ISSF bycatch project in the Pacific

23 May 2013

As part of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s #BycatchProject a group of scientists and fishers will embark on a weeks-long journey through the Pacific in search of techniques to reduce bycatch.

They will be onboard the Cape Finisterre, part of Tri Marine’s fleet of fishing vessels, in a region where roughly 51% of the world’s tuna is fished. At least 75% of the catch is made by purse seine vessels, which use a net to encircle and catch tuna. The #BycatchProject aims to reduce bycatch associated with purse seine vessels, particularly those that utilise fish aggregating devices (FADs).

The team will focus on three main projects, including observing tuna swimming underneath FADs, as well as studying how these fish behave inside the fishing net. This information helps to determine how different species might separate when encircled in a net, which could provide opportunities for releasing the non-targeted catch.

Researchers will also spend part of their trip tracking large marine animals such as sharks and manta rays to assist in studying their survival rates once caught.

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