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Title: Aggregation process of drifting fish aggregating devices (DFADs) in the Western Indian Ocean: Who arrives first, tuna or non-tuna species?
Authors: Orue, Blanca; Lopez, Jon; Moreno, Gala; Santiago, Josu and Soto, Maria; Murua, Hilario
Abstract: Floating objects drifting in the surface of tropical waters, also known as drifting fish aggregating devices (DFADs), attract hundreds of marine species, including tuna and non-tuna species. Industrial tropical purse seiners have been increasingly deploying artificial man-made DFADs equipped with satellite linked echo-sounder buoys, which provide fishers with information on the accurate geo-location of the object and rough estimates of the biomass aggregated underneath, to facilitate the catch of tuna. Although several hypotheses are under consideration to explain the aggregation and retention processes of pelagic species around DFADs, the reasons driving this associative behavior are uncertain. This study uses information from 962 echo-sounder buoys attached to virgin (i.e. newly deployed) DFADs deployed in the Western Indian Ocean between 2012 and 2015 by the Spanish fleet (42,322 days observations) to determine the first detection day of tuna and non-tuna species at DFAD and to model the aggregation processes of both species group using Generalize Additive Mixed Models. Moreover, different seasons, areas and depths of the DFAD under-water structure were considered in the analysis to account for potential spatio-temporal and structure differences. Results show that tuna species arrive at DFADs before non-tuna species (13.5 +/- 8.4 and 21.7 +/- 15.1 days, respectively), and provide evidence of the significant relationship between DFAD depth and detection time for tuna, suggesting faster tuna colonization in deeper objects. For non-tuna species, this relationship appeared to be not significant. The study also reveals both seasonal and spatial differences in the aggregation patterns for different species groups, suggesting that tuna and non-tuna species may have different aggregative behaviors depending on the spatio-temporal dynamic of DFADs. This work will contribute to the understanding of the fine and mesoscale ecology and behavior of target and non-target species around DFADs and will assist managers on the sustainability of exploited resources, helping to design spatio-temporal conservation management measures for tuna and non-tuna species.
Issue Date: 2019
Type: Article
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210435
ISSN: 1932-6203
Funder: AZTI Foundation
Appears in Publication types:Artículos científicos

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