, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 343-352
Date: 29 Jun 2012

Impacts of fish aggregation devices on size structures of skipjack tuna Katsuwonus pelamis

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Tuna purse seine fisheries target fish aggregated in schools, including free schools that are formed naturally based on fish biology and aggregations associated with natural and/or artificial drifting objects. Using data collected from skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) fisheries, we evaluated differences in size structures between drifting-floating-object-associated schools and unassociated schools. We developed a generalized linear model to remove impacts of environmental variables on skipjack size composition. This study indicates that the drifting-floating-object-associated schools tended to have significantly wider size ranges than the unassociated schools. This suggests that unassociated schools were likely formed based on similarity in sizes among individuals within a school while drifting-floating-object-associated schools were probably composed of individuals of large size ranges and their formation was not based on the “size selection” rule. We concluded that the unassociated schools and the drifting-floating-object-associated schools were formed through different mechanisms, and drifting floating objects could aggregate unassociated schools of different size structures. Thus, a large scale of deployment of man-made floating objects might disrupt the spatial aggregation pattern of fish that otherwise tended to school based on their sizes in the absence of floating objects.

Handling Editor: Thomas Mehner.