Assessing the impact of drifting FADs on silky shark mortality in the Indian Ocean

Ziegler I (2022) Assessing the impact of drifting FADs on silky shark mortality in the Indian Ocean. In: IOTC - 3rd Ad Hoc Working Group on FADs. IOTC-2022-WGFAD03-10-Rev1, Online

Paper submitted by Sharkproject International.

Specific improvements to dFAD management have been requested by many concerned groups for years (NGOTF 2021, Sharkproject 2021, WWF 2021, IPNLF 2021, Blue Marine Foundation 2021) which demonstrates the extent of improvements needed. Suggested improvements that would reduce impacts upon silky sharks include: • Prohibit the use of all netting and meshed materials in the construction of FADs to ensure these are lifetime non-entangling and do not contribute to unobserved mortality from ghost fishing • Using only biodegradable materials in dFAD construction to reduce marine litter caused by non-biodegradable materials (plastics) when dFADs are lost or abandoned at sea. • Limiting numbers of deployed dFADs and requiring near real time monitoring of all dFADs while in the water • Establishing lifetime management and retrieval policies Defining spatial and time closures for dFADs applying scientific advice • Implementing avoidance and release practices for bycatch species by continued research and applying technical measures, as well as the use of best practice handling practices, to reduce mortality of these species • Defining total mortality limits and establishing bycatch reduction targets on all impacted species for purse seiners