Observation Report on Tuna Purse Seine fishing Operations around Seychelles Waters Onboard Nippon Maru
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During the period from 8 November 1992 to 7 January 1993 NIPPON-MARU sailed for 61 days around Seychelles waters accept in the southern area. Large schools of tuna were found only in the east Twenty-six drifting FADs (PAYA0) were set, six units in the east fishing ground and twenty units fishing ground. Due to so many purse seiners operating in the east fishing ground, four FADs were lost, only two operations could be conducted and the catch was poor. Six FADs on the west fishing ground were left in the sea for more than one month with no one touching them, they drifted about 200-300 nautical miles to the west of their setting location. Two of them drifted into Somalia and Kenya EEZ waters and fishing could not be conducted. The others four FADs were still in international waters, and fishing operations were carried out several times on each one; catch varied from 15 to 42 tons of skipjack and yellowfin tuna. The other 13 FADs were set only 1-2 weeks before the end of the cruise, five of them were used for fishing, with 4-17 tons of catch. Twelve drifting objects were found, eight on the east fishing ground and four on the west fishing ground. The biggest catch was on a drifting log in the east fishing ground, four fishing operation were conducted on this object and the catches were 95, 5, 103 and 14 tons. The catch was mostly skip jack (Katsuwonus pelamis) and yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares). The others were a of little tuna (Enthynnus affinis), dolphin fish (Coryphaena hippurus), rainbow runner (Elegatis bipinnulata ) shark (Caracharynus spp.) horse mackerel(Decapterus sp.) and Leather Jacket (Abalistes sp.). Almost 40 fishing operations were conducted during the cruise, 19 times on FADs, 14 times on drifting objects and seven times on fish schooling. (See Table 1 and Annex IV) Total catch on this cruise was about 670 tons of skipjack and yellowfin tuna, other fishes were thrown away and only shark fins were collected. VI. Discussion NIPPON MARU a modern tuna purse seine fishing vessel, fully equipped for fishing, navigation, communication, engine and power supply, and also with accommodation facilities. She is highly efficient for long fishing cruises at sea, up to 61 days and has a maximum capacity fish hold up to 1,150 tons. The design of this vessel is very efficient, providing the most convenient fishing facilities such the wheel control console and fishing instrument's room being close together on the high bridge deck. Block, booms and some winches are on one control console too. There were 19 officers and crew onboard. They were very active people everyone having their own duty, but while on fishing operations or others activities onboard, they all joined in This system was very good and meant that work could be finished within a short time. The total catch of 670 tons valued at about US$ 402,000 for the two months, is good income for a 1,200 gross tonnage purse seiner in these fishing grounds There were, however many purse seiners operating there (about 70 or more), so the catch may decrease in the future. A not so small amount of other fishes were thrown back into the sea, rainbow runner, little tuna, horse mackerel, dolphin fish, shark and leather Jacket, because there is no market in the Seychelles. We should be able to make better use of this by-catch.