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popa, programa de observação para as pescas dos açores. para uma pesca responsável


  • The tuna fishery
        in the Azores
  • Other fisheries



    1 .The tuna fishery in the Azores

    Despite the new fishing technologies and advanced methods that are used all around the world, the tuna commercial fleet of the Azores still operates with pole and line (multi-gear fishery) which turns it into a truly selective and sustainable fishery (It is certified as a “Friend of the Sea” fishery, since 2001).

    In fact, this fishery is divided in two stages, the first stage being the capture of small pelagic fishes, the live bait, that fishermen keep aboard in water tanks so they can use it later to capture tuna. The pole and line fishery depends on the voracity of tunas and fishermen's ability in feinting the fish.

    There are several kinds of fishing gear, each related with the behavior and morphology of the target species.

    Fishing events begin with the search for feeding seabirds, wrecks or even cetaceans which indicate the possible presence of tuna, since these animals are often associated to each other. After positive identification, the fishing boat approaches the school of fishes, turns off the engine, starts spraying water (which alters the water surface simulating the movement of escaping prey) and the bait man starts throwing live bait to the water close to the vessel. The fishing gears are known as: verdasca, trocho, espanhol, cana, salto and linha de mão.

    A great amount of live bait is required by the Azorean tuna fleet. Preferred species are: horse mackerel (Trachurus picturatus), sardine (Sardina pilchardus) and chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus).

    To catch them, fishermen use seine nets, after attracting fishes using lights and chum (exception for the sardine which is captured near the coast during the day). The small fishes are carefully handled into the water tanks where they will stay for a variable period of time (from 1 day to several weeks).

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