A new ECHEBASTAR initiative

In 2020, Echebastar in collaboration with AZTI implemented the SILKY SHARK TAGGING PROJECT. The main objective of this was to measure the post release survival of silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) taken as incidental catch in our purse seine tuna fishery and evaluate the impact of our Good Fishing Practices on reducing mortality of the species, while identifying the potential for additional mitigation measures that could further reduce that impact.

The Echebastar Sustainability Working Group has identified the need to further improve understanding of the interaction between the purse seine tuna fishery in the Indian Ocean and silky shark. To analyse their behaviour, the project will tag individual silky sharks with MiniPATs that will report daily on their location and depth, so providing data to evaluate their movement. This information will allow detailed analysis of the horizontal and vertical migrations of silky shark. In addition, the collected data will provide data for habitat models. The assessment of the overlap of purse seine fishing activity with the distribution of the species is Echebastar’s response to the previously identified needs.

This project is of great interest to the purse seine tuna sector as better understanding of the biology and habitat of the species supports evaluation of the contribution of the already implemented mitigation measures while identifying options that could further decrease the incidental mortality of silky shark.

This new project confirms our commitment to safeguard the habitats and ecosystem of the Indian Ocean. Our thanks to the Basque Government, SIOTI, ISSF, AZTI, MSC-OSF and BTWC, for their collaboration.

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