Update on the catch and bycatch composition of illegal fishing in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and a summary of abandoned and lost fishing gear.

Citation
Moir Clark J, Duffy H, Pearce J, Mees CC (2015) Update on the catch and bycatch composition of illegal fishing in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and a summary of abandoned and lost fishing gear. IOTC, Olhao, Portugal
Abstract

Introduction: IOTC-2013-WPEB09-56 Rev_1 presented the results of analysis on the catch taken from vessels detailed for illegal fishing with the British Indian Ocean (BIOT) between 2007 and 2013. It included catch data from 37 vessels based on measurements and estimates made by the Senior Fisheries Protection Officer (SFPO). This paper gives a brief update based on catches from a further 15 vessels, detained on suspicion of fishing illegally in BIOT waters during 2014 and 2015. The amount of information collected will vary between vessels depending on the time available to the SFPO, priority is given to identifying and estimating the weight of key species and if time allows length measurements can also be taken. A summary of the length measurements taken from shark species was given in the previous paper, no new measurements have been taken and this has not been updated. As with previous years the majority of vessels detained have been using longlines and nets, however 2014 and 2015 did see a number larger vessels detained that showed a significantly higher catch volume and composition. A number of trawlers were also seen by the patrol vessel in inshore waters, however it was not possible board and inspect them to assess the catch composition of if they had been fishing illegally. Finally this paper brings to the attention of the WPEB an apparent recent increase in lost or abandoned fishing gear during 2014 and 2015, the majority of which have been fish aggregating devices (FADs) that have been found washed on shore.