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4 Derelict Fishing Gear and Fish Aggregating Devices W hile all maritime sectors, from recreational boats to large comÂ mercial shipping vessels, contribute to the ocean-based marine debris problem, there has been growing concern about the contribution of fishing vessels to this problem. Endangered monk seals entangled in derelict nets in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) and tons of fishing gear being hauled away from remote Alaskan shoreÂ lines are vivid evidence of the serious nature of this problem. CommerÂ cial fishing vessels generate a significant portion of the U.S. maritime waste stream, including waste fishing gear (Cantin et al., 1990; National Research Council, 1995a). Both derelict fishing gear (DFG) and fish aggreÂ gating devices (FADs) were specifically referenced in the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act (33 U.S.C. Â§ 1951 et seq.) as subjects for further review by this committee. While they can be marine debris, there are legal and practical considerations that differentiate them from other debris types. And in some coastal areas, a very large proporÂ tion of marine debris is often related to fishing (e.g., northern Australia [Kiessling, 2003], NWHI [Donohue et al., 2001], Aleutian Islands Â[Merrell, 1980, 1984, 1985]). Therefore, the committee has chosen to devote a sepaÂ rate chapter to exploring these types of debris. This chapter begins by examining DFG and follows with a discussion of FADs, which become DFG once they are abandoned. 89
90 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY DERELICT FISHING GEAR Arguably the single most important advancement in fisheries techÂ nology is the replacement of natural, easily degraded fiber ropes and twines with cheap, durable, and lightweight synthetic ropes and twines ( Â Kristjonsson, 1959). Historically, hemp, cotton, jute, sisal, manila, silk, and linen were the primary natural fibers used to make fishing gear (Uchida, 1985; Brainard et al., 2000). They were treated with a wide Âvariety of dyes, tars, and preservatives to retard their rate of degradation in the marine environment. Nevertheless, their failure, replacement, and repair rates were very high. These strength and durability limitations were major factors that limited catch sizes in many fisheries. Advances in polymer chemistry and production technology in the postâWorld War II period led to the manufacture of polyethylene, polypropylene, polyamide (nylon), and other synthetic fibers which have all but replaced the natural fibers used in fishing gear. Worldwide, these advances greatly contributed to the vast growth in fish and shellfish harvesting capacity and also set the stage for resource management challenges that are yet to be fully and effectively addressed by governments and industry. While achieving sustainable fisheries is still the primary challenge of management authoriÂ ties, another result of this technological revolution that has largely been overlooked is the effect of the loss or discard of these persistent Âmaterials into the marine ecosystem. The same properties that make these new m Â aterials effective as fishing gear also make them particularly problemÂ atic as marine debris. Unlike their natural predecessors, the new materials can last for years or decades in the marine environment. They are largely impervious to biodegradation; they are resistant to chemicals, light, and abrasion; and because many of these synthetic fibers are buoyant, they can be transported long distances by ocean currents. With the entry into force of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL) Annex V and its implementation via domestic laws in the late 1980s, the at-sea discharge of plastics and other synthetic polymers, including fishing gear, was prohibited. This change from long-standing ship disposal practices, coupled with concurrent rising public awareÂ ness of synthetic materialsâbased marine debris (e.g., Manheim, 1986; Adler, 1987; OâHara et al., 1988; Toufexis, 1988), increased focus on the problems associated with fishing gear lost or discarded into the marine environment. DFG is of particular concern because the use of synthetic materials has made fishing gear more durable and because it can continue to entrap, entangle, and retain marine organisms after it has been lost or discarded. The committee defines fishing gear as any device or equipment or parts thereof, except vessels, used in the catching, attracting, gathering,
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 91 holding, and harvesting of marine or aquatic species. DFG is fishing gear in the marine or littoral environment that has been abandoned or is otherwise no longer under the control (in the context of the legitimate operations of the specific fishery) of its legal operator. This definition does not address the many circumstances that may result in the loss of control of fishing gear, but it recognizes that what constitutes âcontrolâ of fishing gear varies among specific fisheries and fishery management systems. The term âderelictâ refers to the intentional or unintentional abandonment of the gear. In either case, the operator acknowledges that he must abanÂ don (relinquish control of) his gear; hence, the use of the term âderelictâ fishing gear is appropriate. Fishing gear is unlike most other discharges or disposals considered in MARPOL Annex V in that it is intentionally deployed into the marine environment with the intention of retrieval. Commercial fishing gear is capital equipment used in the pursuit of value associated with the trade in fisheries products. In deciding to deploy their gear, fishermen engage in an implicit balancing of the expected value of their catch and the risk of damaging or losing their gear (Pooley, 2000). The quality of these judgments varies with experience; environmental conditions (e.g., weather, currents, tides, sea state, presence of sea ice, the makeup of the seafloor); the condition of the gear, equipment, and vessel; as well as a suite of economic pressures and regulatory factors. The fact is that fishing, legal or otherwise, entails risking the loss of some fishing gear. The challenge for fishermen, fishery engineers, fishery managers, and lawmakers is to find ways to incorporate the minimization of gear loss and its ultimate environmental hazards and the maximization of lost gear recovery into fishing operations, research programs, management and enforcement actions, and public policy directions. Sources, Fates, Abundance, and Impacts Prevention and reduction of DFG and its impacts requires an underÂ standing of the sources, abundance, and impacts of this gear. While this information is also discussed in Chapter 2, some of what is known and some of the challenges in understanding DFG are highlighted here. As is true for other types of marine debris, there is little information available in the form of quantitative assessments of the sources and amounts of derelict gear generated by specific fisheries, or for linking those losses to impacts. Prevention of DFG begins at the source, but identifying the source may be difficult because ocean currents can transport DFG a long distance from the site of loss or discard and involve substantial time lags (Donohue et al., 2001; Boland and Donohue, 2003; Kubota, 1994; Donohue, 2005; Kubota et al., 2005; Pichel et al., 2007). As such, DFG encountered within
92 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or on U.S. shorelines may be derived from current and past activities of domestic and foreign fishing fleets operating within or beyond the EEZ. There is evidence that fishing gear manufactured in Asia, particularly South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, represents a significant component of DFG recovered in Alaska, Hawaii, and northern Australia (Kiessling, 2003; White et al., 2004; Timmers et al., 2005; Carpentaria Ghost Nets Programme, 2008; Bob King, personal communication; Michael Stone, personal communication). Much of the DFG documented in these locations is composed of materials commonly manufactured in Asia (e.g., twisted polyethylene twine); these materials are (reportedly) rarely used by manufacturers of fishing gear currently used in the United States, who instead use netting of domestic origin and from the European Union (e.g., braided polyethylene twine produced in Iceland and Portugal) (Bob King, personal communication; Michael Stone, personal communication). Complicating this situation is the existence of âlegacyâ gear; some derelict gear recovered in Alaska and Hawaii is very old, suggesting it may represent a relic of foreign fishing in what are now U.S. waters (Bob King, personal communication; Michael Stone, personal communication; and see Merrell, 1980). Prevention and reduction of DFG will have to take into account the transport of these materials across boundaries over long periods of time. Finding: Because DFG persists and can be transported long distances, parties that generate DFG may not be the ones that bear the effects of it. Increased awareness and participation by responsible parties is necessary to effectively address the DFG problem. Recommendation: All parties responsible for the generation of DFG should be involved in prevention and cleanup. Measures to preÂ vent and reduce DFG will require international coordination and cooperation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Department of State, international fisheries manÂ agement organizations, and other relevant organizations should â¢ engage in technology transfer and capacity building with nations from which DFG components originate to improve implementation of MARPOL Annex V in fisheries; â¢ encourage best practices to reduce gear loss, support recycling of used fishing gear, and promote retrieval of snagged or lost gear; and â¢ facilitate the participation of representatives from nations from which DFG components originate in DFG survey and removal efforts.
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 93 While the origin of some legacy gear is uncertain, sources are clearly identifiable in other cases; for example, the Northwest Straits CommisÂ sion estimates that there are nearly 3,900 gillnets remaining in Puget Sound from domestic salmon fisheries from the 1970s and 1980s Â(Natural Resources Consultants, Inc., 2007). Ongoing domestic fisheries also conÂ tribute to derelict crab and lobster pots in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and Alaska (e.g., Hess et al., 1999; Guillory et al., 2001; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2008b; Thomas Matthews, personal communication; Steven Vanderkooy, personal comÂ munication). In northeastern Atlantic fisheries, the amount of lost and discarded nets is unknown, but anecdotal evidence suggests that, in some fisheries, 30 km of net are lost or discarded during a typical 45-day trip, which translates into 1,254 km of lost or discarded netting per year ( Â Hareide et al., 2005). It is also important to note that gear types and materials are conÂ stantly evolving; in considering measures to prevent and reduce DFG and its impacts, it is crucial to consider new fishing technologies and how these technologies may affect fishing behaviors. Most active fisheries are continually searching for materials more suited to fishing needs. For example, trawlers are currently exploring the use of aramid fiberâbased netting, which is extremely strong, lightweight, and abrasion resistant. These new fibers sink and are less likely to tear apart when snagged or heavily loaded during fishing. This may be a positive development with respect to gear loss, but the degree to which improved materials leads to higher levels of (gear loss) risk taking by fishermen is not known. TypiÂ cally, improvements in any fishing technology and techniques are aimed at catching more fish at less cost and those that may coincidentally reduce the probability of gear loss may also affect fishing behavior so as to cancel those benefits (Coe, 1990). DFG has been recognized as a particularly hazardous form of marine debris since the earliest reports on effects of persistent waste materials in the environment. Records of the entanglement of threatened and endanÂ gered species, such as sea turtles, fur seals, Hawaiian monk seals, some large whales, and many seabird species date back to the 1970s (Gochfeld, 1973; Bourne, 1976, 1977; Balazs, 1978). Ghost fishing has been confirmed to occur with many static types of fishing gear (e.g., gillnets, traps, baited hooks), with potentially significant impacts on commercial stocks in some fisheries (Breen, 1987; Stevens et al., 2000; Sancho et al., 2003; Matsuoka et al., 2005; Brown and Macfayden, 2007). Other forms of DFG also have the potential to entangle marine organisms, disable vessels, cause physical damage to habitat, and contribute to the marine debris problem. The word âfishingâ encompasses a broad range of activities pursued with a variety of equipment; therefore, solutions to prevent and reduce
94 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY DFG must be tailored to the different types of gear, their impacts, and the primary causes of loss. This section describes the primary types of fishing gear that can become derelict and includes a brief summary of the impacts and causes for loss by gear type. Trawl Nets Trawl nets (trawls) are expensive funnel-shaped nets towed by one, or sometimes two, vessels through aggregations of fish. Trawls can be designed to fish anywhere in the water column, from contact with the seafloor to the middle or upper portions of the water column. Fish that are herded into the mouth of the net are eventually concentrated in the end of the funnel, or cod end, and winched aboard the vessel. Trawl designs vary depending on the target species, vessel size, and regulatory limitations. Originally, trawl webbing was made from hemp treated with various preÂ servatives, but these were replaced with nylon and then polypropylene and polyethylene in the 1950s and 1960s (Uchida, 1985) and more recently by next-generation polyethylene fibers such as SpectraÂ® and DyneemaÂ® and aramid fibers such as KevlarÂ® (Michael Stone, personal communiÂ cation). Most of these materials float, which accounts for the fact that d Â erelict trawl webbing and cod ends from trawl nets are found worldwide and notably in concentrations on shores up to thousands of miles from their putative origins (Merrell, 1980; Henderson et al., 1987; Donohue et al., 2001; Kiessling, 2003; White et al., 2004). Even though sections of trawl webbing may be buoyant, steel cables, doors, beams, and other materials used to maintain the vertical and horizontal profiles of the trawl may be weighted and the trawl as a whole is negatively buoyant. The increased strength of synthetic webbing reduces hydrodynamic drag and enables vessels to pull larger nets at higher speeds and greater depths. Historically, the loss of trawl gear was attributed mainly to snagging and tears while fishing near or on the bottom. In U.S. domestic trawl fishÂ eries, fishermen have stated that this type of net loss is less common (Bob King, personal communication; Michael Stone, personal communication). Part or all of these nets can be lost in a snagging incident, and the repair process may generate waste webbing and lines that may be discarded or lost overboard. Trawl webbing has been identified in the entanglement of seals and sea lions (see Appendix C, Table V). It is widely distributed on coasts from tropical to Arctic and Antarctic regions of the world (Merrell, 1985; Uchida, 1985; Ryan, 1990; Ribic et al., 1992; Boland and Donohue, 2003). Trawl webbing has also been identified as particularly destructive â Additional information on fishing gear technology can be found through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2008a).
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 95 to fragile coral reef systems in the NWHI and similar habitats in Australia (Donohue et al., 2001; Kiessling, 2003; White et al., 2004). Gillnets Gillnets are vertical walls of mesh, sized such that target species in the desired size range are effectively caught about their girth after the head and gill covers (fish) have passed through the mesh. Gillnets are cheap to manufacture and are used worldwide in fisheries that vary from artisanal to industrial in scale. They are efficient size selectors for the target species, but they are also effective at ensnaring nontarget species, especially those that have heads small enough to pass through the mesh or that have prominent spines and angular carapaces (Carr et al., 1985; High, 1985; Breen, 1990). To maintain their shape, gillnets usually include a buoyant top (cork) line and a weighted bottom (lead) line, and they can be suspended at or near the surface, in midwater, or anchored (set) to the bottom. Early gillnets were made from natural fibers such as cotton. Current gillnets are woven from mono- and multifilament nylon, DacronÂ® twine, and SpectraÂ®. Gillnets can vary in size from as small as a few square meters up to systems of nets as long as 60 km by 20 m deep, with mesh sizes varying from as small as 2 cm to as large as 50 cm. Primarily because of concerns over bycatch and ghost fishing, management interest in controlling these fisheries and their gear loss rates has been high (e.g., coastal state bans, high seas bans). Despite the United Nations ban on large-scale high seas drift gillnets and similar multilateral treaties, drift gillnets continue to be used (Brainard et al., 2000; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2008b). Gillnets in coastal waters are most often lost due to snagging or when attempts to retrieve them cause tears. Sections of gillnet are often lost or cut away when they become entangled as vessels jockey for posiÂ tion in derby fisheries such as the Bristol Bay sockeye fishery. Floating or drift gillnets are lost when marker buoys are lost in foul weather or are entangled or carried away by vessels that transit through them, or when the weight of their catch causes them to sink. In addition, an unintended consequence of prohibitions on the use of high seas drift gillnets is that vessels that deploy drift gillnets will abandon them at sea in an effort to evade enforcement vessels (National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdminÂ istration, 2008a). Derelict gillnets are found worldwide on beaches, reefs, and adrift at sea. Ghost gillnets entangle fish, cephalopods, crustaceans, birds, turtles, marine mammals, vessels, and unwary humans (divers). The ghost fishÂ ing potential of gillnets varies considerably, depending primarily on the rigidity or permanence of the supporting mechanism(s). For example,
96 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY pelagic drift gillnets typically hang between a cork line and a lead line and are set more or less in a line without fixed endpoints. Thus, they are subject to significant deformation by waves and currents. These nets have been shown to collapse over periods of days (Gerrodette et al., 1985), greatly reducing their long-term ghost fishing potential. Set gillnets, by virtue of their fixed, anchored framing, may remain fully deployed and fishing long after they are lost or abandoned (Carr et al., 1985). Ghost gillÂ nets in the shallow temperate waters of Puget Sound and in the Columbia River have been observed to self bait such that predators and scavengers attracted to entangled animals are themselves entangled, thereby perÂ petuating the cycle of destruction (Kappenman and Parker, 2007; Natural Resources Consultants, Inc., 2007). For example, a derelict net off Lopez Island in Puget Sound that had been in place for 15 years is estimated to have caught over 16,500 invertebrates, 2,340 fish, and 1,260 seabirds (Natural Resources Consultants, Inc., 2008). Additionally, one derelict gillnet, whose location was known for several years before a joint NOAA/ U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)-led multiagency effort was able to recover it in 1999, weighed over 2,000 kg (Donohue et al., 2001). As nets become fouled, they become more visible and lose their vertical profile, and their fishing capacity declines. Traps, Cages, and Pots Traps and pots are cages with wire, webbing, or other mesh, on a rigid or collapsible frame made of metal, wood, and other materials. They can range in size from small and light to quite large and heavy. Trap fisheries for crustaceans and finfish are carried out in relatively shallow, productive coastal and shelf areas worldwide. Fishing traps are typically weighted to sink and stay on the bottom with an attached marker float to allow relocaÂ tion and hauling back to the surface. Traps can be fished singly or conÂ nected together in strings. Traps are fitted with entry doors designed to prevent escape of the catch once inside. They are usually baited to attract the target species and retrieved and rebaited on a schedule suited to the catch rates, weather, and regulations of specific fisheries. Trap fisheries have also benefited from the replacement of natural fiber webbing and lines with more durable synthetic materials. Trap loss has many causes, but includes weather-related movement and damage and loss due to conflicts with other user groups. Fishing vessels snag and move trap gear, floats are snagged on passing vessels or in towed fishing gear, competitors are reported to vandalize each otherâs gear in some fisheries (Acheson, 1977), and fishery closures and economic circumstances prevent or inhibit gear retrieval. Several trap fisheries in the United States are reported to have left tens or even hundreds of thouÂ
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 97 sands of derelict traps in their fishing areas (Stevens et al., 2000; Guillory et al., 2001). In the Gulf of Mexicoâs spiny lobster and stone crab fisheries, traps are lost continually through the fishing season at a rate of 1â2 perÂ cent each month or 20â50 percent annually (Thomas Matthews, personal communication). Traps catch legal and undersized target species as well as many other species that are attracted to the bait and are small enough to pass through the trap doors (Smolowitz, 1978; High, 1985; Breen, 1990). Traps often include holes sized to permit the escape of undersized target and nonÂtarget species; bycatch unable to escape is typically released each time the trap is retrieved, but the loss of a trap means that animals that are unable to escape from the trap will starve or be preyed upon by their Âfellow captives. This catching and self-baiting cycle can continue for days to years until the trap is disabled, usually by being buried in sediments, general disintegration and biofouling, disintegration of degradable escape panels, if required and present, or by retrieval. Although most U.S. trap, cage, and pot fisheries require that they be equipped with rot cord (i.e., sections of twine that comÂ promise the integrity of the pot once they biodegrade), Stevens et al. (2000) reports that one such equipped ghost pot alone held 125 crabs. An alternaÂ tive to rot cord, galvanic releasesâoften used in pop-up oceanographic devicesâoffer greater consistency in the time to failure but have not yet won widespread application as release devices for fishing traps. The loss of commercial species in derelict traps can be substantial. For example, derelict traps are estimated to account for about 7 percent of total mortality in the Dungeness crab fishery off the Fraser River delta in British Columbia (Breen, 1987). Matsuoka et al. (2005) shows that the take of octopus by derelict traps in a bay in Japan was equal to or twice that landed annually by the commercial fishery. Depending on the time of year, trap type, and location, annual ghost fishing mortality in the blue crab fishery ranges from 7.7 to 60 crabs per trap (Guillory et al., 2001). Marine mammalsâin particular right whales, humpback whales, and dolphinsâand sea turtles have been observed entangled in traps or buoy lines or groundlines (i.e., the line between traps) (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2007a). While these entanglements are most likely to occur in active gear rather than in derelict gear, the extent to which derelict gear poses a threat to these marine mammals is unknown and indeed these entanglements are one vector for turning active gear into DFG. Hook-and-Line A wide variety of hook-and-line fisheries operates worldwide, includÂ ing commercial longline, troll, jig, and dinglebar fishing, and recreational
98 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY fishing using rod-and-reel or hand lines. These fisheries contribute to the DFG problem through the loss and discard of primarily monofilament fishing lines, although many other synthetic materials are used in braided fishing lines that may be equally persistent when derelict (e.g., DacronÂ®, SpectraÂ®, and aramid polymers such as KevlarÂ®). Loss of these lines is commonly caused by snagging and breakage during retrieval attempts, and by discard of snarled and damaged line. Longlines may be fished as drift or set (anchored) gear and can be lost due to weather, currents, damage by conflicting fishing activities (e.g., trawlÂ ing) and other vessel traffic, as well as by vessel and equipment failures. Intense derby fisheries may result in longlines being set across each other, rendering the whole irretrievable (National Research Council, 1999). The impact of derelict fishing lines is most obvious and dramatic when it entangles sea turtles, sea birds, and marine mammals; however, virtually all marine animals are susceptible to this entanglement (e.g., Shomura and Godfrey, 1990). Fishing line entanglement ordinarily results in traumatic amputation; strangulation; or other disablement leading to infection, starvation, heightened risk of predation, or death for the victim. Coral damage and death from entanglement in derelict monofilament fishing line (and associated sinkers and steel hooks) has been documented in South Africa (Schleyer and Tomalin, 2000), in the Mediterranean in northeastern Italy (Bavestrello et al., 1997), and in Hawaii (Asoh et al., 2004; Yoshikawa and Asoh, 2004). Other Gear Types Other major types of fishing gear include purse seines, shellfish dredges, FADs, shore-based fish traps and weirs, and net pens, cages, mesh bags, and lines used for aquaculture (coastal and offshore). These activities lose gear but, with the possible exception of FADs in the tropical tuna fisheries (see below), they are not yet documented as contributing to the overall impacts of DFG in the same magnitude as trawls, gillnets, traps, and line fisheries. Likewise, trammel nets, which are replacing gillnets in some fisheries, and lobster nets, which are replacing traps especially in coral reef habitats, while not yet documented, may also conÂ tribute to DFG. The growth of coastal and offshore aquaculture in Asia, Latin America, and Europe suggests that materials used in aquaculture are likely to become a more prominent component of DFG. Legal and Regulatory Issues There is some confusion among international and U.S. agencies over who is supposed to prevent, by regulation or otherwise, the generation
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 99 of marine debris by fisheries, especially DFG because it is both a marine debris and a fishery management problem. The various international and domestic laws and regulations that govern activities that generate DFG and other marine debris from fisheries are summarized here. While it is generally recognized that fishing is one of the freedoms of the seas, the discharge of unwanted fishing gear or the careless loss of useful or waste gear is not. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, âall states have the right of their nationals to engage in fishing on the high seas subject to their treaty obligations . . . [and to] the rights . . . and the interests of coastal statesâ (Article 116). Treaty obligaÂ tions that are relevant to the DFG problem and its impacts on marine life include the environmental protection provisions of the Law of the Sea Convention (summarized in Chapter 3), the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement of 1995, regional international fisheries agreements, and the provisions of MARPOL and its annexes. The conservation qualification of the high seas right of fishing is detailed in the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement of 1995, which states that nations that fish for straddling and highly migratory fish species (which include tunas) have âa duty to adopt measures to minimize . . . catch by lost or abandoned gearâ of both target and nontarget species through the development of environmentally safe fishing gear and techniques (Article 5[f]). Nations that are parties to both MARPOL Annex V and one or more international fishing agreements are summarized in Appendix D. Under international law, both coastal states and flag states (nations that register fishing vessels) bear responsibility to prevent marine debris, including DFG, by providing adequate recepÂ tion facilities at fishing ports and enforcing regulations requiring proper disposal of waste fishing gear. MARPOL Annex V MARPOL Annex V addresses waste fishing gear in its ban on the disÂ charge of plastics in all areas of the sea. Regulation 3 prohibits the disposal of âall plastics, including but not limited to synthetic ropes, synthetic fishing nets, [and] plastic garbage bagsâ (International Maritime OrganiÂ zation, 2006c), and a similar ban applies to special areas (Regulation 5). Regulation 6, however, exempts these discharges from the prohibition if they involve an âaccidental loss of synthetic fishing nets, provided that all reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent such lossâ (InterÂ national Maritime Organization, 2006c). Therefore, it is not a violation if plastic or other synthetic fishing gear falls overboard due to damage to the fishing vessel or its equipment, provided that all reasonable precautions were taken to prevent such loss, or if the gear is intentionally put overÂ board in order to secure the safety of the vessel, its crew, or lives at sea.
100 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY The International Maritime Organization (IMO) amended the accidental loss exception in 1989 to exclude the loss of pieces or fragments of nets from on deck, presumably because member states concluded that there are no reasons to excuse the loss of such items (Koehler et al., 2000). Thus, any time a synthetic fishing net or piece of net or another type of plastic fishing gear is thrown overboard for deliberate disposal or purposefully left behind, that action constitutes a prohibited disposal under MARPOL Annex V. IMOâs member states, acting through IMOâs Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC), recognize that compliance with ÂMARPOL Annex V has been incomplete and that marine debris, including debris from fishing operations, is a substantial threat. In 2006, MEPC charged a group of member states, coordinated by Canada, to complete a review of MARPOL Annex V and its Guidelines (International Maritime OrganizaÂ tion, 2007; see also Chapter 3). While the review by the MEPC corresponÂ dence group is ongoing as of this report, a number of fisheries-related problems have been identified and options to rectify them have been suggested by members of the correspondence group (International MariÂ time Organization, 2007). Here some of these points are summarized, and it is noted that the committeeâs analysis is very much in line with these findings: â¢ Regulation 6(c) of MARPOL Annex V contains no definition of âreasonable precautionsâ for the exception allowing the âacciÂ dental loss of synthetic fishing nets, provided that all reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent such lossâ (International Maritime Organization, 2006c). Without a definition, it is very difÂ ficult to enforce. The regulations could better define âreasonable precautions,â although there are many challenges to doing so. â¢ Regulations 9(2) and 9(3)(d) (International Maritime Organization, 2006c) only require fishing vessels over 400 gross tons to maintain a garbage management plan and report the loss of fishing gear in either a garbage record book or a special reporting system designed for fishing gear. Because only a small number of fishing vessels are this large, very few vessels are required to report lost fishing gear, even though this would help authorities to retrieve it, analyze its impact, or mitigate its potential damage. A provision could be added that requires all fishing vessels (except artisanal and nonÂ commercial vessels) to maintain garbage management plans and record losses of gear. â¢ MARPOL Annex V and its regulations do not include a requireÂ ment to mark gear so that it can be identified and traced to its source. If this were included, it would likely increase the number
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 101 of gear marking requirements that fisheries management orgaÂ nizations adopt and which flag nations require. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (1995) has stated that âfishing gear should be marked in accordance with national legislation in order that the owner of the gear can be identified. Gear-marking requirements should take into account uniform and internationally recognizable gear marking systems.â In Section 3.5.3, the Guidelines for the Implementation of Annex V of MARPOL (International Maritime Organization, 2006b; see also Box 4.1) encourages the use of gear identification systems, but this does not seem to be a widespread practice. A gear-marking proviÂ sion could be added to MARPOL Annex V. â¢ The Guidelines (International Maritime Organization, 2006b) conÂ tains a great deal of information related to fishing gear that does not appear to be widely applied; this information could be made more accessible to fisheries management organizations and stakeholders. â¢ The phenomenon of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the worldâs oceans is also relevant to the work of the corresponÂ dence group. A joint IMO/FAO ad hoc working group on illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing has been formed and this group has requested advice from FAO and other United Nations agencies on measures that IMO could adopt for fishing vessels that would help to combat this problem. IMOâs Guidelines for the Implementation of Annex V of MARPOL (InterÂ national Maritime Organization, 2006b) was published in 1988 and revised in 1991. It contains much of the detail that is lacking in the regulations (see Box 4.1), perhaps because IMO parties assumed that member states needed flexibility in implementing MARPOL Annex V and would be more likely to comply with Annex V if they had guidance rather than detailed rules. The correspondence group discussions indicate that the time may have come to put more specificity into the regulations with respect to fishing gear (International Maritime Organization, 2007). Finding: MARPOL Annex V does not adequately or comprehensively manage discharges of fishing gear into the marine environment. The exemption for âthe accidental loss of synthetic fishing nets, provided that all reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent such lossâ (International Maritime Organization, 2006c), does not provide sufÂ ficient guidance to regulators and the fishing industry. Moreover, because of minimum length and gross tonnage exemptions, ÂMARPOL Annex V does not apply to a substantial number of commercial, a Â rtisanal, and sport fishing charter vessels. Therefore, these vessels
102 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY BOX 4.1 Guidelines for the Implementation of Annex V of MARPOL for Fishing Gear 3.5. Fishing gear, once discharged, becomes a harmful substance. Fishing vessel operators, their organizations and their respective governments are encouraged to undertake such research, technology development and regulations as may be necessary to minimize the probability of loss, and maximize the probability of recovery of fishing gear from the ocean. It is recommended that fishing vessel operators record and report the loss and recovery of fishing gear. Techniques both to minimize the amount of fishing gear lost in the ocean and to maximize recovery of the same are listed below. 3.5.1. Operators and associations of fishing vessels using untended, fixed or drifting gear are encouraged to develop information exchanges with such other ship traffic as may be necessary to minimize accidental encounters between ships and gear. Governments are encouraged to assist in the development of information systems where necessary. 3.5.2. Fishery managers are encouraged to consider the probability of Âencounters between ship traffic and fishing gear when establishing seasons, areas and gear-type regulations. 3.5.3. Fishery managers, fishing vessel operators and associations are encourÂ aged to utilize gear identification systems which provide information such as vessel name, registration number and nationality, etc. Such systems may be useful to promote reporting, recovery and return of lost gear. 3.5.4. Fishing vessel operators are encouraged to document positions and reaÂ sons for loss of their gear. To reduce the potential of entanglement and âghost fishingâ (capture of marine life by discharged fishing gear), benthic traps, trawl and gillnets could be designed to have degradable panels or sections made of natural fiber twine, wood or wire. 3.5.5. Governments are encouraged to consider the development of technology for more effective fishing gear identification systems. 7.1.4. Governments should consider . . . the use of garbage discharge reporting systems (e.g., existing shipâs deck logbook or record book) for ships . . . [to] docuÂ ment the date, time, location by latitude and longitude, or name of port, type of garbage . . . and estimated amount of garbage discharged. . . . Particular attention should be given to the reporting of . . . the loss of fishing gear . . . SOURCE: International Maritime Organization (2006b). are exempt from placarding, garbage management plan, and garbage log requirements that would facilitate enforcement of prohibitions against the at-sea disposal of synthetic fishing gear. Recommendation: The U.S. delegation should exercise its influence in the correspondence group and on IMOâs MEPC to amend MARPOL Annex V to
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 103 â¢ provide explicit definitions of âaccidental lossesâ and âreasonable precautionsâ with respect to synthetic fishing nets; â¢ require placards, garbage management plans, and record books for all commercial, artisanal, and sport fishing charter vessels to the extent practicable, recognizing that some exceptions, perhaps by vessel size or gear type, will be necessary; and â¢ require additional practices that minimize the probability of loss and maximize the probability of recovery of fishing gear from the ocean, including (1) development of improved information systems and fisheries management measures that reduce conflicts between fishing gear and other user groups, (2) requirements for gear marking and identification systems, (3) documentation of position and reasons for gear loss, and (4) inclusion of degradable elements in synthetic gear to reduce the potential of entanglement and ghost fishing. Domestic Implementation of MARPOL Annex V for Derelict Fishing Gear To implement MARPOL and Annexes I and II, Congress enacted the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) (33 U.S.C. Â§ 1901 et seq.) in 1980, giving USCG regulatory power to carry out their provisions for U.S. flag vessels, and foreign vessels in U.S. waters and ports. When the United States then ratified MARPOL Annex V seven years later, Congress enacted the Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act of 1987 (MPPRCA) (33 U.S.C. Â§ 1901 et seq.) to provide for its implementation in U.S. waters and by U.S. vessels. MPPRCA amended APPS to require USCG to adopt regulations to implement MARPOL Annex Vâs ban on the disposal of synthetic fishing nets and other fishing-related plastic garbage and its requirement that vessels maintain refuse record books, garbage management plans, and post placards summarizing MARPOL Annex V (see Chapter 3). Notably, Congress put in provisions that would ultimately require USCG to apply the requirements of MARPOL Annex V to all ships calling at U.S. ports, regardless of their state of registry (i.e., their âflag stateâ). USCG promulgated final regulations to implement MPPRCA in 1990, and it later revised these regulations to incorporate IMOâs amendments to MARPOL Annex V (33 C.F.R. Â§Â§ 151.51â151.77). USCG regulations require that all manned oceangoing vessels 400 gross tons and larger, fixed and floating platforms, and every vessel certified to carry more than 15 pasÂ sengers engaged in international voyages keep records of their garbage discharges and disposal (including accidental) (33 C.F.R. Â§ 151.55) and that all vessels of 12.192 meters (40 feet) or more in length and fixed or floating
104 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY platforms have waste management plans (33 C.F.R. Â§ 151.57). In addition, the master of a ship is required to notify the port upon its approach of the estimated volume of garbage it has onboard and whether any of it requires special handling, which would presumably include a large fishing net that has outlived its usefulness. Tracking MARPOL Annex V Regulation 3, the U.S. regulations state that âno person on board any ship may discharge into the sea . . . plastic or garbage mixed with plastic, including, but not limited to, synthetic ropes, synthetic fishing nets, and plastic garbage bagsâ (33 C.F.R. Â§ 151.67). Like MARPOL Annex V, this prohibition is subject to an emergency exception for accidental fishing gear losses if all reasonable precautions have been taken. However, the regulations do not define what the standard is for these reasonable precautions, making the prohibition in Section 151.67 very difficult to enforce. This may explain why there is no evidence that USCG has taken any MARPOL Annex V enforcement actions against fishing vessels for their failure to prevent accidental losses of fishing gear (e.g., U.S. Coast Guard, 2007). The requirements imposed by the regulations thus constitute the minimum necessary to implement MARPOL Annex V. One explanation for the lack of detail regarding fishing vessels and waste fishing gear may lie in the narrow manner in which USCG interprets its regulatory p Â owers under MPPRCA. MPPRCA gives USCG broad regulatory powers to give effect to MARPOL Annex Vâs ban on disposal of plastic, including synthetic fishing gear, at sea (33 U.S.C. Â§ 1902â1903). However, USCG has eschewed adopting measures that would help to prevent the generation of DFG and has deferred consideration of measures like gear identification systems or programs to encourage recovery of lost or discarded fishing gear to other agencies. USCG expressed this interpretation when it adopted the final rules to implement MPPRCA in 1990. It stated that Congress had addressed the need to control the impact of driftnets on the marine environment in Title IV of MPPRCA and in the Driftnet Impact Monitoring, Assessment, and Control Act of 1987 (16 U.S.C. Â§ 1822 et seq.) (Box 4.2) and required the Secretary of Commerce, not USCG, to evaluate the need for systems of marking, registering, and identifying driftnets and for paying bounties â For example, in the preamble to the 1989 interim final rules, USCG described its authority in the following response to public comments: Two commenters requested USCG to initiate a fishing gear marking, registration and identification system and to develop a monetary bounty system to aid in the recovery of fishing gear. USCG has determined it does not have the authority to accomplish either of these under Title II of Pub. L. 100-220. As discussed above, however, USCG is actively considering what recordkeeping requirements would be appropriate for commercial fishing vessels to achieve the goals of Annex V. (54 Fed. Reg. 18384â18389 [April 28, 1989]).
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 105 BOX 4.2 The Driftnet Impact Monitoring, Assessment, and Control Act and Derelict Fishing Gear When the Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act was enacted in 1987, Congressâ main concern with respect to waste fishing gear was in connecÂ tion with the rapidly expanding large-scale driftnet fisheries on the high seas. The public law containing the Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act also included the Driftnet Impact Monitoring, Assessment, and Control Act, which called for agreements with high seas fishing nations to study the extent and impacts of driftnet fishing in the North Pacific on marine resources of the United States and to control the location, season, and other aspects of such fishing to prevent those impacts. If foreign nations failed to enter these agreements, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce was directed to certify that fact to the President, who would in turn conÂ sider imposing trade sanctions under the Pelly Amendment (22 U.S.C. Â§ 1978). Congress also directed the Secretary of Commerce to research the Âfeasibility âof a driftnet marking, registry, and identification system to provide a reliable Âmethod for the determination of the origin by vessel of lost, discarded, or abandoned driftnets and fragments of driftnetsâ (16 U.S.C. Â§ 1822 et seq.) and to evaluate the adequacy of existing identification systems used in foreign driftnet fisheries. The Secretary was also directed to develop recommendations that would require driftnets to be made of material that would more readily decompose if discarded or lost at sea, a driftnet bounty system, and a driftnet vessel tracking system, and to report all these things to Congress. The bounty system was âto pay persons who retrieve from the exclusive economic zone and deposit with the Secretary lost, abandoned, and discarded driftnet and other plastic fishing materialâ (16 U.S.C. Â§ 1822 et seq.). to fishing or merchant vessels that retrieve driftnets. It then concluded, â[n]either these evaluations nor any resultant legislative or regulatory action falls under the responsibility of the Coast Guardâ (55 Fed. Reg. 35986â35987 [September 4, 1990]). USCG appears by this response to read MPPRCA to authorize only NOAA to consider federal programs for other types of fishing gear, acting under the Driftnet Impact Monitoring, AssessÂ ment, and Control Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 2006 (MSFCMA) (16 U.S.C. Â§ 1801 et seq.), or some other fisheries legislation. Given these responses, it appears that USCG is unlikely to adopt additional DFG-related regulations without a direct congressional manÂ date and budget authorization, even though APPS as amended gives USCG broad rulemaking authority to implement items recommended in the Guidelines (International Maritime Organization, 2006b) for preventÂ ing DFG and to adopt measures to define ambiguous terms in MARPOL Annex V and APPS. However, the latest enactment on plastic pollution by Congressâthe Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction
106 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY Act of 2006âdoes not direct USCG to undertake a rulemaking to deterÂ mine, inter alia, which of the MARPOL Annex V Guidelines (International Maritime Organization, 2006b) would be appropriate and effective in reducing DFG generated by U.S. fishing vessels and fisheries in U.S. waters. Because the 2006 Act reestablishes the NOAA Marine Debris PreÂ vention and Removal Program and requires the NOAA Administrator to undertake marine debris identification, prevention, and removal efforts, USCG is likely to continue to defer to NOAA to adopt DFG prevention measures. However, Congress has made implementation of MARPOL Annex V in the United States the responsibility of the Secretary of the department in which USCG is operatingâthe Department of Homeland Securityâunder the terms of the Driftnet Impact Monitoring, AssessÂ ment, and Control Act. USCG also has responsibility to make sure U.S. ports and waterways are free of navigational hazards under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (33 U.S.C. Â§ 1221 et seq.). It is the duty of the Secretary of Commerce to ensure that fisheries are sustainable and to protect the marine environment from any adverse effects of fishing. Given these overlapping authorities, a program of joint rulemaking may be in order. ÂCongress may, however, need to require this expressly, as it did with respect to rerouting oil tanker traffic to protect national marine s Â anctuaries off the California coast, which led in turn to a successful proÂ posal to IMO for revised international ship routing measures (National Marine Sanctuaries Act of 1972, 16 U.S.C. Â§ 1431 et. seq.). Finding: Both USCG and NOAA have rulemaking authority to preÂ vent the generation of DFG under their respective legislative manÂ dates, yet neither has exercised that authority to require the adoption of measures to prevent the loss of fishing gear, to document the locaÂ tion of unpreventable losses of fishing gear, or to encourage proper disposal of waste fishing gear. Recommendation: Congress should direct USCG and NOAA to undertake a joint rulemaking to develop rules that require commerÂ cial and recreational fishing vessels to properly dispose of all waste fishing gear and to take specific precautions to prevent accidental loss of fishing gear. International Fisheries Agreements Prevention and reduction of DFG is clearly a part of sustainable and responsible fisheries management; therefore, international fisheries agreements play a role in preventing and reducing this type of marine debris. This includes commitments made by nations to manage fisheries
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 107 under Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), such as the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). These commitments could include measures to reduce the loss of fishing gear. In addition, many nations with high seas fishing fleets have treaty obligations under the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement of 1995 that require them to cooperate with other nations to ensure that fish stocks and other resources of the marine environment are not endangered by fishing. To give effect to their duty to cooperate, coastal states and states fishing on the high seas must, inter alia, âminimize pollution, waste, discards, catch by lost or abandoned gear, catch of non-target species, . . . and impacts on assoÂ ciated and dependent species, in particular endangered species, through measures including, to the extent practicable, the development and use of selective, environmentally safe, and cost-effective fishing gear and techÂ niquesâ (United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, Article 5). The member states of FAO have also adopted an international âCode of Conduct for Responsible Fisheriesâ (Food and Agriculture OrganizaÂ tion of the United Nations, 1995). The Code represents a commitment by nations to work through relevant organizations at national and internaÂ tional levels to ensure that vessels that fly their flags fish responsibly. The Codeâs overall commitment is that âthe harvesting, handling, processing, and distribution of fish and fishery products should be carried out in a manner which will . . . minimize negative impacts on the environmentâ (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1995). On the issue of DFG, the Code provides that states, RFMOs, and subregional bodies should adopt appropriate measures to minimize catch by lost or abandoned fishing gear and its impact on nontarget species, in particular endangered species (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1995). Also, fishing activities should be conducted with due regard to the IMO requirements relating to the protection of the marine environment and the loss of fishing gear (Food and Agriculture OrganizaÂ tion of the United Nations, 1995; Koehler et al., 2000). Unfortunately, despite the obligations of the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement of 1995 and the closely related FAO Code, few if any international fishery organizations have taken steps to prevent damage to the marine environment from DFG. The international fishery organizations are struggling even to meet their core legal obligations to adopt necessary conservation and management measures to prevent overÂexploitation and to allocate equitably the burdens of those measures among high seas fishÂ ing states and coastal states. With these difficulties, marine debris is at best a third-order priority. One exception is the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which has an active program to
108 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY combat marine debris, including debris from fishing activities such as large-scale trawl fisheries for krill and longline fishing for Patagonian toothfish. CCAMLR requires that all fishing and fishing research vessels have identifying marks on each item of fishing gear, post marine debris placards that include a symbol prohibiting fishing net disposal, carry observers, and distribute educational materials explaining the marine debris regulations in force. Monitoring marine debris and its impacts is a permanent agenda item of CCAMLR and its scientific committee. M Â embers submit yearly surveys of debris on beaches and in seabird colonies, of marine wildlife entanglements, and of hydrocarbon soiling of mammals and seabirds. The Secretariat maintains a marine debris database from 12 index sites on the Antarctic Peninsula and on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands. CCAMLRâs active interest in addressing the marine debrisâincluding DFGâproblem may be due in part to the designation of the waters south of 60Â°S latitude as a MARPOL Annex V special area in 1992. CCAMLR is also included in the Antarctic Treaty System. The treaty system has an environmental protocol and annex that includes measures to prevent marine pollution and tracks MARPOL provisions closely. Also, the manÂ date of CCAMLR includes the principle that harvesting activities must minimize the risk to the Antarctic marine ecosystem (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, Articles II and IX). In 2006, CCAMLR adopted a binding conservation measure prohibiting the use of plastic packaging bands on fishing vessels which do not have onboard incinerators and requiring the cutting of bands on those vessels that do. Box 4.3 summarizes CCAMLRâs measures to combat marine debris and DFG. BOX 4.3 Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources Legally Binding Measures to Reduce Marine Debris Conservation Measure 10-01: Marking of Fishing Gearâall fishing gear such as pots, marker buoys, floats, etc. must be marked with the vessel name, call sign and flag state Conservation Measure 25-01: Regulation of the Use and Disposal of Plastic PackÂ aging Bands on Fishing Vessels Conservation Measure 25-02: Minimization of the Incidental Mortality of Seabirds in the Course of Longline Fishing or Longline Research in the Convention Area SOURCE: Appleyard (2004).
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 109 There are many cost-effective and technically feasible measures that could be adopted by RFMOs that would reduce the accumulation of damÂ aging DFG. These include the following: â¢ binding conservation measures to prohibit discarding fishing gear, light sticks, plastic packaging and lines, and all other plastic mateÂ rials used onboard fishing vessels; â¢ requirements to carry a certified manifest of fishing gear onboard at the beginning of a trip to allow port states to inspect for comÂ pliance with MARPOL Annex V and refer violations for flag state enforcement; â¢ measures requiring vessels to mark individual pieces of fishing gear and to log and call in timely reports of accidental or willful discharges of fishing gear; â¢ solid waste management plans that specifically address waste fishÂ ing gear; â¢ observer reports of discharged fishing gear; â¢ bounty systems, deposits, or other incentives for the retrieval of DFG encountered at sea (including gear collected in trawl nets) for recycling and proper disposal; and â¢ rewards or regulatory priority given to fishing vessels that report and record waste fishing gear discharges that are successfully prosecuted. Some of these measures are new but many are detailed in the ÂMARPOL Annex V Guidelines (International Maritime Organization, 2006b; see Box 4.1). Another factor contributing to the amount of DFG is likely to be the rapidly growing phenomenon of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the worldâs oceans (Kock, 2001; Ilse Kiessling, personal commuÂ nication). To avoid seizure, vessels engaged in illegal high seas Âfisheries have been reported to cut their nets free and to flee from approachÂ ing enforcement vessels (e.g., drift gillnets; National Oceanic and AtmoÂ spheric Administration, 2008a). At the joint IMO/FAO ad hoc working group on illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing meeting in 2007, the coordinator of the IMO correspondence group requested advice from FAO and other United Nations agencies on measures that IMO could adopt for fishing vessels that would help to combat this problem. The corresponÂ dence group also noted the adoption of a memorandum of understandÂ ing between FAO and the United Nations Environment Programme to undertake a study on the issue of abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear, and that FAO agreed to develop standards for the marking of fishing gear and the location and retrieval of lost fishing gear through
110 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY technologies such as barÂcoding and transponders (International Maritime Organization, 2007). Comprehensive management of fishing gear use and disposal will be most effective if improvements to MARPOL Annex V are also accomÂ panied by parallel RFMO actions. As previously discussed, amendments to MARPOL Annex V that contain more detailed provisions on fishing gear would greatly assist the international and regional bodies that seek to manage fisheries and to protect the marine environment. If these interÂ national conventions adopted comparable DFG prevention measures, it would ensure implementation of these measures by additional fishing fleets that may not be signatories to each individual convention. For example, one of the major high seas fishing fleets is flagged by a political entityâTaiwanâthat is not eligible for membership in IMO. Taiwan is, however, a participating entity in several international fisheries organiÂ zations and would be bound to comply with measures adopted by those organizations related to waste fishing gear. (See Appendix D for a table of parties to MARPOL Annex V and various RFMOs.) U.S. Fisheries Management U.S. marine fisheries are managed under the authority of federal and state laws, as conditioned by treaties with sovereign tribes and foreign nations. In general, state authority extends 3 miles from shore; in Texas and on the west coast of Florida, state waters extend to 9 miles offshore. Multistate compacts coordinate state management of migratory stocks of fish and shellfish. While states have management autonomy within state waters, state management cannot impinge on management of fedÂ eral resources (Bader, 1998). In practice, this means that there is a need for coordination between state and federal fishery managers except in unusual circumstances where a resource only occurs in state waters or only in federal waters. Coordination is often accomplished by the passage of parallel management measures in federal and state waters or by deferÂ ence in one direction or the other. In the case of crab fisheries off Alaska, for example, the requirement for gear marking in the federal fishery derives from a requirement imposed in the state fishery and from federal deference to the state for management of the crab fisheries in state and federal waters. Because federal authority to enact treaties is superior to state authority, ratification of MARPOL Annex V compels states to ensure that their fishery management practices are consistent with MARPOL Annex V requirements. Just as it is legal for individuals to buy, use, and dispose of a very wide range of persistent synthetic products, it is also legal to participate in fisheries using gear and equipment that, by their nature, can become
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 111 potentially hazardous forms of marine debris. Ideally, these activities are conducted in a regulated environment to ensure that the intended usage and impacts are controlled in the interests of society. Under MSFCMA, NOAA adopted regulations that subject foreign fishing that takes place in U.S. waters to a series of conditions and requirements aimed at combating the DFG problem (50 C.F.R. Â§ 600.510(c)(1)â(3); Box 4.4). While the elimiÂ nation of foreign fishing within the U.S. EEZ (e.g., National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2007b) has rendered these measures moot, they provide a template for possible measures directed at the domestic fleet, which is not currently subject to measures that require minimizing the loss, maximizing the recovery of, or limiting the hazards presented BOX 4.4 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Measures to Combat Derelict Fishing Gear from Foreign Fisheries in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries SerÂ vice has adopted a set of federal regulations that apply to any and all foreign fisheries should they be authorized in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In addition to requiring foreign vessels to have permits, onboard observers, and recordkeeping and to facilitate enforcement, the regulations contain an express prohibition on the disposal or abandonment of fishing gear. Foreign fishing vessels are also required to report accidental loss or emergency jettisoning of gear to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). No similar blanket DFG regulation exists for domestic commercial and sport fishing vessels. NOAAâs regulations for gear avoidance and disposal outline the following paÂ rameters regarding the disposal of fishing gear and other items: (1) The operator of a [foreign fishing vessel] in the EEZ may not dump overÂ board, jettison, or otherwise discard any article or substance that may interfere with other fishing vessels or gear, or that may catch fish or cause damage to any marine resource, including marine mammals and birds, except in cases of emergency involving the safety of the ship or crew, or as specifically authorized by communication from the appropriate USCG Commander or other authorized officer. These articles and substances include, but are not limited to, fishing gear, net scraps, bale straps, plastic bags, oil drums, petroleum containers, oil, toxic chemicals, or any man-made items retrieved in a [foreign fishing vesselâs] gear. (2) The operator of a [foreign fishing vessel] may not abandon fishing gear in the EEZ. (3) If these articles or substances are encountered, or in the event of accidental or emergency placement into the EEZ, the vessel operator must immediately report the incident to the appropriate USCG Commander . . . (50 C.F.R. Â§ 600.510(c)(1)â(3)).
112 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY by gear lost in those fisheries. Although MSFCMA (16 U.S.C. Â§ 1801 Â§ 206 (b)(3)) identifies a need for reliable estimates of the numbers of seabirds, sea turtles, nontarget fish, and marine mammals entangled and killed in derelict large-scale driftnets (i.e., high seas drift gillnets), it does not conÂ tain any other provisions that directly address the minimization, disposal, or removal of DFG or to prevent harm to wildlife populations or damage to sensitive marine ecosystems caused by DFG. MSFCMA does, however, indirectly require regional fishery manageÂ ment councils (FMCs) to minimize DFG. National Standard 9 of the Act requires councils to devise conservation and management measures for fisheries within their region that âto the extent practicable, (A) minimize bycatch and (B) to the extent bycatch cannot be avoided, minimize the mortality of such bycatchâ (16 U.S.C. Â§ 1801 et seq.). Since ghost fishing by DFG can result in bycatch (Debra Lambert, personal communication), the councils could implement measures to ensure that DFG is minimized, including incentives for vessels to retrieve DFG encountered on the fishÂ ing grounds. The councils are also authorized to develop fishery regulaÂ tions that designate zones where fishing shall be limited, not permitted, or permitted only to specified types of fishing vessels or gear. These zones may be designated to prevent loss or damage to fishing gear from interacÂ tions with deep sea corals, for example (Debra Lambert, personal commuÂ nication). NOAA could also improve the understanding of gear loss and promote gear recovery through the use of observer reporting. Although many U.S. fisheries do not require onboard observers, some of the largest fisheries do. The primary purpose of these observers is to monitor and sample catches of target and incidental species and document interactions with marine mammals and other protected species; there is no requireÂ ment for observers to document gear loss at this time. However, this is something that observers could include in their recordkeeping, as long as this did not take priority over the observersâ primary responsibilities for monitoring catch and discards, and any observer documentation is done in addition to (not in lieu of) reports made by vessel operators. Information provided to the committee by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council, the New England Fishery Management Council, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and the Western Pacific Fishery ManageÂ ment Council indicate that regional FMCs have included provisions in their fishery management plans (FMPs) that have direct or incidental effects on the quantity of DFG generated and the likelihood that lost or abandoned fishing gear will ghost fish. These provisions generally center around four themes: reducing the amount of gear, minimizing gear loss, minimizing ghost fishing and other impacts of fishing traps, and marking gear.
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 113 Reducing the Amount of Gear One of the benefits often anticipated from the adoption of effort conÂ trol measures, vessel buyback plans, and limited access privilege proÂ grams is a reduction in the amount of gear lost or abandoned. This anticiÂ pated benefit is thought to arise from a reduction in the amount of gear deployedâless gear fished, less gear lost (National Research Council, 1999). Minimizing Gear Loss Another benefit of effort control measures is a reduction in the amount of gear abandoned or lost due to multiple units of gear being fished in overly close proximity during compressed seasons or during inclemÂ ent sea conditions encountered during short derby fishing openings (National Research Council, 1999). Measures that reduce conflicts among user groups (either between different fishing groups or between fisheries and other maritime sectors) generally reduce the frequency that stationary and mobile fishing gear become tangled and lost or abandoned. In addiÂ tion, FMCs indicate that the primary motivations for closing high-profile substrate areas (e.g., coral reefs, seamounts, deep sea coral beds)âas marine protected areas or as gear exclosuresâare to reduce the impact of gear on the substrate and to reduce gear losses. Similarly, management measures adopted to address the provisions of the Sustainable ÂFisheries Act (16 U.S.C. Â§ 1801 et seq.) for essential fish habitat and habitat of parÂ ticular concern have considered potential damage to living substrates and damage or loss of fishing gear. For example, the Caribbean Fishery Management Council has banned gillnets and trammel nets, in part out of concern that these gear types are prone to become entangled on reefs and that they are likely to damage living substrate during retrieval or to be abandoned as unrecoverable. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council established a requirement that crab pots fished in the eastern Aleutian Islands golden king crab fishery must be fished in connected strings of at least 10 pots. The purpose of this requirement was to reduce the loss of gear in an area with narrow ledges, steep bottom slopes, and strong currents. Minimizing the Impact of Lost Gear FMPs and conforming state and multistate fishery agency regulations for traps, cages, and pots in crab, lobster, and finfish fisheries generally require that traps include at least one escape panel that is secured with a cotton twine that will disintegrate within a few weeks or months, thereby reducing ghost fishing. However, as noted in Chapter 2, Stevens et al.
114 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY (2000) reported that one ghost pot equipped with rot cord off Kodiak was observed with 125 crabs, and Barnard (2008) determined that the mean failure rate for standard 30-thread cotton twine is 77â89 days; thus, even properly equipped traps could continue to ghost fish for an extend period. Galvanic releases might provide more consistent disintegration rates. Gear Marking There are two aspects of gear marking. Gear marking is used extenÂ sively in fisheries that employ static gear, primarily as a means of discourÂ aging theft of catches and gear, to encourage postseason recovery of gear, and as a mechanism for enforcing individual limits on the amount of gear that may be deployed. This aspect of gear marking is not controversial. The other aspect of gear marking is focused on tracing DFG back to parÂ ticular fisheries and fishing vessels; this aspect of gear marking is controÂ versial. Through the mid- to late 1980s, there was a vigorous debate over the liability of fishermen for the damages caused by DFG. The premise was that if one could identify the owner of a specific piece of derelict gear through forensic analysis, there would be the potential to punish or seek other remedy from the offending party. Under those circumstances, any number of corrective or preventative actions might be implemented by exploiting this legal leverage. While gear marking poses implementation challenges (Henderson and Steiner, 2000), it is feasible and could serve as an important tool for understanding the dynamics of the DFG problem in fisheries subject to marking requirements. Effective gear marking is critical for identification of the sources of DFG and the fisheries that may have deployed this gear. Better information on loss rates and fates and effects of lost gear in the context of a broad, âno faultâ DFG accountability and management regime will help focus technological innovation and recovery efforts on the highest priority sources. Any âno faultâ provision would, however, require that losses and their circumstances be reported in a timely manner. Data from gear marking programs can also be used to inform outreach programs designed to motivate the involved community to be more responsive to DFG issues and solutions. Clearly, while markÂ ing of fishing gear is a valuable tool for fishery management and enforceÂ ment, it is unlikely to be a suitable means for deriving actionable evidence linking individual fishermen and the impacts of their lost gear. Fisheries that adversely affect endangered marine species or their critical habitat are sometimes subject to regulations in addition to those implementÂ ing an FMP. Some of these additional rules, adopted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (16 U.S.C. Â§ 1531 et seq.), are aimed at reducing the direct impacts of fishing gear as it is being actively fished, such as the accidental trapping or entanglement of a sea turtle (National Research Council, 1990)
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 115 or at reducing the potential for localized competition between the fishery and the listed species (National Research Council, 2003). It is conceivable, however, that if the rate of gear loss or intentional discharge is high in a particular fishery, or if the accumulation of DFG in a critical habitat is parÂ ticularly severe, causing injury or death to listed Â species, federal or state authorities could be required to adopt measures, such as gear marking, aimed at reducing the incidence of DFG. For example, in Strahan v. Coxe (127 F.3d 155 [1st Cir. 1997]), it was found that the state fisheries agency had third-party liability for causing takes of endangered whales by licensing use of fixed fishing gear in the whale habitat. It is worth noting that regional FMCs, like the international fisheries organizations, may be reticent to adopt regulations that are perceived to increase costs or decrease catches or catch-per-unit effort. Nevertheless, such measures may be necessary and have been previously implemented to protect marine wildlife and the marine environment. NOAA would be within its authority to adopt generic fishery regulations requiring full life- cycle accountability for the deployment and retrieval of fishing gear out of concern for living marine resources or the marine environment. NOAA could do so under MSFCMA, ESA, or the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) (16 U.S.C. Â§ 1361 et seq.). Regulations under ESA and MMPA would be applicable to fisheries in state as well as federal waters and thus could have a broader effect than actions taken solely under authority of MSFCMA. Finding: MSFCMA does not highlight the need to reduce DFG or other marine debris nor does it contain a national standard to address DFG or other marine debris. Recommendation: Congress should add a national standard to M Â SFCMA that fishery conservation and management measures shall be designed to minimize the risk of gear loss. Finding: Although some FMPs currently include measures that may have a collateral benefit of reducing DFG, current FMPs do not include measures that specifically address DFG. Recommendation: NOAA should establish a timetable for review of all existing FMPs for opportunities to reduce fishing-related marine debris, including reducing gear, minimizing gear loss, and minimizÂ ing impacts of lost gear, and to improve gear marking and recovery. Measures that reduce the loss or abandonment of fishing gear and encourage the retrieval of DFG should be considered in all future FMPs, National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. Â§ 4321 et seq.)
116 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY documents, and ESA Section 7 consultations and biological opinions. NOAA should encourage adoption of these measures by fisheries management organizations at the regional, state, and international levels. NOAA should also expand the duties of observers to include documentation of gear loss. Finding: Prevention of DFG begins at the source, but identifying the source may be difficult because ocean currents can transport DFG a long distance from the site of loss or discard and can involve substanÂ tial time lags. Effective gear marking is critical for identification of the sources of DFG and the fisheries that may have deployed this gear. Recommendation: NOAA should convene a workshop to explore innovative and cost-effective approaches for identification or marking of trawls, seines, gillnets, longlines, and FADs to foster gear identificaÂ tion. Based on this information, NOAA should develop gear marking protocols that can be used in domestic and international fisheries to provide a structured basis for designing programs to reduce gear loss and abandonment and increase recovery of DFG. Finding: DFG has the potential to negatively impact endangered and protected species. For those fisheries that generate DFG that harms endangered and protected species, NOAA has the authority under ESA and MMPA to require fishing gear accountability measures. Recommendation: NOAA should â¢ determine which endangered and protected marine wildlife species or populations are at risk in part from DFG based on a review of all available information on fisheries interactions with these species; â¢ include information on injury and deaths due to DFG or other fishÂ ing-related marine debris in its marine mammal stock assessments and recovery plans and status reports for other threatened and endangered species; and â¢ use the provisions of ESA and MMPA to require adoption of gear accountability and other measures to minimize or remove DFG for fisheries that generate DFG that poses an entanglement threat to endangered and protected marine wildlife. Challenges with Gear Recovery and Disposal While there are many admirable examples of DFG recovery programs in the United States and beyond, there are many challenges to gear disÂ
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 117 posal and no clear responsibility for derelict gear recovery. Adequate and affordable disposal of fishing gear can be problematic as the gear is often very bulky and fishing vessels often operate in remote and less popuÂ lated areas with limited waste management capacity. Similarly, there are many regulatory and practical challenges with management of recovered derelict gear, not only in finding adequate disposal facilities but also because of legal hurdles that may discourage the recovery of gear from the environment. Responsibility for Gear Recovery Currently, recovery of DFG is undertaken by a variety of groups, particularly government agencies at various levels and nongovernmental organizations. However, these efforts are often in reaction to severe debris impacts, such as damage to sensitive coral ecosystems in the NWHI, or because of citizen awareness and support. Unlike some other marine polÂ lution problems such as oil spills, there is no organized effort to assign roles and responsibilities for derelict gear recovery or cleanup. Under a âpolluter paysâ principle, fishery participants and the associated fishery management community should collectively take responsibility for the full spectrum of their impacts on the environment, including the fate of lost gear. Currently, however, any responsibility toward fishing gear seems to disappear the moment it becomes derelict. A key difference between the loss of gear and most other marine polÂ lution incidents is that âaccidental lossâ of fishing gear may be excusable and therefore no explicit infraction has occurred. In that sense, there is no fault and no individual âpolluterâ to pay for derelict gear recovery. HowÂ ever, the absence of a prosecutable infraction (except in extreme cases) could allow the entire community, rather than a culpable individual, to take responsibility and work toward solutions. Under this âno faultâ approach, gear recovery programs that fit specific fishery and environÂ mental circumstances can be developed. Box 4.5 describes a successful case of a gear retrieval program in Puget Sound that engages the responÂ sible parties, both the fishermen and managers, in a âno faultâ program. The Northwest Straits Commissionâs program could serve as a useful model for other fisheries communities facing gear removal. Finding: Fishing is inherently hazardous and, of a necessity, entails some risk of gear loss despite all reasonable precautions. Because it is difficult for enforcement agencies to clearly differentiate between willful, preventable, and unpreventable gear losses, enforcement of a strict liability for gear losses would be problematic and could lead fishermen to underreport losses or obscure the location of gear losses.
118 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY BOX 4.5 Recovery of Derelict Fishing Gear in Puget Sound In the state of Washington, the Northwest Straits Commission organized a âno faultâ reporting program to facilitate the location, removal, and return or disposal of lost Dungeness crab pots and salmon gillnets in Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca (Northwest Straits Commission, 2008). With grant support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the state, and private sources, a publicly reviewed protocol for gear removal, return, and disposal was developed. Among other considerations, the protocol addresses the âno faultâ policy, liability, safety, habitat damage issues associated with gear recovery, disposal methods and costs, data collection, and a detailed guide for the removal processes. The âno faultâ aspect of this program is that fishermen and the general public are e Â ncouraged to report the location of derelict fishing gear without being held liable for recovery and disposal costs. Regardless of whether an infraction has occurred, current regulations do not include accountability measures for gear loss and fishermen and fisheries management organizations have few incentives and several disincentives to take responsibility for the impacts and for cleanup. Recommendation: Fishery management organizations, if they adopt gear loss reporting and other accountability measures, should adopt a âno faultâ policy regarding the documentation and recovery of lost fishing gear. Under this policy, local fishermen, state officials, and the public should work together to develop cost-effective DFG removal and disposal programs. These programs could be subsidized through user fees; a tax or deposit on trap tags, permits, or gear; public and private grants; or mitigation banking. Fishermen participating in removal efforts could receive financial credit, or at least be exempted from landfill tipping fees. Adequate Reception Facilities for Fishing Gear There are unique challenges to the proper disposal of fishing gearâ both nonoperational waste gear and recovered DFGâassociated with the lack of reception facilities for this gear once it is brought to shore. Unlike other waste streams, fishing gear is often very bulky and may require speÂ cial handling and a lot of landfill space. Conversely, fishing ports are often small operations in remote areas, which can lead to high costs and limited options for solid waste management. When fishermen are required to pay full disposal costs for used fishing gear, used gear tends to accumulate in storage yards and they are discouraged from retrieving DFG. In some
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 119 remote fishing ports, including Unalaska (Dutch Harbor), Alaskaâthe highest volume fishing port in the United Statesâlandfill capacity is so constraining that disposal of trawl web costs $106 per ton if cut and bound into 1 cubic yd bundles and $106 per ton plus $500 per cubic yd if not cut and bound (City of Unalaska, 2008). While landfilling is often the least expensive and most feasible option for fishing gear disposal, there are several alternative technologies that are currently being pursued or have promise for future operations, including recycling, combustion with energy recovery, gasification, pyrolosis, and plasma arc systems (see Appendix E). There are a few ports that have already adopted alternative waste management strategies for fishing gear. For example, the Port of Honolulu maintains bins for free disposal of used fishing gear, including recovered derelict gear. Schnitzer Steel Hawaii provides hauling and preÂ processing of the used gear, the state of Hawaii waives disposal fees, and Honolulu Power combusts the preprocessed wastes in an energy recovery facility (Rene Mansho, personal communication; Rodney Smith, personal communication; Howard Wiig, personal communication). The feasibility of alternative fishing gear waste management options will depend on such conditions as reliability of the fishing gear and other waste streams, waste transportation costs, and difficulty in siting and perÂ mitting new facilities. It was beyond the scope of this study to analyze the potential of each of these technologies for various ports, but a summary of these various management options is provided in Appendix E. Finding: Remote ports often have difficulty providing adequate port reception facilities for used fishing gear and recovered DFG. Recommendation: The actual ability to receive used fishing gear and DFG should be incorporated into minimum standards in the assessÂ ment criteria for USCG certificates of adequacy for port reception facilities. Recommendation: The Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with the fishing industry, ports, and fishery managers, should help fishing communiÂ ties explore alternative strategies and technologies for management, disposal, and recycling of used and recovered DFG. Finding: Disposal costs discourage proper disposal of used fishing gear and can also be a disincentive to DFG retrieval. Recommendation: The Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee and the NOAA Marine Debris Program should consider
120 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY expanding the marine debris cleanup grants program to help offset the disposal costs for recovered DFG. Consideration should be given to dropping the 50 percent match requirement for DFG recovery and disposal programs, particularly for small remote communities. Legal Recovery of Derelict Gear There is a great deal of interest and ongoing effort by government agencies, fishing industry groups, conservation organizations, and Âothers to retrieve and remove derelict gear from the environment. While in-the- water removal of DFG can be dangerous and requires significant attenÂ tion to safety, other legal and financial challenges can pose even greater challenges and, in some cases, significantly hamper the ability to remove this gear. First, there are often legal restrictions that prevent some vessels, including fishing vessels that would like to voluntarily participate in gear retrieval programs, from carrying DFG. For example, some nations, including the United States, have enacted laws (e.g., 46 U.S.C. Â§ 2101(13), 46 U.S.C. Â§ 3301(1)) which could prevent the retrieval of DFG under a compensatory scheme (even arguably payment of extra fuel costs incurred in the retrieval and transport to shore operation) as such an action could legally change the character of the vessel to one carrying âfreight for hire,â which then triggers other legal provisions including national inspection requirements and possibly cabotage laws. Similarly, the New England Fishery Management Council noted that fishing vessel operators could be in violation of their fishing permits if the derelict gear that they recover and transport is not a gear type for which they hold a license endorseÂ ment. In practice, fishing vessels that have recovered such gear have been able to call USCG for authorization to transport it to port for disposal. Also, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council noted that removing DFG from habitat used by listed resources, such as Steller sea lions, could require a âtakeâ permit. Second, in many areas, static gear (particularly pots and traps) has an ownership component that enjoins tampering with or handling gear that belongs to others, even if that gear appears to be lost or abandoned. These prohibitions are intended to prevent theft of the gear or theft of its contents. For example, in Florida a fishing trap is considered personal property and cannot be removed by anyone except the owner or a licensed enforcement officer. In many states, development of a derelict trap removal program would require revision of statutes and Âregulationsâa process that is often difficult and lengthy. In some states, this problem has been resolved by â Cabotage refers to trade or transport within coastal waters.
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 121 declaring that traps left in the water during closed seasons are trash that can be salvaged or removed by fishermen, government officials, or the general public. An additional impediment to the recovery of DFG is that, as soon as it has been removed from the environment, it becomes the possession of whoever removed it. The possessor is then liable for proper disposal. Because very few ports have free disposal services for used fishing gear or for recovered DFG, individuals and organizations that recover or transÂ port lost or abandoned fishing gear may be liable for disposal costs which could be substantial (see previous discussion). Finding: Some legal frameworks discourage or prevent the retrieval of DFG. In the United States, recovery of DFG may be inhibited by prohibitions against tampering with abandoned gear, the applicaÂ tion of cabotage laws and burdensome certification requirements for vessels that transport DFG, and fishery regulations that prohibit vesÂ sels from carrying gear that is not a gear type permitted under their license endorsement. Recommendation: USCG should work with other federal agencies, state officials, fishermen, and the public to revise regulations that inhibit the removal of DFG. FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES The growing use of a specific type of fishing gearâFADsâin pelagic purse seine fisheries raises questions about its potential impacts on both target and nontarget populations, as well as its potential to become marine debris. FADs, their use in fishing operations, and their potential impacts are defined and described below, focusing on FADs as marine debris. The legal status of and management options for FADs are also discussed. What Are Fish Aggregating Devices? For thousands of years, fishermen have exploited the tendency of fish to school beneath floating objects. These objects can be natural floatÂ ing flotsam, such as logs and branches, dead marine organisms, and aquatic vegetation. They can also be man-made FADs, constructed from scrap lumber, rope, and discarded fishing gear; therefore, the cost of conÂ struction and the overall value is minimal. Man-made FADs are used in s Â hallow coastal waters (depth 50â200 m) by artisanal fishermen to catch small pelagic fish (e.g., Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia) and are also used heavily in offshore industrial purse seine fleets to catch large pelagic
122 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY fish, mainly tuna (Box 4.6 describes the use of drifting FADs by the U.S. purse seine fleet). FADs may be anchored to the seafloor or allowed to drift (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2008c). This discussion will focus on man-made drifting FADs as they are typiÂ cally constructed of bamboo with panels of synthetic webbing, plastic floats, synthetic ropes, and often include plastic sheeting. Moreover, man- made drifting FADs have the greatest potential to be lost or abandoned and become marine debris. Figure 4.1 illustrates the design of a typical drifting FAD. Drifting FADs are usually deployed at or near the surface, but some are designed to fish in midwater with a small marker buoy on the surÂ face. A growing number of drifting FADs are equipped with autonomous sonar buoys that can report GPS position, current speed, sea surface temÂ perature, and sonar images of associated fish to catcher vessels, which BOX 4.6 Use of Drifting Fish Aggregating Devices by U.S. Fishing Vessels in the Western Pacific The United States licenses a number of U.S. flag purse seine fishing vessels that use drifting fish aggregating devices (FADs) in the western Pacific to catch tuna. This fleet moved to the western Pacific from its traditional fishing grounds in the eastern tropical Pacific in the 1980s (Gillett et al., 2002). These vessels homeÂ port in American Samoa, a U.S. territory, and many deliver their catches to tuna canneries located there. The U.S. purse seine vessels fish in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of 16 Pacific island nations under the South Pacific Tuna Treaty between the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency and the United States. The fleet also operates within the U.S. EEZ around U.S. territories and island posÂ sessions in the western Pacific. In recent years, approximately 12â15 new super seiners have joined the fleet, under a joint venture with Taiwan and a waiver of the Jones Act (46 U.S.C. App. Â§ 688) (David Itano, personal communication). In 2008, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a notice of a possible control date after which new entrants to the purse seine fishery are not guaranteed a fishing license (73 Fed. Reg. 16619â16620 [March 28, 2008]). These vessels are subject to regulation under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the South Pacific Tuna Act (16 U.S.C. Â§ 973 et seq.), the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (P.L. 109-479), and the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act (16 U.S.C. Â§ 5501 et seq.), as well as to the licensing authority of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency. U.S. regulations for this fishery are codified at 50 C.F.R. Part 300. These regulations define deploying and recovering FADs or associated electronic equipÂ ment as âfishingâ and require vessel and gear identification marking. They do not currently require vessels to have a FAD management plan as a condition of their licenses. Issuance of these licenses, however, is subject to review and consultation under the Endangered Species Act (Turtle Island Restoration Network v. NMFS, 340 F.3d 969 [9th Cir. 2003]).
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 123 A B FIGURE 4.1â (a) Graphical representation of a typical drifting FAD (Itano et al., 2004; reprinted with permission from the Oceanic Fisheries Programme). (b) View of a drifting FAD from the surface (reprinted with permission from David Itano).
124 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY may be located thousands of miles away, to determine when FADs are ready for fishing (Itano, 2007a, b). Deep-water tuna vessels will set many drifting FADs at once, generally at 5- to 10-nautical-mile intervals. These FADs can be moved from one location to another in order to capitalize on the seasonal movement of target species. FADs can also be removed from the water during closed seasons, when the fish are not in the area, or during periods of bad weather. Because it may take two to five weeks for a new FAD to attract large fish, fishermen will âseedâ FADs upcurrent of productive waters and leave them to âseasonâ between trips. Once a FAD is seeded, it can be fished every day for several days or every 10â30 days, depending on the productivity of the waters (Itano, 2007a, b; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2008c; MartÃn Hall, personal communication). Sets on FADs begin approximately two hours before first light. A small auxiliary craft ties up to the FAD to slowly maneuver the object during the set, assess school density and depth, and deploy underwater bait attraction lights (if used) (Itano, 2007a, b). The purse seine vessel uses information from sonar, Doppler current meter, and sea state to position the vessel in the optimal orientation to the floatÂ ing object to begin the set and slowly encircles the school of tuna with a purse seine (Itano, 2007a, b). After the set, the FAD may be removed from the water for maintenance or reseeding in another location. While FADs are valued and are claimed by specific vessels, ownership can be diffiÂ cult to assess, and FADs are often lost through vandalism, theft, drifting beyond the preferred fishing area, and storms (Itano, 2007a; MartÃn Hall, personal communication; Dick Stevenson, personal communication). Fish Aggregating Devices as Marine Debris The above description of how FADs are used illustrates some of the ambiguities that arise in considering their transformation into DFG. FADs come in many different constructions, mostly of old fishing gear and waste material. It may be unclear to outside observers which fishing vessel owns which particular FAD; vessels may set on seasoned FADs seeded by others, and FADs can be expropriated by switching radio and satellite buoys. In addition, several vessels working together, whether through formal or informal agreements, may share radio- or satellite-buoy codes, thereby sharing FADs (Dick Stephenson, personal communication). Regardless, as argued in Box 4.7, FADs are a plastic-containing fishing gear and failure of a deploying vessel or cooperative fleet to retrieve a FAD it has set into the ocean, barring exception for accidental loss if all reasonable precautions were taken, is an intentional disposal of synthetic fishing gear and is in violation of MARPOL Annex V and implementing regulations.
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 125 BOX 4.7 When Are Fish Aggregating Devices Marine Debris? Section 1.7.11 of the Guidelines for the Implementation of Annex V of MARPOL defines âfishing gearâ as âany physical device or part thereof or combination of items that may be placed on or in the water with the intended purpose of capturing, or controlling for subsequent capture, living marine or freshwater organismsâ (InterÂ national Maritime Organization, 2006b). Fish aggregating devices (FADs) meet this definition of fishing gear. Under MARPOL Annex V, unless they are composed entirely of natural materials, FADs also fall under the category of synthetic fishing gear. âWastesâ is defined in the Guidelines as âuseless, unneeded, or superfluous matter which is to be discardedâ (International Maritime Organization, 2006b). When a fishing captain makes a decision not to retrieve a FAD or cuts the radio or satellite beacon from it, the FAD has become waste fishing gear; leaving it in the sea at that point constitutes disposal. Some might argue that because the FAD is still aggregating, it is still fishing and is not waste and has not been disposed of. But fishing vessels do not leave fishing gear in the water to continue to fish for other unspecified vessels. The better interpretation is that, when the FAD is no longer aggregating fish on behalf of the vessel that deployed it (or other vessels that are part of its company or fishing association) and the captain decides not to retrieve the FAD, it is waste fishing gear that has been intentionally, not accidentally, abandoned in the sea, thus constituting a disposal. Finding: There has been confusion over the legal status of FADs in relation to marine debris. However, under MARPOL and Annex V definitions, FADs become DFG when the captain of the vessel that last deployed the FAD decides not to retrieve it. This constitutes an illegal disposal under MARPOL Annex V and APPS if the FAD includes synthetic ropes, webbing, or other plastics. Transfers of FADs to other vessels, by agreement or appropriation, complicates attributing the discharge to a particular vessel. Recommendation: NOAA should modify the federal regulations for U.S. tuna purse seine vessels to clarify the circumstances under which FADs become illegal discharges. Within international legal frameworks, the United States should encourage IMO and RFMOs to provide similarly explicit definitions of âaccidental lossesâ and âreaÂ sonable precautionsâ to clarify the circumstances under which FADs constitute illegal discharges of marine debris. Recommendation: RFMOs should devise regulations to exert greater control on the use, deployment, and retrieval of FADs to reduce the potential for FADs to become DFG. RFMOs should hold fishing fleets, nations, or the collection of all RFMO-licensed vessels responsible
126 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY for retrieving all deployed FADs and should apply accountability measures such as loss of fishing privileges in RFMO waters. In turn, nations could potentially require retrieval of FADs by the vessel or fleet. In the United States, USCG should amend regulations impleÂ menting APPS to meet the intent of MARPOL Annex V and ensure that vessels fishing within U.S. waters and U.S. vessels fishing anyÂ where are held accountable to these standards. Regional Fisheries Management Organizations Within the past decade, there has been an increasing concern that derelict or lost FADs are contributing to the marine debris problem and some evidence exists to support this claim (Donohue, 2005). The ability to infer the extent to which derelict FADs are contributing to the marine debris problem is hampered by a lack of information on FAD use and their contribution as components of the DFG stream. It is clear that many more FADs are deployed each year than are retrieved by vessels and, therefore, at-sea circulating FAD numbers may be increasing (MartÃn Hall, personal communication; Dick Stephenson, personal communicaÂ tion). Consequently, fishery resource managers and scientists recognize that considerable data on FAD use and retrieval are needed, not only to b Â etter understand their role as sources of DFG but also to understand their impact on managed fisheries. To evaluate the contribution of FADs to the marine debris problem, the committee sought information about the number of FADs deployed and lost, thereby assessing the possible source stream of derelict FADs. Evidence shows that the use of FADs has significantly increased in pelagic fisheries and FADs are now widely distributed in tropical and subÂtropical waters globally, contributing to more than half of the worldwide tuna catch (Hallier and Gaertner, 2008). The use of FADs is particularly prevaÂ lent in the Indian Ocean (Itano, 2007b). It is estimated that there may be tens of thousands of FADs deployed throughout the oceans of the world (Dick Stephenson, personal communication). Similarly, an assessment of existing regulations is helpful in underÂ standing concerns about FADs that have led to FAD management. As most FAD fisheries occur on the high seas, it is reasonable to expect management of FADs to take place within RFMOs; however, there are currently very few international controls on FADs. In most international fisheries, FADs are deployed without any regulations on the number deployed, where they are deployed, identification markings, reporting of how often they are set on, whether they are retrieved, or reporting of the number lost and the circumstances of their loss or abandonment. While there is still little documentation on FAD use and minimal regulation, the
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 127 available information is summarized below for the four RFMOs known to have large-scale FAD use. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission The IATTC database provides the most detailed information on FAD fishing of any regional fishery management organization. The tuna purse seine fleet fishing in the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP), managed by IATTC, has grown from 125 vessels in 1961 to 225 in 2006; the majority of the vessels are large (greater than 363 metric tons capacity) (Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, 2007a). Fishing on FADs or floating objects is one of three ways to capture tuna in ETP (the others involve encircleÂ ment of free-swimming schools and schools associated with dolphins) (Figure 4.2a). While natural flotsam (i.e., things found floating as opposed to things deployed with a purpose) is still opportunistically used as a FAD when encountered, ETP fishermen almost exclusively fish on man-made drifting FADs. FADs have been widely used in the ETP purse seine fishery for almost 15 years, and their relative importance has increased during this period, while that of flotsam has decreased, as shown by the data in Figure 4.2b. In the ETP tuna purse seine fishery, vessels generally deploy 50â75, but in some cases up to 330, FADs annually (Altamirano et al., 2004; MartÃn Hall, personal communication); in 2006, the entire IATTC fleet deployed 8,188 FADs, and 8,721 FADs were deployed in 2007 (MartÃn Hall, personal communication). Figure 4.2 shows that the number of sets on FADs has been increasing since 1992, suggesting an increasing reliance on FADs in the fishery. ETP FADs are generally equipped with a satellite buoy or radio b Â eacons. For the most part, as long as the satellite buoy is still functional and the FAD can be relocated and retrieved at a profit, fishermen will return to a FAD both to fish and to retrieve equipment (Dick ÂStephenson, personal communication). The extent to which FADs are removed from the water during fishing closures or the end of the fishing season is undocuÂmented. Information on the number of FADs retrieved by ETP vessels each year is very limited. For 2006, 6,163 FADs were retrieved out of 8,188 deployed, and for 2007, 7,769 FADs were retrieved out of 8,721 deployed (MartÃn Hall, personal communication). Of the 2,025 and 925 deficit for 2006 and 2007, respectively, many FADs are probably still deployed fishing, while others may have been âappropriatedâ by other vessels and are still being used; the remainder have been abandoned and, to the extent that they were constructed of synthetic rope webbing and plastics, the failure to retrieve them constitutes a discharge in violaÂ tion of MARPOL Annex V. Anecdotal evidence, provided by an experiÂ
128 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY A B FIGURE 4.2â (a) Estimated number of sets on FADs, by type, made by Class 6 purse seine vessels (capacity greater than 343 metric tons) in the eastern Pacific Ocean (reprinted with permission from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna ComÂ mission). (b) Estimated number of sets on floating objects, by type of object, e Â ncountered by the purse seine fleet in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Flotsam are objects found floating whereas FADs are intentionally deployed objects (reprinted with permission from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission).
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 129 enced captain, suggests that the appropriation rateâeither removal of the entire FAD or the satellite or radio beaconâmay be substantial (Dick S Â tephenson, personal communication). Researchers at IATTC have proposed to give each FAD a unique code that could be recorded by observers and could be very useful for a variety of scientific purposes, ranging from the stock assessment of target and nontarget species to the drift of the FADs. While IATTC does not have any specific regulation on FAD usage, the Antigua Convention of IATTC (Article VII, 1(g) and (k)) contains language specific to reducing bycatch and developing environmentally safe fishing gear, which could be appliÂ cable to FADs: (g) adopt appropriate measures to avoid; reduce; and minimize waste, discards, catch by lost or discarded gear, catch of non-target species (both fish and non-fish species), and impacts on associated or depenÂ dent Âspecies, in particular endangered species; . . . (k) promote, to the extent practicable, the development and use of s Â elective, environmentally safe and cost-effective fishing gear and techniques and such other related activities, including activities conÂ nected with, inter alia, transfer of technology and training; . . . (Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, 2003). Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission The tuna fishery in the western and central Pacific Ocean, managed by WCPFC, is diverse, ranging from small-scale artisanal operations in the coastal waters of Pacific states to large-scale industrial operations in both the EEZs of Pacific states and on the high seas (Figure 4.3). Over the past five years, the trend in total tuna caught has been increasing, primarily due to increases in purse seine fishery catches. During 2006, the purse seine fishery in the western and central Pacific Ocean accounted for an estimated 1.5 million metric tons (72 percent of the total catchâonly 12,000 metric tons less than the record catch of 2005) (Williams and Reid, 2006). There are about 225 purse seine vessels fishing in the western and central Pacific Ocean; however, this estimate does not include Indonesian and Filipino domestic purse seine/ringnet fleets which together account for over 1,000 vessels (Williams and Reid, 2006). Sets on floating objects (logs and FADs) accounted for about 51 percent of all reported WCPFC sets during 2006 (Williams and Reid, 2006; David Itano, personal comÂ munication). Of the associated set types, log sets have been favored over drifting FAD sets by most purse seine fleets in recent years, with the exception being the U.S. fleet, which continues to operate in more eastern (and southern) areas of the western and central Pacific Ocean concentratÂ
130 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY FIGURE 4.3â The western and central Pacific Ocean, the eastern Pacific Ocean, and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Convention Area (reprinted with permission from the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission). ing on drifting FAD sets (69 percent in 2006 according to available logÂ sheet data) (Williams and Reid, 2006). Overall, information on how many FADs are deployed and the rate of FAD loss, appropriation, and recovery is unknown for the WCPFC fleet. While WCPFC does not have any regulations specific to the use of FADs, the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean contains language that specifically requires measures to minimize âcatch by lost or abandoned gearâ and could also be applied to derelict FADs: adopt measures to minimize waste; discards; catch by lost or abanÂ doned gear; pollution originating from fishing vessels; catch of non- t Â arget species, both fish and non-fish species;â¦and impacts on associated or dependent species, in particular endangered species and promote the development and use of selective, environmentally safe, and cost- e Â ffective fishing gear and techniques (Article 5(e)).
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 131 International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas A study published by MÃ©nard et al. (2000) estimates that the total number of FADs with radio or satellite buoys used by the 45 purse seiners landing in Abidjan (CÃ´te dâIvoire) in 1998 might exceed 3,000. The FAD seeding area ranges from 0 to 20Â°W and generally does not exceed 2Â°S as a southern limit, corresponding to the westward South Equatorial Current (MÃ©nard et al., 2000). Within the International Commission for the ConÂ servation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), information is completely lacking on the number of FADs deployed, the number of sets on any given FAD, and the number of FADs retrieved, lost, or appropriated each year. Within ICCAT, control of FADs rests with two provisions. First, ICCAT requires that all fishing vessels and fishing gear have identifiable markings in accordance with generally accepted standards (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, 2003). The second is a moratorium on FAD fishing in given areas, which was intended to reduce fishing mortality on bigeye tuna, particularly juvenile bigeye, but may have a collateral benefit in reducing the number of FADs (and therefore the number that could become debris). The âAgreement of the CommuÂ nity Producers of Frozen Tuna for the Protection of Tunas in the Atlantic Oceanâ established a voluntary regulation prohibiting anchoring or fishÂ ing under floating objects in a wide area of the Atlantic Ocean, between the African coast and 20Â°W and 5Â°N and 4Â°S, from November 1997 to January 1998. The agreement was continued during the same months of 1998 and 1999 (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, 2001). In 2004, the Commission adopted a substitute timeâarea closure, which entered into force in mid-2005 (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, 2004). This measure closes fishing by purse seiners and bait boats during the month of November inside the âPiccoloâ area, a small subregion (less than 25 percent) of the original moratorium area. The Piccolo area is defined as 10Â°â20Â°W and 0Â°â5Â°N (Figure 4.4). Indian Ocean Tuna Commission Since the 1990s, FAD usage by European Union purse seine fleets has increased significantly in the Indian Ocean (MorÃ³n et al., 2001), particuÂ larly in the Somalia gyre and around the Seychelles plateau, where FADs are the dominant fishing mode (Itano, 2007b). Here, drifting FADs lack surface rafts or floatation, aside from some purse seine corks and the radio or satellite buoy, and are instead carefully ballasted plastic oil drums suspended below the surface with nylon netÂ ting hanging beneath the drums. This style of FAD is popular as it reduces
132 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY FIGURE 4.4â Area of the current FAD moratorium (hatched area) and the proÂ posed timeâarea closure (i.e., âPiccoloâ) (International Commission for the ConÂ servation of Atlantic Tunas, 2001; reprinted with permission from the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas). the surface visibility of the FAD and therefore its rate of appropriation by other vessels. The Spanish purse seine fleet operating in the western Indian Ocean is assisted by supply (or tender) vessels; these vessels, in addition to other duties, may search for FADs and logs, build or repair FADs, assess tuna abundance on other floating objects it encounters, and appropriate proÂ ductive FADs belonging to other vessels (Arrizabalaga et al., 2001). Tender vessels clearly improve the ability of fishing associations to utilize FADs. Consequently, the added efficiency has led to the banning of their use in the Pacific and the Atlantic tuna fisheries; therefore, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) is the only fleet with tender vessels that service FADs (Itano, 2007a). Skipper surveys from French and Spanish purse seine vessels operatÂ ing in the western Indian Ocean estimated the total number of actively monitored FADs at approximately 2,100 at any given time (Moreno et al., 2007). IOTC views this number as a highly dynamic estimate, as FADs can sink or be appropriated by other purse seiners and have a lifetime between a few days to several months. In order for IOTC to better underÂ
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 133 stand the fishing effort within the Indian Ocean, more information is needed on the activities of supply vessels and the use of FADs. Therefore, IOTC is now requesting that its members provide â¢ the number and characteristics of supply vessels operating under or assisting purse seine vessels operating under each nationâs flag, or licensed to operate in a nationâs exclusive economic zones; â¢ the level of activity of supply vessels, including number of days at sea by 1Â° grid area and on a monthly basis; and â¢ data on the total number and type of FADs operated by a nationâs fleet by 5Â° grid area and on a monthly basis (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, 2007). Despite this requirement, within the IOTC fleet, information is comÂ pletely lacking on the number of FADs deployed or carried by each vessel; the number of sets on any given FAD; and the number of FADs retrieved, appropriated, or lost each year. Given the information collected on FAD use in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, it is clear that FADs could contribute a substantial amount of marine debris. However, much more information is needed to fully understand the extent of this problem. Other Impacts While the committeeâs charge was to evaluate the role of drifting FADs in the generation of marine debris, the concern over FADs is priÂ marily focused on their ecological impact, both on target fisheries species and on pelagic species overall. These broader concerns do not go away after FADs have been lost or otherwise abandonedâFADs as DFG can be expected to exercise an ecological impact on target and nontarget species and on benthic and littoral ecosystems when they sink or wash ashore. Therefore, it is useful to briefly discuss these other impacts of FADs. The widespread use of FADs has shifted the pattern of fishery exploitation of tunas over the past 20 years. In the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, approximately 75 percent of skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), 35 percent of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and 85 percent of bigeye tuna (T. obesus) catches reported by purse seine fisheries are made in the v Â icinity of FADs (Fonteneau et al., 2000). In all oceans, the majority of yellowfin and bigeye tuna caught in association with FADs are juveniles. Therefore, fishing on FADs may alter the age structure of some pelagic tuna populations by removing juveniles over mature adults (Gates and Gysel, 1978; Fonteneau et al., 2000; Schlaepfer et al., 2002; Hallier and Gaertner, 2008).
134 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY Some scientists are concerned that FADs may function as an ecoÂ logical trap: a situation where population growth is reduced as a result of individuals choosing a maladaptive habitat (Gates and Gysel, 1978; Schlaepfer et al., 2002). It is hypothesized that this situation could arise if individuals are misled by environmental cues that lead them to settle in habitats that are substandard for reproduction and survival (Battin, 2004; Robertson and Hutto, 2006). Association with FADs may alter the natural movements of fractions of tuna stocks and thereby artificially increase the natural mortality rate or reduce the intrinsic growth rate, reducing the productivity of tuna populations (Hallier and Gaertner, 2008). For example, studies in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans indicate that tuna associated with drifting FADs were less healthy, have slower growth rates, and are in poorer condition than those in free schools (Hallier and Gaertner, 2008). Also, tuna associated with FADs have significant changes ÂÂ in migratory direction and displacement rates relative to tuna in free schools (Hallier and Gaertner, 2008). Studies in recent years, especially within the ETP tuna fishery, indiÂ cate that FAD fishing bycatch (i.e., discards of small tuna and nontarget species) can be up to 50 percent of the total catch (Inter-American ÂTropical Tuna Commission, 2007b). One study reported that almost 20 percent of the tuna caught under FADs are discarded because they are below the market minimum requirement for size or condition (Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, 2007b). Bycatch of small tuna and other speÂ cies contributes to discarded, unreported, or underreported catch and may represent a significant source of undocumented fishing mortality. In addition to undersized tuna, FAD-associated bycatch includes large pelagic fishes (e.g., mahi-mahi, rainbow runner, yellowtail) and underÂ sized billfishes (Fam. Istiophoridae), anchovies (Fam. Engraulidae), herÂ rings and sardines (Fam. Clupeidae), and grunts (Fam. Haemulidae). Entanglement of sea turtles in drifting FADs has been noted as an area of special concern by scientists and the purse seine industry (Delgado de Molina et al., 2006). Likewise, the bycatch of several species of sharks in association with FADs is an increasing concern due to declines in their populations (Hall, 1994). Improving the Understanding and Management of Fish Aggregating Devices To date, very little is known about the total number of FADs in the worldâs oceans, the number of vessels that fish on or use FADs, the number of FADs deployed by fishing vessels, whether and with what Âfrequency FADs are recovered, the frequency with which individual FADs are set upon, the total number of sets on FADs, and the expropriation and loss
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 135 rate of FADs. RFMOs have a role in collecting and a need for improved data on FADs to achieve their goals of sustainable international fisheries with minimal environmental impact. Currently, at-sea observer programs are the best means to collect specific data on FADs and their use. However, tracking and identifying drifting FADs can be difficult, with FADs taken onboard, modified, and in some cases appropriated from other vessels and provided with a differÂ ent radio or satellite buoy. Greater control and documentation of FADs is needed if FAD deployment, usage, and loss are ever to be understood. The IATTC observer program has the most complete record of FAD use through its Flotsam Information Record (FIR) program (Figure 4.5). FIR contains the key points to consider when describing and tracking floating objects. The form includes parameters such as time and location, description and dimension of the FAD and its components (including verÂ tical appendages and associated electronics), how the FAD was located, and information on the origin or ownership of the FAD. FIR also describes whether the FAD is left in the water and any significant alterations or enhancements that may have been made. The FIR program could serve as a model system for collecting data on FADs for other regional fishery management organizations. Similarly, RFMOs have a role in improving regulations and manÂ agement of FADs. In December 2007, WCPFC considered, but has yet to implement, the most comprehensive resolution on FAD use. The resoluÂ tion would prohibit FAD fishing between either July through September or October through December in the EEZs and the areas beyond national jurisdiction within the area bounded by 20ÂºN and 20ÂºS. The resolution has an exemption for purse seiners home ported in the Philippines and operating on the high seas off the coast of the Philippines, which are entirely dependent on FAD sets, but requires the Philippines to impleÂ ment its national tuna plan, which limits the number of FADs to 25 FADs per purse seine vessel and to provide the national tuna plan for review and endorsement in 2008 by WCPFC. Even more notable was the requirement that parties submit to WCPFC management plans for the use of FADs within their jurisdictional waters and by their vessels on the high seas containing the following elements: â¢ limits on the number of licensed FADs; â¢ design, operation, and maintenance of FADs; â¢ application process for deployment of FADs; â¢ location of FADs and reporting; â¢ marking of FADs; â¢ location in relation to navigational routes and shipping; â¢ closed areas;
136 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission FLOTSAM INFORMATION RECORD (FIR) Trip Object Count Set DATE Number No. No. No. YY MM DD TIME LATITUDE N/S LONGITUDE W A. COMPONENTS (check all that are applicable) B. LOCATING EQUIPMENT (check all that are applicable) As found As left As found As left Tree [ ] 1 [ ] Flag [ ] 1 [ ] Dead animal __________________ [ ] 2 [ ] Satellite buoy [ ] 2 [ ] Chain / cable / rings / weights [ ] 3 [ ] Buoy, corks, etc. [ ] 3 [ ] Cane / bamboo [ ] 4 [ ] Lights [ ] 4 [ ] Bait container / bait [ ] 5 [ ] Radio transmitter / beeper [ ] 5 [ ] Cord / rope [ ] 6 [ ] Radar reflector [ ] 6 [ ] Floats / corks [ ] 7 [ ] Unknown [ ] 7 [ ] Artificial light for attracting fish [ ] 8 [ ] Other ________________________ [ ] 8 [ ] Netting material [ ] 9 [ ] C. LOCATING METHOD (check only ONE) Sacks / bags [ ] 10 [ ] Radar [ ] 1 Planks / pallets / plywood / spools [ ] 11 [ ] Direction finder [ ] 2 Metal drum / plastic drum [ ] 12 [ ] Satellite [ ] 3 check PVC or other plastic tubes [ ] 13 [ ] Visual â the object itself [ ] 4 only Plastic sheeting [ ] 14 [ ] Visual â birds [ ] 5 one Unknown [ ] 15 [ ] Not applicable [ ] 6 Other ________________________ [ ] 16 [ ] Unknown [ ] 7 Other ________________________ [ ] 8 D. IF THERE IS NETTING ON THE OBJECT: E. OTHER DATA Yes No Unk Yes No NA Unk Netting hanging from the object? [ ] [ ] [ ] Bait container refilled? [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] Estimated area of hanging netting (m2) Fauna entrapped?______________ [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] Predominant mesh size (inches) . Maximum depth of the object (m) . Dimensions (m) . . . Water clarity Clear [ ] Turbid [ ] Very turbid [ ] % epibiota Tag number F. CAPABILITY OF TRANSMITTING EQUIPMENT (check G. PRIOR ORIGIN OF OBJECT (check only ONE) all that are applicable) As found As left Your vessel â this trip [ ] 1 Direction to the object [ ] 1 [ ] Your vessel â previous trip [ ] 2 Geographic position of the object [ ] 2 [ ] Deployed [ ] 3 Water temperature [ ] 3 [ ] Other vessel â with owner consent [ ] 4 check Tuna quantity [ ] 4 [ ] Other vessel â no owner consent [ ] 5 only Tuna species [ ] 5 [ ] Drifting object found [ ] 6 one Unknown [ ] 6 [ ] Unknown [ ] 7 Other _______________________ [ ] 7 [ ] Other _____________________ [ ] 8 H. EXPERIMENTAL EQUIPMENT (continue on back) IATTC FIR 08/2005 FIGURE 4.5â IATTC Flotsam Information Record (FIR) card (reprinted with p Â ermission from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission).
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 137 I.a.OVERHE VIEW AD (Include dimensions) I.b. SIDEVIEW (Include dimensions) J.ADDITION COMMENTS AL IATTC FIR 08/2005 FIGURE 4.5â (Continued)
138 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY â¢ deployment of FADs in archipelagic waters; â¢ effect of FAD fishing by purse seine vessels on tuna longline fishing; â¢ monitoring of the FAD fishery; â¢ effect of FAD fishing on sizes of tuna taken; â¢ effect of FAD fishing on bycatch species; â¢ reporting requirements for FAD fishing; â¢ reporting of species mix in FAD fishing; â¢ reporting of bycatch in FAD fishing; â¢ reporting of utilization of bycatch; â¢ conflict resolution in relation to FADs; â¢ license status of vessels in relation to areas of FAD deployment; â¢ replacing of lost FADs; â¢ access to FAD areas; â¢ confidentiality of FAD position information; and â¢ number of tender vessels per catcher vessel. Implementation of this resolution would be an important step toward greater control and understanding of FADs. Information collected from FAD management plans could be used to more effectively evaluate the role of FADs in the generation of marine debris. In 1999, IATTC considered (but failed to adopt) the following measures to reduce bycatch and adverse impacts of FADs on the tuna resource: â¢ limits on the depth of FADs; â¢ limits on the number of sets on FADs and floating objects; â¢ limits on the number of FADs that a vessel can carry; â¢ analysis of the effects of the use of bait with FADs; â¢ seasonal or area bans or closures on the use of FADs; and â¢ modification of the FAD design (Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, 1999). These measures, if adopted by IATTC, could provide a framework for greater control over FAD fishing in ETP. Finding: Currently, there is very little control or data on FADs in international fisheries. Recommendation: The United States should take a leadership role by â¢ requiring that its own purse seine fleet submit a FAD management plan incorporating the plan elements proposed by WCPFC;
DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES 139 â¢ encouraging RFMOs to adopt requirements for FAD management plans; and â¢ using port state jurisdiction in its territories to limit access to vesÂ sels flying the flag of countries that fail to require their vessels have a FAD management plan. Recommendation: RFMOs should adopt measures and manage FADs in such a way that the ownership of those FADs is clear. RFMOs should â¢ control the number of FADs through chips, marking, tags, or other means to limit the number of FADs that can be carried and deployed by a vessel; â¢ acquire more information to characterize FAD usage in each of the agreement areas; â¢ adopt resolutions requiring parties to provide information on FAD use by vessel, including the number of sets on FADs, the number of FADs carried and deployed, and FAD retrieval, loss, and approÂ priation rates; and â¢ establish mechanisms to gather information on FADs including reports from parties, vessel logbooks, and observer programs. At a minimum, RFMOs need to collect and report annual data on the number of FADs deployed, the number returned to shore, the number lost, and an annual estimate of the number currently being fished. Finding: Replacement of plastic components and synthetic ropes and webbing used to construct FADs with readily degradable materials such as natural fibers would lessen the adverse impacts of FADs that become marine debris. Recommendation: RFMOs should support the development of FAD designs that do not incorporate persistent synthetic or scrap Âmaterials but instead include materials that will self-destruct, readily bioÂ degrade, mitigate entanglement, and provide an incentive for FADs to be maintained and regularly retrieved. RFMOs should also prevent the use of synthetic and scrap material in FADs through regulation. CONCLUSION The following finding and recommendation express overarching concepts discussed in the previous findings and recommendations in Chapter 4.
140 TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY Overarching Finding: DFG and abandoned or lost FADs fall under both MARPOL Annex V (and corresponding domestic laws) and fishÂ eries management treaties and regulations. This overlap has comÂ plicated implementation of measures to prevent and reduce these sources of debris. Current regulations do not include accountability measures for gear loss, and fishermen and fisheries management organizations have few incentives and several disincentives to take responsibility for the impacts and for cleanup. Inadequate port faciliÂ ties and high disposal costs are an impediment to disposal of waste and DFG. Overarching Recommendation: MARPOL Annex V (and correspondÂ ing domestic law) and international and domestic fisheries treaties and regulations should be revised to clearly identify and prohibit preventable losses of fishing gear, including FADs. IMO, FMCs and fishery management organizations, and other relevant entities should incorporate gear accountability measures and facilitate proper disÂ posal of fishing gear, including FADs.