Profile of Payao (Floating Artificial Reef or Fish Attracting Device) Fisheries of the Philippines

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Abstract

This paper presents the profile of different fisheries that depend on payao (floating artificial reef) in the Philippines. In 2006, payao fisheries production was estimated at about 630,000 Mt, and large tuna species accounted for close to 400,000 Mt of this value.

The three commercial fisheries that depend on payao are purse seine, ringnet, and handlines. Various sustenance fisheries are also based on the floating structure, but many of these are relatively minor.

Purse seines and ringnets are used to harvest large size tunas, small tunas, and small pelagic species; these kinds of gear differ in terms of scale of operations, level of mechanization, and mode of fishing operation, but essentially capture the same species of similar size ranges.

Among handlines, the most dominant handline gear used near payaos has generally been single, large circle hooks that are cast in deep waters (>100 m) to target large yellowfin Thunnus albacares and bigeye tuna Thunnus obesus. Smaller hooks are also used in relatively shallow waters to capture smaller sized yellowfin tuna.

Meanwhile, multi-hooked handlines with colored lures are particularly designed for small pelagic species, and troll lines mainly harvest juveniles and adults of other (non-tuna) large pelagic species.

Adaptations of fishing techniques to catch various associated species reflect the high level of consolidated fishing efforts near the floating structures.

These techniques, in turn, highlight the growing concerns about overfishing and the sustainability of harvestable resources, as well as the need to regulate the deployment of payaos for effective payao fisheries management.