Collaborative research: Development of a manual on elasmobranch handling and release best practices in tropical tuna purse-seine fisheries

Type Article
Date 2014-02
Language English
Author(s) Poisson Francois1, Seret Bernard2, Vernet Anne-Lise3, Goujon Michel3, Dagorn Laurent4
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, UMR 212, F-34203 Sete, France.
2 : Museum Natl Hist Nat, Inst Rech Dev IRD, UMR 212, Dept Systemat & Evolut, F-75231 Paris 05, France.
3 : Orthongel, Nouvelle Criee Bur 10, Ep 127, F-29181 Concarneau, France.
4 : Inst Rech Dev IRD, UMR 212, F-34203 Sete, France.
Source Marine Policy (0308-597X) (Elsevier Sci Ltd), 2014-02 , Vol. 44 , P. 312-320
DOI 10.1016/j.marpol.2013.09.025
WOS© Times Cited 30
Keyword(s) By-catch, Tropical purse-seiner, Sharks, Handling/release practices, Mitigation, Fish welfare
Abstract The reduction of by-catch mortality is an objective of the ecosystem approach to fisheries and a request made by consumers. Elasmobranchs, an important component of the French tropical tuna purse seine fishery by-catch, are currently thrown back into the sea. Fishers interact with various types of elasmobranchs that range widely in size, weight and shape, and could pose various degrees of danger to the crew. A diversity of discarding practices within the fleet were reported, some practices were considered suitable, others needed to be adapted and improved and others simply had to be banned. The majority of the crews were likely to improve their handling practices if they were presented with practical suggestions that were quick and easy. Combining scientific observations and empirical knowledge from skippers and crew, a manual, providing appropriate handling practices to ensure crew safety and increase the odds of survival for released animals has been developed and disseminated. Bringing these good practices onto the decks of fishing vessels should contribute to the reduction of the fishing mortality of some vulnerable species. It would be positively viewed by consumers as an act that reduces fishing's footprint on the environment and promoting animal welfare which would improve the image of fishing industry. Mitigation research is by definition an iterative process and different complementary methods must be carried out at different levels of the fishing process to significantly reduce the mortality of the by-catch.
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