Large Pelagic Resources Survey in Southeast Asia Waters
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This paper is developed under the ASEAN-SEAFDEC program on the "Harvesting of Under -Exploited Resources" from 2003-5 and "Information Collection of Highly Migratory Species in the Southeast Asia Waters" from 2006-7 with the funding support from the Government of Japan through the Japanese Trust fund of Fishery Agency. Due to fisheries resources in the Southeast Asian Region are currently heavily exploited in the coastal fisheries in comparison with the offshore ones, by a reason of difference in geographical areas. Increased production from those fisheries can only be derived from greater utilization of existing resources. However an increasing of human population and associated demand for fish and fishery products means there is a need to increase fisheries production even further. To achieve this, exploration of new potential fisheries resources which currently are under-exploited resources are needed. Take into account on the geo-topographic features in the Southeast Asia waters, about 60% of the sea water areas are identify as deep sea where the sea is deeper than 200m, for examples, in the Andaman Sea, South China Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, Eastern Indian Ocean, Banda Sea, Sulawesi Sea., etc. Many large pelagic species such as tunas, tuna like species, billfishes and others are classified as highly migratory species. It is expected that those large pelagic species existed in the region are still under exploitated resources, however due to lack of information and unclear on the status of those resources. SEAFDEC therefore proposed to conduct the fishing experiment based information collection in many sea areas namely Andaman Sea, the South China Sea and Sulu Sea of the member countries’EEZ. A series of field surveys has been carried out accordingly in collaboration with the SEAFDEC member countries using SEAFDEC Research and Training Vessels; MV SEAFDEC and MV SEAFDEC2. The progress and results of the survey are reported herein. The report provides an update of large pelagic fisheries resources based on fishing survey using drifting longline in the Southeast Asia Waters in particular the south china sea and the Andaman sea. The report also provides an insight of potential resources of commercial pelagic species in the particular sea areas such as in the Andaman Sea and Sulu sea that will need to be addressed for future fisheries management to ensure to contribute significantly to sustainable utilization of the large pelagic resources.