Bycatch in small-scale tuna fisheries: A global study

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 560

Bycatch in small-scale tuna fisheries
A global study

Robert Gillett
FAO Consultant
The Republic of Fiji


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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome 2011


Gillett, R.
Bycatch in small-scale tuna fisheries: A global study.
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 560. Rome, FAO. 2011. 116p.

The aim of the study was to quantify catches of tuna and bycatch in small-scale pelagic fisheries. Additional goals were to identify on a global scale information gaps, major issues and management concerns associated with these fisheries and their bycatch.The study made estimates of tuna and non-tuna catches in the small-scale fisheries of 181 ocean areas.

The total amount of tuna produced by these fisheries was around 681 000 tonnes per year in the mid-2000s. About 753 000 tonnes of non-tuna was produced by those same fisheries.

The major priorities for improving our understanding of bycatch in small-scale pelagic fisheries are improved coverage of bycatch by the tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) that collect such information, increased involvement of the other tuna RFMOs in small-scale pelagic fisheries, verification of the high reported catches from small-scale pelagic fisheries in Indonesia, and greater technical details on the small-scale pelagic fisheries that take sensitive species.


Preparation of this document
Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary

1. Introduction




Why study the bycatch of small-scale tuna fisheries?


The study


Some definitions and conventions used in this document

2. Regional findings


Eastern Pacific




Non-Caribbean areas of the Western Atlantic


West Africa


Northeast Atlantic




Indian Ocean


East and Southeast Asia



3. Some general issues


Data quality


Why bycatch occurs

4. Comparisons between regions and countries

5. Identification of dedicated tuna fisheries

6. Comparisons between gear types

7. Turtles, marine mammals and seabirds

8. Discards

9. Management of bycatch




Mitigation measures – conceptual aspects


Mitigation measures – specific groups of sensitive bycatch

10. Improving information on small-scale pelagic fisheries: priority areas

11. Conclusion



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