The development of anchored FAD fishing in the Lesser Antilles often originated in the wish to diversify fishing activities in order to reduce the overexploitation of coastal resources or to facilitate the creation of a protective marine area. The reduction of the seasonality of offshore fishery is also a concern for the managers of small scale artisanal island fisheries as traditional activities focused on dolphinfish fishing is only practiced at a particular time of the year and seem to sustain a high fishing effort on the plateau the rest of the year.
Analyses performed by the working group (initially centered on the Lesser Antilles) thus lead to tackle the issue of resources along three different levels:
- The aggregations of fish and their exploitation around FADs. The idea was to optimize the sustainable exploitation of the resources aggregated around the devices, particularly through an improvement of the selectivity of the fishing techniques.
- The population (stocks) of pelagic species exploited around the FADs. In this particular area, the idea is to support the enhancement of fishing effort and capture statistics, to contribute to the development of knowledge about the biology of the species exploited, and to participate in the works of the international organizations in charge of managing those resources (ICCAT, WECAFC).
- The other resources exploited by companies practicing FAD fishing are also impacted by the development of that activity. They are offshore resources exploited by fishing activities prior to the development of FADs, as well as the coastal resources representing an additional income for many small vessels using anchored FADs.
- Collect, analyze and disseminate disaggregated and standardized official fisheries statistics, taking into account the multi-gear characteristics of the fisheries and in which FAD fishery is identified as separate fishing activity.
- Direct research on fishing capacity related to FADs and the anticipated impact of that capacity if its realized.
- Promote and encourage further research on FADs for a better knowledge of:
- The exploitation level of the fisheries resources and their dynamics
- Interactions between FADs and species
- Optimal FADs density and optimal time of use for a sustainable FAD fishery
- Relationship between FAD fishery and other fishing techniques on other resources and possible impact of these interactions
- Co-management experiments and their impact on the sustainable development of moored FAD fisheries
- Technologies and best management practices that can help reduce the take of small and juvenile fish at FADs
- Environmental degradation and climate change and variability issues.
II) Main results
A) Resources around FADs and their exploitation
1) List of species identified around the FADs (Martinique and Guadeloupe)
The resources aggregated around the FADs were described from experimental fisheries around FADs in Martinique and Guadeloupe (Taquet 1998 and 2000 and Diaz and Gervain 2007) or from statistical monitoring of professional fishing (Reynal et al. 2007a and b). Twenty-two species were captured around Guadeloupe’s FADs, and 26 around Martinique’s, that being a total of 36 different species around the FADs of the French Antilles.
2) The impact of anchored FAD fishing on totemic species
The issue of the impact of fishing activities on representative species such as sea mammals, turtles, sharks or birds was studied in Martinique and Guadeloupe.
The accidental capture of birds with trolling lines is exceptional under FADs, probably because the lines are always a little bit lested (their minimum depth is estimated to about 2 meters) to avoid their tangling with the engines of other vessels.
No turtle was seen close to FADs.
In order to assess the frequency of observation of sea mammals by fisherfolk, a study performed on 2526 returns from fishing trips in Martinique, between 2003 and 2005, evidenced 7% of fishing trips on FADs witnessing cetaceans. In most cases, they do not seem to disturb fishing. Groups of dolphins may over several consecutive days remove fish from the lines thus hampering the exploitation of the FADs. Such phenomenon observed in 2003 in Martinique’s northern Caribbean part was really detrimental for several weeks. In some Caribbean countries, fishing sea mammals being authorized, such practice can be observed around FADs.
Experimental fishing operations performed with horizontal or slanted long-lines (devices not used by professionals) by day and night in Martinique (Taquet, 2000) and in Guadeloupe (Diaz and Gervain, 2000) revealed the presence of sharks near the FADs. They belonged to 4 species: Carcharhinus longimanus (3 individuals fished out of 709 fish), Carcharhinus signatus (1 individual), Prionace glauca (4) and Isurus ocyrinchus (1). According to fishing statistics established in Martinique, 1,3% in 2009, and 1,5% in 2010 of the total weight of fish landed (fished around FADs) were “various sharks”. This group of species is fished in Martinique around FADs (21% of the landings) and with bottom long-lines (79%).
3) Professional fisherfolk’s takes around FADs
The prevailing species in professional fisherfolk’s takes are blue marlins (Makaira nigricans), dolphin fish (Coryphaena hippurus), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares). Those three species account for about 80% of total takes. The proportions vary according to the countries. Small tunas (“bonitos”) can be landed in high proportions, especially when anchored FAD fishing is just starting, when the fishing techniques for big fish are not mastered yet.
Furthermore, blackfin tuna (Thunus atlanticus) is a potential resource because it is abundant around FADs and relatively little exploited (Doray, 2007).
4) Optimization of sustainable exploitation of the resources aggregated around FADs
In order to search for ways of optimizing the exploitation of resources around FADs, a three-step initiative was implemented:
- Characterization and quantification of the (Doray, 2007)
- (Reynal et al. 2007)
- Identification of the means contributing to the selectivity of fishing around anchored FADs (Reynal et al., 2015)
B) Exploited populations (stocks) of pelagic species
The stocks of species exploited around FADs may not be exploited in the optimum manner, even if those resources form important schools around the devices. Among the main exploited or potential resources aggregated around anchored FADs, two groups can be singled out according to the organization of their monitoring and management implemented:
- Species whose area of distribution covers the whole ocean and are managed by ICCAT, such as yellowfin tuna or marlins. There are still several uncertainties as of the status of these stocks exploited around anchored FADs. The assessment of blue marlins in 2011 concluding to an overexploitation of this resource was performed using capture data by effort unit from long-liners only, as data from anchored FADs are usually not transmitted to ICCAT. Information on the status of those resources and the measures taken to optimize their exploitation are available on ICCAT’s website: https://www.iccat.int/en/
- Regional species for which there has not been any assessment yet. These include in particular dolphin fish or minor tuna with a regional interest such as blackfin tuna. Those resources were studied during CRFM scientific meetings and in the frame of MAGDELESA project. ICCAT looks to enhance the assessment of theses resources by working with regional fishing organizations. However, these resources require more accurate monitoring and the number of unidentified tuna fish remains very high in the landing statistics of the countries.
C) Other resources exploited by FAD fishing boats
The boats, mainly polyvalent, practicing fishing with anchored FADs exploit other resources. It mainly concerns two groups of resources:
- Offshore species generally exploited with trolling lines, such as dolphin fish may have benefited from a transfer of the fishing effort to other species (yellowfin tuna or marlins, in Martinique). In some islands, the development of FADs seems to have increased the fishing pressure on certain species (case of Guadeloupe where dolphin fish are targeted under FADs).
- Benthic and dermal species seem to have benefited from a transfer of the fishing effort to offshore resources when anchored FAD fishing developed. Then some islands tend to go back to the polyvalence of activities between offshore and coastal areas. Moreover, anchored FAD fishing with small undecked vessels being very physical, ageing fisherfolk tend to go back to fishing near the coast where working conditions are less difficult.
III) Works to implement
First, useful information to collect for a rational exploitation of anchored FAD follows:
- Describe the existing fishing techniques and their captures
- Continue research works on techniques regarding selective fisheries
- Enhance fishing statistics regarding the exploitation of anchored FADs
Experiment measures of regulation of fishing activities with anchored FADs
Angelelli, P. et Reynal, L. (2007). Systèmes de gestion de DCP et leur impact sur le développement durable de la pêche. In:, Bouillante, Guadeloupe, 5-10 July 2004. FAO Fisheries Report. No 797. Rome, FAO.2007. pp. 115-121.
Chantrel, J., M. Doray and Fréjaville, Y. (2007). Etude préliminaire des couches micronectoniques de la côte sous le vent de la Martinique. In:, Bouillante, Guadeloupe, 5-10 July 2004. FAO Fisheries Report. No 797. Rome, FAO.2007. pp. 222-247.
Diaz, N., M. Doray, L. Reynal, P. Gervain, A. Carpentier (2002). Pêche des poissons pélagiques hauturiers et développement des DCP ancrés en Guadeloupe. In. Le Robert, Martinique, 8-11 October 2001. FAO Fisheries Report No. 683, Suppl. Rome, FAO. 2002. pp. 39-54.
Doray, M., Reynal, L. (2001).. -In: 54 Proceedings of the Fifty Fourth Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute.-- Providenciales Turks & Caicos IslandsTurks and Caicos Islands.-- Pp. 41-59 November, 2001
Doray, M., L. Reynal, A. Carpentier (2002). Evaluation de l'impact de la pêche associée aux DCP ancrés. Méthodes employées et premiers résultats aux Antilles françaises. In. Le Robert, Martinique, 8-11 October 2001. FAO Fisheries Report No. 683, Suppl. Rome, FAO. 2002. pp. 273-295.
Doray, M., L. Reynal, A. Carpentier, A. Lagin (2002). La pêche des poissons pélagiques hauturiers en Martinique. In. Le Robert, Martinique, 8-11 October 2001. FAO Fisheries Report No. 683, Suppl. Rome, FAO. 2002. pp. 55-68.
Doray, M., L. Reynal, A. Carpentier, A. Lagin (2002). Le développement de la pêche associée aux DCP ancrés en Martinique. In. Le Robert, Martinique, 8-11 October 2001. FAO Fisheries Report No. 683, Suppl. Rome, FAO. 2002. pp. 69-88.
Doray, M. et Reynal, L. (2002). Les pêcheries de poissons pélagiques hauturiers aux Petites Antilles en 2001. In. Le Robert, Martinique, 8-11 October 2001. FAO Fisheries Report No. 683, Suppl. Rome, FAO. 2002. pp. 145-224.
Doray Mathieu, Stequert Bernard, Taquet Marc (2004). Age and growth of blackfin tuna (Thunnus atianticus) caught under moored fish aggregating devices, around Martinique Island. Aquatic Living Resources, 17(1), 13-18.
Doray Mathieu (2006). L'agrégation de thons de sub-surface au sein du système [DCP ancré - macronecton - environnement - pêche] en Martinique : étude hiérarchique par méthodes acoustiques, optiques et halieutiques. PhD Thesis, Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Rennes (ENSAR).
Doray Mathieu, Josse Erwan, Gervain Paul, Reynal Lionel, Chantrel Josselin (2006). Acoustic characterisation of pelagic fish aggregations around moored fish aggregating devices in Martinique (Lesser Antilles). Fisheries Research, 82(1-3), 162-175.
Doray Mathieu, Josse E, Gervain P, Reynal Lionel, Chantrel Josselin (2007). Joint use of echosounding, fishing and video techniques to assess the structure of fish aggregations around moored Fish Aggregating Devices in Martinique (Lesser Antilles). Aquatic Living Resources, 20(4), 357-366.
Doray, M. (2007). Typology of fish aggregations observed around moored FADs in Martinique during the DAUPHIN project. In:, Bouillante, Guadeloupe, 5-10 July 2004. FAO Fisheries Report. No 797. Rome, FAO.2007. pp. 205-212.
Doray, M. (2007). First description of sub-surface aggregations of small tunas observed around moored FADs in Martinique. In:, Bouillante, Guadeloupe, 5-10 July 2004. FAO Fisheries Report. No 797. Rome, FAO.2007. pp.213-221.
Doray, M. et Wilkins, R. (2007). Synthèse de la session « Les ressources vivantes agrégées autour des DCP ancrés et leur exploitation ». In:, Bouillante, Guadeloupe, 5-10 July 2004. FAO Fisheries Report. No 797. Rome, FAO.2007. pp. 251-256.
Doray Mathieu, Petitgas Pierre, Josse E (2008). A geostatistical method for assessing biomass of tuna aggregations around moored fish aggregating devices with star acoustic surveys. Canadian journal of fisheries and aquatic sciences, 65(6), 1193-1205.
Doray Mathieu, Petitgas Pierre, Nelson Laetitia, Mahevas Stephanie, Josse E, Reynal Lionel (2009). The influence of the environment on the variability of monthly tuna biomass around a moored, fish-aggregating device. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 66(6), 1410-1416.
Laurans Martial, Taquet Marc, Reynal Lionel, Lagin Alain-Sabin (2000). Comparaison des captures des grands poissons pelagiques en Martinique avec ou sans DCP. Pêche thonière et dispositifs de concentration de poissons, Caribbean-Martinique, 15-19 Oct 1999.
Laurans Martial, Taquet Marc, Reynal Lionel, Lagin Alain-Sabin (2000). Observations sous-marines des communautes de poissons agregees autour des DCP en Martinique: resultats preliminaires. Pêche thonière et dispositifs de concentration de poissons, Caribbean-Martinique, 15-19 Oct 1999.
Nelson, L., Reynal, L., Chanterel, L. (2006).. -In: 59Proceedings of the Fifty Nine Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute.-- Belize CityBelize.-- Pp.549-556 November, 2006
Nelson, L., Reynal, L., Rambally, J., Punnet, S., Oxenford, H., Fanning, P. (2006).. -In: 59Proceedings of the Fifty Nine Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute.-- Belize CityBelize.-- Pp.557-564 November, 2006
Prado, J. (2002). A world review of the fishing techniques used in association with fish aggregating devices in small-scale fisheries and potential interest for the Lesser Antilles countries. In. Le Robert, Martinique, 8-11 October 2001. FAO Fisheries Report No. 683, Suppl. Rome, FAO. 2002. pp. 121-144.
Reynal Lionel, Van Buurt G, Taquet Marc (2000). Perspectives de developpement des DCP ancres dans les Petites Antilles. L'exemple de trois iles: Guadeloupe, Martinique et Curacao. Pêche thonière et dispositifs de concentration de poissons, Caribbean-Martinique, 15-19 Oct 1999.
Reynal Lionel, Taquet Marc (2002). Le redéploiement de la pêche antillaise vers les grands poissons pélagiques. In Blanchet Gilles (ed.), Gobert Bertrand (ed.), Guérédrat Jean-Alfred (ed.).. (IRD editions).
Reynal Lionel, Doray Mathieu, Carpentier Andre, Druault-Aubin Vomakassi, Taquet Marc, Lagin Alain (2002). Perspectives de développement de la pêche associée aux DCP ancrés dans la Caraïbe. Proceedings - Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, University of Miami, 53, 177-190.
Reynal L. et Doray M. (2002). Effets potentiels du développement de la pêche associée aux DCP ancrés dans les Petites Antilles sur les ressources de grands poissons pélagiques. In. Le Robert, Martinique, 8-11 October 2001. FAO Fisheries Report No. 683, Suppl. Rome, FAO. 2002. pp. 235-248.
Reynal L., A. Monthieux, J. Chantrel, A. Lagin, J.J. Rivoalen et M-h. Norbert, 2006. ezembed
. Col. Vol. Sci. Pap. ICCAT, 59 (1) : 303-314.
Reynal, L., Chantrel, J. et Lagin, A. (2007). Premiers éléments de la répartition spatio-temporelle de la pêche autour des DCP en Martinique. In:, Bouillante, Guadeloupe, 5-10 July 2004. FAO Fisheries Report. No 797. Rome, FAO.2007. pp. 180-190.
Reynal, L., Chantrel, J. et Lagin, A. (2007). La pêche associée aux DCP ancrés et sa localisation autour de la Martinique. Premier élément de description. In:, Bouillante, Guadeloupe, 5-10 July 2004. FAO Fisheries Report. No 797. Rome, FAO.2007. pp. 191-204.
Rivoalen, J.J., Lagin, A., Norbert, M.H., Reynal, L. (2007). Relations taille-poids et fréquences de taille par catégorie commerciale des principales espèces capturées autour des DCP ancrés en Martinique. In:, Bouillante, Guadeloupe, 5-10 July 2004. FAO Fisheries Report. No 797. Rome, FAO.2007. pp. 161-179.
Taquet, M., Guillou, A., Reynal, L., Lagin, A. (1998).. -In: 51 Proceedings of the Fifty First Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute.-- St. Croix US Virgin Islands.-- Pp. 375-389 November, 1998
Taquet Marc, Reynal Lionel, Laurans Martial, Lagin Alain-Sabin (2000). Blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) fishing around FADs in Martinique (French West Indies). Aquatic Living Resources, 13(4), 259-262.
Taquet Marc, Laurans Martial, Reynal Lionel, Lagin Alain-Sabin (2000). Proposition d'une nouvelle technique de peche du thon noir (Thunnus atlanticus) sous les DCP en Martinique. Pêche thonière et dispositifs de concentration de poissons, Caribbean-Martinique, 15-19 Oct 1999.
Taquet Marc, Reynal Lionel, Laurans Martial (2000). Do FADs influence the geographical distribution of dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus)? Pêche thonière et dispositifs de concentration de poissons, Caribbean-Martinique, 15-19 Oct 1999.