36 Months On: Progress review from the France/Spain case study

Read on for an update on what progress has been made in the French/Spanish case study on FADs over the last twelve months.

Filling the GAP on the use of technology by the purse seine fleet

In our case study, on tropical tuna and FADs, the real GAP is the missing information about real impacts of FAD fishing, and the deployment of FADs, on the ecosystem (e.g. populations of target and non-target species). In the case of purse seine fisheries, which account for more than half of the world’s tuna catch, there are many technological factors that are not well monitored, which makes it difficult to relate CPUE to abundance. This is one of the major shortcomings in tropical tuna stock assessments. During GAP2 echo-sounder buoys are being studied to provide knowledge on technology and fishers strategy using them, as well as to supply scientists with a new tool to provide fishery independent estimates.

One of the highlights of this reporting period has been publishing the Evolution and current state of technology of echo-sounder buoys used to monitor FADs. Data collection was done in previous years (2011-2012) by interviewing fishers on the use and state of technology of these buoys. During this reporting period this manuscript was written and published, which is an important contribution to fill the GAP on technology used by purse seine fishery, documenting the historical trends in technology and changing fleet dynamics of the tropical tuna purse-seine fisheries, as well as understanding how this buoys can be used to assess abundance, independently from catch data.

Ongoing research:

Fishers are sharing echo-sounder buoy information with scientists to improve biomass estimations of by-catch and tuna species.

  • Buoy manufacturers have also been contacted to better understand the technology involved.
  • Although we have already written a paper on the use of echo-sounder buoys, as technology, especially regarding echo-sounder buoys is evolving very fast, interviews on their performance and fishers’ tactics using them are ongoing.
  • Number of meetings with stakeholder partner = 4, 2 in Spain and 2 in France.


Because the impacts of the use of FADs are not fully understood, with different perceptions among stakeholders, the fishery management is not currently based on best knowledge. This causes conflicts between stakeholders, resulting for instance in some lack of trust or sharing of information.

After interviewing both, French and Spanish stakeholders we considered it was complicated to treat under the same flag the Spanish and French fleet. As we said in the last report, “these distinct fishing strategies leading to divergent opinions on crucial policies will be a challenge, especially when considering that both flags are represented by only one voice, the EU.” While we wanted to organize a meeting where both Spanish and French fisheries stakeholders would have been invited, some of them said that it would be really complicated to make it real. Considering seriously their words and point of view, we decided to continue a separated but compared work on both French and Spanish sides. Therefore two separate workshops were prepared, one in Sukarrieta (Spain) the 12th of December 2013 and the second one in France the 25th 26th of February 2014.

Participants from both countries worked with two main objectives:.

1)     Improving relationship between different stakeholders: understanding the concerns, interests and expectations of each stakeholder and planning for better communication channels.

2)     Working together towards the sustainability of the FAD fishery: identifying actions that would allow best sustainable practices fishing with FADs and identifying the responsibilities of the different groups of stakeholders participating in the workshop.

Professional mediators with non-fisheries backgrounds conducted both meetings.





This entry was posted in Case Study 7 - Tuna Fisheries FADs, News, Progress and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.