FIA PNG has been working on the development of safe handling and good practices for releasing non-targeted species that include Sharks, Turtles, Rays, and Whale Sharks. This happens in the tuna fisheries because there are interactions between the targeted species and that in our case tuna (Yellowfin, and Skipjack).
Since our foundation as an Association, our fleet and members have been working on conservation measures. We follow and implement the Conservation Management Measures (CMM) as agreed by the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). Our tuna fleet is always trying to avoid capturing these mentioned individuals and if we failed to do that then we work hard to release them with a special maneuver developed by our experienced Captains.
Our FIA PNG good practices for interaction with ETP are based purely on science. We have developed a clipboard series and disseminated it across our tuna fleet members which you will find on our website in three (3) languages (Pidgin, Tagalog, and English). Our tuna fleet fishing vessels have these instructions onboard, and we have already started “increasing awareness of FIA PNG good practices “ through the workshop series.
With the support of the Secretariat of Pacific Countries (SPC), we aim to carry out this online workshop with our 48 tuna purse seiners Crew, Offices, and Captains which we have launched on the 8th of November, 2022.
To reduce the risk of entanglement of ETP species the new measures of conservation management measures of non-entanglement and biodegradable FADs are encouraged. This initial workshop was attended by representatives from the National Fisheries Authority (NFA), Fairwell fishing, FCF, RD fishing, and Trans-Pacific Journey Fishing (TPJ), with a total of thirty-one (31) attendances. Our internal workshop training program will be extended to each of the crew, officers, and captains.
The topics reviewed and discussed during and after the workshop also included the responsible management of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) with emphasis on the following:
PNG Shark NPOA is to be reviewed with SPC providing support/assistance so long as a formal request is submitted.
We are aware that Ministers have already adopted the 4 th Implementation leverage.
Electronic data collection on FAD for monitoring is likely to be adopted into the licensing division including the four implementation measures with consultation from the industry as well as incorporating into the national laws.
NFA is happy to discuss more on this as the way forward for the implementation of this for effective monitoring and compliance.
Comments on ETP best handling and safe release practices were made especially on the silky shark population if retained then their survival rate of mortality is reduced.
Post-release data on sharks are not indicated in the SPC database, due to limited and sufficient data on this shark tagging research.
Testing options for shark tagging eg.. research work done with ISSF, will require a formal request put through NFA
The input will be obligated to the different categories of sharks and other species and the amount of data will also differ, so it will be a greater obligation on shark data. More information on this can be explained by a shark expert.
Observers don’t record incidents of ETP accidents on deck to crews when the best handling and release are done.
Adopt the FFA approach management strategy on this for management compliance.
Useful resource links on best handling and release practice guidelines were also provided.
We, at FIA PNG, ensure best handling and release practices of ETP species for their survival purposes.