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Consequences of fishing moratoria on catch and bycatch: the case of tropical tuna purse-seiners and whale and whale shark associated sets

Escalle, Lauriane, Gaertner, Daniel, Chavance, Pierre, Delgado de Molina, Alicia, Ariz, Javier, Merigot, Bastien
Biodiversity and conservation 2016 v.25 no.9 pp. 1637-1659
Monte Carlo method, Rhincodon typus, bycatch, dolphins, ecosystems, fauna, juveniles, mortality, tuna, whales, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean
Time–area regulations have been introduced to manage stocks of tropical tuna, given the increased use of drifting fish aggregation devices (FADs). However, the consequences in terms of changes in fishing strategies and effort reallocation may not always be as expected. For instance, in the eastern Pacific Ocean, previous studies have highlighted that the increase use of FAD-fishing following the demand for tuna caught without dolphin mortality has raised concerns about the bycatch and the capture of juvenile tuna. In the tropical eastern Atlantic and western Indian Oceans, this study aimed to (1) assess, using before–after analysis, the consequences of previous time–area regulations on FAD sets on the fishing effort allocated to megafauna associated sets, and (2) evaluate through Monte Carlo simulations the potential effect of new regulations banning whale or/and whale shark associated sets. Firstly, we showed that previous time–area regulations, which were mainly implemented during seasons with few whale and whale shark associated sets, generally had thus little effect on the number of megafauna associated sets. Secondly, some simulations, particularly when both whale and whale shark associated sets were banned, predicted consequences of changes in fishing strategy. Indeed, these types of ban could lead to an increase in the number of FAD and free school sets but no change in the tuna catch, as well as a slight decrease in bycatch. These results indicate that an ecosystem approach to fisheries, by taking into account megafauna associated sets and bycatch, should thus be adopted when implementing management or conservation measures.