• Fish-aggregating device (FAD) management plans

The FFA helps small island developing states (SIDS) to develop plans for managing FADs, which affect fish stocks.

FADs are used to attract fish to aggregate in dense schools so that less time is spent searching for highly migratory fish. But FADs can:

  1. reduce populations of bigeye and yellowfin tuna when purse-seine fishing catches greater numbers of juvenile fish around FADs
  2. interfere with longline fishing, with a higher risk of gear getting entangled with the mooring ropes of FADs.

What are FADs?

Fish-aggregating devices (FADs) are structure, usually human-made, that float on or near the surface of the water where fish may congregate.

They may be free-floating or anchored to the seabed. Examples are buoys, floats, netting, webbing, plastics, bamboo, logs, and whale sharks.

In 2012, the Pew Environment Group estimated that he number of drifting FADs put into the oceans each year ranges from 47,000–105,000.

FAD management plans consider:

  1. limiting the number of FADs used by purse-seining fishing vessels
  2. modifying the design, operation, location and maintenance of FADs to minimise disruption to other fisheries.

From 1 January 2020, all FADs (existing and new) must be designed and constructed so that they cannot entangle sharks, turtles, and other animals that are not the target of fishing operations. The WCPFC also recommends that they be made of biodegradable materials.

  • Marine Stewardship Certification (MSC)

An evaluation of the sustainability of global tuna stocks relative to the Marine Stewardship Council criteria (January 2019) provides a basis for comparing stock scores. It is a useful source document for future tuna certifications or in the establishment of tuna fishery improvement projects (FIPs) and offers a “snapshot” of the current status of the stocks.

By implementing best practices for monitoring fish stocks, SIDS have greater control over their fisheries. Photo credit: Francisco Blaha
  • Tuna fisheries management plans

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