Gestión sostenible de la captura incidental en la pesca de arrastre de América Latina y el Caribe

Identifying bycatch reduction challenges in Suriname’s multispecies demersal trawl fishery

Paramaribo, 25 April 2017 | Suriname, as the only project country in REBYC-II LAC, has a targeted fishery for demersal finfish. The fleet mostly consists of stern-trawlers around 25m in length, equipped with a single demersal otter trawl. The fishery started in the late 1980's and now lands between 6,000 and 8,000 tons of fish annually, most of which is exported to Europe, the USA and the Caribbean.

In the past, the fishery's main targets were large, high-value snappers, croakers and weakfishes. In recent years, previously discarded fish is increasingly being landed. This is mainly due to improved marketing of less known or underappreciated species. Further, smaller-sized fishes of several species are now retained to be processed into surimi (fish paste). These developments have clearly caused dramatic changes in the discarding practices in the finfish trawl fishery in Suriname. As such, the definition of "bycatch" in this fishery is in need for an update.

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Mixed-species catch in Suriname's demersal finfish trawl fishery
© Tomas Willems

Under the REBYC-II LAC project, at-sea data collection has now started to obtain an up-to-date picture of the catch composition, bycatch and discards in the finfish fishery. This information will be used to understand the current needs for bycatch reduction and gear improvements, a prerequisite for the introduction of effective bycatch reduction measures in this fishery. The data is collected in partnership with the Suriname university, and will continue throughout the fishing season.