Fisheries Management seeks to strengthen FADs in the Indian Ocean

Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) are floating wooden structures with hanging nets to attract pelagic fish such as marlin, tuna, and mahi-mahi.
Fishing boat unloading tuna at harbor pier.

Fishing boat unloading tuna at harbor pier.

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The Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) are urging the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) to strengthen Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) management.

These devices are man‑made floating objects specifically designed to encourage fish aggregation at the device. They can be anchored to the ocean floor or set to drift in the open ocean.

With a more "robust and comprehensive" FAD management and monitoring by IOTC the three Indian Ocean tropical tuna stocks (two of these are already overfished) will be controlled in a more sustainable way and will mitigate ecosystem impacts.

The IOTC has manifested that their members are considering several FAD management proposals which will increasing monitoring of these devices at sea. These proposals include:

  • Adopting a timeline to transition to the use of biodegradable FADs.

  • Establishing an IOTC-wide FAD register for FAD monitoring.

  • Establishing science-based limits on the number of operational FADs consistent with management objectives for tropical tunas.

  • Establishing a FAD marking scheme.

  • Reporting of lost or abandoned FADs.

According to the ISSF, purse seine sets on floating objects, which are the most common FADs, account for around 38% of the world’s tropical tuna catch. Specifically, FADs sets in the Indian Ocean, account for nearly 35% of tropical tuna catches (37% of skipjack, 22% of yellowfin, and 43% of bigeye).

Last month, ISSF published a report which confirms that 86% of global tuna catch comes from stocks at healthy levels while 10% requires more efficient control.

About Regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs)

The Regional Fisheries Management Organisations are international organisations establishing binding measures for conservation and sustainable management of highly migratory or straddling fish species.

RFMOs make sure that fishing activities does not cause significant adverse impact on biodiversity and marine ecosystems.

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