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Supporting the assessment of alternative fishing gears for replacing gillnets that cause bycatch of vaquita in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico

 

Principal Investigator: Daniel Aguilar-Ramirez, National Fisheries Institute of Mexico

Funding year: 2011

Main objectives:

 

This project assessed the performance of alternative gears to gillnets to try to eliminate vaquita bycatch by allowing fishermen to maintain yield whilst using vaquita safe gear. Particularly, this was done by:

  • monitoring the biomass yield of 15 fish aggregating devices (FADs) installed at known fishing areas in the Upper Gulf of California during winter 2009;
     
  • assessing the catch efficiency and selectivity of various gear types for a variety of target fishing species around FADs;
     
  • determining the 'maximum economic yield' for each alternative gear tested.

Main outcomes:

  • Experiments allowed assessment of a set of  alternative fishing gear types:
     
  • Collapsible multi-purpose large size traps (no catches).
     
  • Swimming crab traps, conical and rigid fish/crab traps and tide bags with low catch efficiency (0.2-0.4 Kg of commercial catch/h) and variable selectivity (catch:bycatch ratios between 1:0.5 and 1:6).
     
  • Rigid fish traps, hook long lines and shrimp/fish trawls with high catch efficiency (3-8 Kg of commercial catch/h) and good selectivity (catch:bycatch ratios between 1:0 and 1:4).

Reports/Papers:

WWF & NFIM 2012. Supporting the assessment of alternative fishing gears for replacing gillnets that cause bycatch of vaquita (Phocoena sinus) at the Upper Gulf of California. Final Report for the International Whaling Commission (IWC), December 21, 2012, 15 pp. Click here to read.