An integrated scheme for the management of drifting fish aggregating devices in tuna purse seine fisheries
Drifting fish aggregating devices (dFADs) are extensively used in modern tuna purse seine fisheries. The use of dFADs has greatly improved fishing efficiency and generated substantial economic returns in purse seine fisheries, but adverse impacts on tuna juveniles, associated species and marine ecosystems are still of concern. Based on an analysis of current challenges in dFAD management measures in tuna regional fishery management organisations (t-RFMOs), we explored opportunities to strengthen dFAD management in tuna fisheries. An integrated dFAD management scheme with multiple tools that account for different usage stages of a dFAD needs to be organised to regulate, track, monitor and recover in tuna purse seine fisheries. We recommend that (1) dFAD-associated definitions should be standardised to provide operational guidance for dFAD activities; (2) all deployed dFADs should be counted towards dFAD limits on active dFADs, except those reported as lost and abandoned; (3) a regional dFAD tracking and monitoring program should track dFAD paths based on daily position reported to RFMOs directly, in addition to mandatory dFAD marking requirements; and (4) a framework of compensation mechanisms should provide financial support for joint dFAD recovery and eco-compensation.