Repurposing Tuna Fishing Technology To Reduce Bycatch In Purse Seine Fisheries

Source: Phys.org/International Seafood Sustainability Foundation

Photo: Gilbert Van Ryckevorsel/TAG A Giant

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Sustainability-driven new research could one day help tuna fisheries cast their nets more selectively, mitigating unintentional “bycatch” of undersized fish and off-limits species.

The key development is an innovative application of electronic fish-finders like those commonly used by commercial  fleets. A multinational research team conducted the investigation under the sponsorship of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF).

In a research article titled Acoustic Discrimination of Tropical Tuna, published today in PLOS ONE, the peer-reviewed open-access journal of the Public Library of Science, the ISSF team’s findings address a chronic challenge for commercial fishing fleets: How is it possible to identify and harvest mature, sustainable tuna without disturbing young fish or other species in the same vicinity?

As corresponding author Gala Moreno, Ph. D., explains, “If you’re working with land animals, you can walk right up to the herd and count them by size and species. But, typically, fish are out of your reach, hard to see, and constantly moving in three dimensions.”

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Photo: Gilbert Van Ryckevorsel/TAG A Giant