Progress on the code of good practices on the tropical tuna purse seine fishery in the Indian ocean
The two Spanish tuna purse seiner associations, ANABAC and OPAGAC, established a voluntary agreement for the application of good practices to minimize the ecosystem impacts of purse seine fishing, by reducing mortality of incidental catch of sensitive species and the use of non-entangling FADs. This paper presents results on the use of FADs and sensitive fauna release for the period 2015 and 2017 in the Indian Ocean. More than 500 trips were monitored in 25 purse seiners and 17 support vessels by human observers onboard or by electronic monitoring system. Results show that the percentage of entangling FADs has been reduced significantly since 2015, being in 2017 the 78% of the FADs left at sea non-entangling FADs (i.e. totally constructed with not meshed material or ≤7 cm mesh size if open net is present). Overall, 56,504 vulnerable specimens were registered using the specific data collection protocol on Good Practices in 2015-2017 period on 10,019 sets, and a predominance of sharks was observed (98% of the interactions). Sharks (other than whale sharks), mantas, rays and turtles are mainly released by hand from the deck. For mantas specific releasing tools are also used. Bycatch release time has been reduced since 2015, which is an indicator of the increased commitment of the crew and could contribute to higher postrelease survival rates.