RFMOs’ efforts needed to effectively control FADs

Aware that approximately half of the global tuna catch comes from fisheries that employ Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs), but the information on the exact number of FADs deployed and their locations is generally not shared with fisheries scientists and managers”
Concerned about the impacts from the unconstrained use of FADs including, inter alia, large increases in fishing mortality of juvenile Yellowfin and Bigeye, differences in
sizes and ages of target catch compared with free-school caught tuna, increased difficulty of properly assessing the status of individual tuna populations…”
Above statements are excerpts from the preamble of the resolution adopted by the IUCN in the World Conservation Congress (WCC) held in the Republic Korea, 6-15 September, 2012. It explains the fundamental problem concerning the use of FADs to catch tunas. The resolution called on Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) to establish har vest control rules. It further called on tuna RFMOs and governments to take steps to improve the traceability of tuna catch, as well as to minimize illegal, unregulated and unreported tuna fishing. It goes without saying that the tuna RFMOs and their member governments, being responsible for ensuring sustainable tuna resources and fisheries, should establish rules to control FAD use.
The present situation in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean in terms of FAD use seems to be posing a serious and real problem causing overfishing. Namely, the total fishing days by using FADs increased to 21,500 days in 2011 from 13,032 in 2010 in the region against the introduction of a 3-month period banning the use of FADs. The measures were apparently not effective. The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and its member governments are required to give serious attention to such a fact and make their best efforts to introduce more effective measures. Sustainable tuna fisheries in the region would become just a dream unless virtually ef fective measures are implemented. Differences in interests between advanced nations and developing nations should be overridden in dealing with this problem.