fisheries are still regularly expressed by many stakeholders and the quality of information reported to IOTC Secretariat on FOBs and buoys is not always sufficient for scientific purposes. Therefore, alternative options such as the implementation of a FAD register has recently been proposed to improve monitoring and reporting procedures. Nevertheless, a prior assessment of data currently available for science and management is needed to evaluate if and how a FAD register could solve issues of information on FOB and buoy use in IOTC. Here, using the data collected in the fishing/FOB logbooks and reported in IOTC 3BU form for French, Italian and Mauritian purse seiners and support vessels from January 2021 to June 2022, we examinate available information on FOB and buoy use, identify potential solutions to avoid data gaps and discuss the proposed implementation of a FAD register. The results we obtain demonstrate that a large amount of information is available in fishing/FOB logbooks and 3BU forms. They also indicate that prior to introducing any additional reporting tool such as a FAD register, priority should be given to (i) the adoption of an appropriate terminology in IOTC and (ii) the improvement of existing tools for reporting on the use of FOBs and buoys to IOTC Secretariat.