The interaction of fishers with FADs: decision making and effort allocation in relation to juvenile tuna aggregation and schooling behavior around FADs

PhD candidate Edison Macusi

A range of factors - e.g. economic, environmental, management and information -  influence the decision-making of fishers on what, when and where to fish. The success of intervention strategies attempting to change the level of fishing effort in relation to the use of FADs requires understanding of individual fisher decisions in relation to those factors, and how this impacts the distribution of total fishing effort in the Philippine small and medium scale tuna fishery. This study aims to provide an understanding of the spatial behavior of tuna fishers and the aggregation and movement patterns of juvenile oceanic tunas around a network of anchored FADs.

The central theme of my study is focused on fisher’s behavior on FADs; how various factors influence FAD deployment and use; and how tuna fish aggregation and movement patterns are modified by the use of FADs. In order to answer this central objective, my research specifically aims to:

  • Describe the tactics and strategies employed by fishers in their use of FADs including factors that influences their decision-making;
  • Map and quantify the spatial effort allocation of fishers, catch rates and catch variation;
  • Monitor catch composition and biomass build-up of FADs through time and how these relate to environmental variables;
  • Examine and analyse fisher’s behavior in relation to their movement patterns in the fishing ground using GPS tracking technology;
  • And examine whether FADs act to entrain or modify the route systems of juvenile tunas temporarily or in longer period.