The Spanish tuna freezer sector is highly committed to sustainability. That is why, for years, extensive collaboration has been taking place between the fleet and AZTI to seek solutions that minimise the possible unwanted impacts of fishing activity. The collaboration between industry and science aims to guarantee the long-term sustainability of natural resources through the best exploitation and management practices, based on the best scientific knowledge.
In 2012, the companies belonging to the OPAGAC and ANABAC tropical tuna purse-seiner fishery associations agreed to adopt a voluntary Code of Good Practices to improve fishing practices in purse seiners to promote selective fishing that reduces impacts on the marine ecosystem.
These measures have been progressively implemented to date, as explained in this vídeo:
• The construction of FADs with non-entangling materials and the study of biodegradable materials for their use in the construction of FADs.
• The development and implementation of best handling and release manoeuvres for sensitive bycatch species (such as sharks, turtles or rays) to increase their survival rate .
• The implementation of a FAD monitoring system through the development and use of a specific logbook to track activities with these devices.
• 100% scientific observer coverage (physical or electronic), including observation in support vessels.
• Continuous training of skippers, crew, and scientific observers.
• Evaluation of fishing activities through an independent scientific body (AZTI), and the development of a steering committee that periodically verifies the correct functioning of the program.
This Code of Good Practices program has enabled advancing towards a more sustainable fishery. In recent years improvements have been made in FAD designs, reducing their impact on the ecosystem. The fishing mortality of accidentally caught vulnerable species has been reduced thanks to the implementation of practices and devices that help in their release.