IPNLF publishes new findings into fishery interactions with ETP species in the Maldives

IPNLF launches new Technical Report assessing the interactions with endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species in the Maldivian pole-and-line tuna fishery
This technical report provides the first quantitative assessment of the Maldivian pole-and-line tuna fisheries impact on endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species

One of the key environmental benefits associated with one-by-one tuna fisheries (pole-and-line, handline and troll) is the low rate of harmful interactions with non-target and endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species, including species of sharks, turtles, marine mammals and seabirds. This low level of interaction with non-target species is lauded by NGOs and fishery stakeholders alike, and is something that IPNLF is proud to champion and promote.

In line with our vision and mission, IPNLF has been collecting and analysing fisheries data on Maldivian one-by-one tuna fishing dhonis since 2014, as part of an onboard fisheries observer programme. The data collected is used to evaluate many different elements of the fishery (including catch effort, baitfish use and bycatch) to increase understanding of the fisheries and stocks, act as a basis for management decisions, and ultimately guide IPNLF’s work plan. The data is made available to the Maldives Marine Research Centre, tuna regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) and IPNLF. In this instance, IPNLF has used the data for one of its Technical ReportsInteractions with Endangered, Threatened and Protected (ETP) Species in the Maldivian Pole-and-Line Fishery providing a quantitative assessment on the fishery impact on ETP species, the first analysis of its kind for the Maldivian pole-and-line tuna fishery.

The study analysed ETP interactions during 108 fishing trips. Over the course of the study, no turtle or marine mammal species interacted with the pole-and-line fishing gear. Three seabirds were caught and released in good condition, as were seven sharks.  Two juvenile silky sharks were caught and did not survive. After an in-depth analysis, the authors concluded that the pole-and-line fishery does not pose a risk of serious or irreversible harm to ETP species, meeting the requirements of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification regarding impacts on ETP species.

These findings are important for supporting IPNLF’s work to scientifically demonstrate the attributes of one-by-one fisheries and bring value to the fisheries by promoting the environmental and social benefits, in turn increasing the demand for one-by-one tuna.

We would like to thank the Maldives Marine Research Centre and the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture for their support in the collection of fisheries data and the production of this report. Please download and read the full report here, for any queries please get in touch!