FAD Fishing: Bycatch on Associated Sets
There is a greater number and variety of bycatch in associated sets than in unassociated sets, including small yellowfin and bigeye tuna, sharks, turtles, billfish, and bony fish. By weight, the primary consequence of fishing is largely other nontargeted, small tuna. This can represent 15 to 20 percent of a total catch.
Other species of fish, sharks, and other marine life are also captured; the bycatch amount of each species can vary widely depending on the region, time of the year, vessel, crew experience, and other factors. Typically, bycatch in associated sets is made up of other fish, sharks, and rays, averaging about 5 percent of the total catch. For comparison, unassociated sets result in less bycatch, ranging on average from 0.5 to 1 percent.
While research is ongoing to investigate additional FAD fishing techniques that can reduce the number of bycatch attracted to, or caught under, FADs, the current best practices to mitigate FAD-related bycatch will be presented in Chapter 4.