NATIONAL REPORT ON BYCATCH MANAGEMENT AND REDUCTION OF DISCARD JAKARTA, MAY
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The issue of bycatch and discards in the trawl fisheries involving small-scale boats is significantly different from the trawl fisheries conducted by industrial fishing companies. Shrimp is the most expected catch among small-scale trawl fishermen and the bycatch is dominated by groundfish, such as members of Leiognathidae, Haemulidae, Mullidae, and Scianidae. The bycatch can be sold by fishermen to buyers who will either resale it or process it into dried or salted fish or became fish meal. Since not all bycatch are kept onboard (by fishermen), the rest will be returned to the sea as discards. It is well demonstrated that in trawl fisheries targeting shrimps, the proportion of bycatch far exceeds the proportion of the shrimps. Therefore, discards has become one of big issues in the trawl fisheries, especially the one that is conducted by fishing companies operating large sized trawlers. This situation is particularly applicable to the trawl fisheries at Sorong. In some regions, the small-scale fishermen may have no specific target species because the populations of those species are at a low level. To them, any catch is valuable and worth to be retained. Therefore, discards is not an important issue. Fishermen now consider the catch of earlier target species merely as a bonus because they do not expect to catch them anymore. This situation is likely observed in the northern Java trawl fisheries (Cirebon, Tegal and Brondong) and Bengkulu (Sumatera). In other regions, small-scale fishermen are more confident with successful trawling since their main target species are still abundant. To them, shrimp is often the most valuable catch while certain type of fish are interesting to them only to be kept for family’s meal (e.g. Indian mackerels) or to be distributed in their neighborhood. However, by-catch is not an issue since most of those fish are sold to local fish processors. The fishing intensity conducted by the small scale fisheries is not as intensive as that carried out by industrial trawlers. The issue of potential discards is less relevant than the discards resulted from the operation of the industrial trawlers. This situation is commonly found in the trawl fisheries in Tarakan, Kotabaru and Pontianak. While the trawl fisheries mentioned above are concentrated to catch shrimps, the trawl fisheries in Belawan are targeting various types of demersal fish. The fish trawls consequently produce less by-catch since their catch is dominated by their targets which are multi-species of finfish. Certainly if they accidentally catch some shrimps, they will retain 11 the by-catch on-board. Fishermen are likely concerned when the catch is dominated by small-sized fish individuals of no market value. The three types of potential strategies to manage the by-catch issues are: (1) adjusting trawl operations according to natural spatial and temporal distribution of the target species and its associated fish assemblages, (2) improvement of fishing methods to reduce the likelihood of unwanted fish retained by fishing gear or improvement of fishing selectivity, and (3) directing fish transaction to certain quality of fish that promote protection of young or small fish from early exploitation.
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