Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 467–499 | Cite as

Catch and bycatch captured by tropical tuna purse-seine fishery in whale and whale shark associated sets: comparison with free school and FAD sets

  • Lauriane EscalleEmail author
  • Daniel Gaertner
  • Pierre Chavance
  • Hilario Murua
  • Monique Simier
  • Pedro Jose Pascual-Alayón
  • Frédéric Ménard
  • Jon Ruiz
  • Francisco Abascal
  • Bastien Mérigot
Original Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Coastal and marine biodiversity


In an ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM) framework of the tuna purse-seine fishery, the assessment of target species, but also that of bycatch species, is essential. In the Atlantic and Indian oceans, purse-seine nets are sometimes set around tuna schools associated with whale sharks and baleen whales, although less frequently than around free-swimming tuna schools or those associated with fish aggregating devices (FAD). However, knowledge on the targeted catch and bycatch in these megafauna associated fishing sets is still relatively limited. Therefore, the aims of this study were to assess species and size composition of the target tuna species, as well as the diversity of bycatch species in whale and whale shark associated sets. Whale associated sets were found to be very similar to free school sets in terms of tuna catch (large yellowfin tuna), bycatch occurrence (presence in half the sets) and species assemblage (alpha and beta diversity). Whale shark associated sets were intermediate between FAD and free school sets, with tuna catch (skipjack and juvenile yellowfin) closer to FAD than to free school sets. However, the presence of large yellowfin, the bycatch composition (with almost no finfish, abundantly captured in FAD sets) and the species assemblage showed similarity with free school sets. This study highlights the need for an EAFM in the tuna purse-seine fishery by providing knowledge on pelagic multi-specific catches and bycatches.


Megafauna Bycatch Diversity Catch composition Tuna purse-seine fishery Ecosystem approach to fisheries management 



The authors are grateful to the skippers, the European purse-seiner associations (ORTHONGEL, OPAGAC and ANABAC) for their cooperation, and to Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises (TAAF) involved in the logbook data collection, which is supported by the French and Spanish National Fisheries agencies and research institutes (IRD/IEO/AZTI). We would also like to thank the teams of the ‘Observatoire Thonier’ (IRD), the ‘Centro Costero de Canarias’ (IEO) and AZTI Tecnalia for providing logbook and scientific observer data. L. Escalle was funded by a PhD grant from the University of Montpellier. This is contribution 888 from AZTI-Tecnalia Marine Research Division. The manuscript has been proof-read and the English corrected by Michael Paul. We thank two anonymous Reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauriane Escalle
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Daniel Gaertner
    • 1
  • Pierre Chavance
    • 1
  • Hilario Murua
    • 2
  • Monique Simier
    • 1
  • Pedro Jose Pascual-Alayón
    • 3
  • Frédéric Ménard
    • 4
  • Jon Ruiz
    • 6
  • Francisco Abascal
    • 3
  • Bastien Mérigot
    • 1
  1. 1.MARBEC, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, Ifremer, IRDSèteFrance
  2. 2.AZTI TecnaliaPasaiaSpain
  3. 3.Instituto Español de OceanografíaSanta Cruz de TenerifeSpain
  4. 4.Aix Marseille Université, Univ Toulon, CNRS, IRD, MIO, UM110MarseilleFrance
  5. 5.The Pacific Community (SPC)NoumeaNew Caledonia
  6. 6.AZTI TecnaliaSukarrietaSpain

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