Mariluz Parga, head of conservation medicine, presented Submon’s work with surface longline fishermen in the Mediterranean and the Eastern Pacific at the 1st International Symposium on Circle Hooks, which took place in Miami on the 4th-6th of May.
An important problem of longline fisheries around the world is the related bycatch, which affects several species of sharks, cetaceans, birds and sea turtles, but also juvenile forms of tuna and other large fish. The challenge consists of reducing this accidental capture without affecting the catch of target species. Different bycatch reduction measures have been proposed and tried over the years, but probably the most promising of all is the use of circle hooks, although further studies need to be done.
Hosted by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, the 1st International Symposium on Circle Hooks took place from the 4th to the 6th of May 2011 in Miami. During three days, around 160 scientists, fishermen and fishery managers related both to the commercial and the sports longline fisheries discussed pros and cons of these hooks in different types of longline fisheries, different parts of the world and considering different perspectives.
Mariluz at the WWF work meeting during the symposium (L. Rendon/WWF Ecuador)
Submon presented its veterinary work of several years with longline fisheries from the Spanish Mediterranean and the Eastern Pacific, based on assessing hook-related lesions and removal techniques, and relating them to the probabilities of post-release mortality. During the presentation, Mariluz stressed out the importance of ensuring a good training for fishermen and for fishery observers involved in trials with circle hooks. During this symposium the training DVD for fishermen, completed by OFCF-Japan and the IATTC with the veterinary advice of Submon, was also presented, and was very welcome by different turtle bycatch reduction programs around the world.