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The fisherman is a predator like any other

For Peru fi shing is a prime source of foreign exchange, second only to mining. The countrys anchovy fishing fleet, which seeks the Peruvian anchovy Engraulis ringens, is the worlds largest single-species fi shery, with an average of 8% of global landings.

For safety and monitoring purposes, vessels have the statutory obligation to be equipped with satellite geopositioning indicators, seeing that industrial-scale fi shing is prohibited within a band of 5 nautical miles (about 9 kilometres) from the coast.

This satellite device, the vessel monitoring system (VMS), gives the real-time position of the vessels to an accuracy of 100 m, communicated to bodies responsible for vessel movement recording and scientifi c monitoring of fi shing. Scientists from the IRD and the Peruvian Institute of the Sea (IMARPE) used this high-resolution spatial information to characterize vessel movement in campaigns targeting shoals of this anchovy species, a pelagic fi sh that usually lives and builds up off the coasts. These methods shed light on the spatial interactions between fi sh and fi shermen and enabled researchers to devise new tools that could improve monitoring and hence operational fi sh stock management.

The characteristics of movements traced between December 1999 and March 2003 by the 809 vessel fl eet were compared with those of theoretical movement models usually applied to study trajectories of animals (2).

The results showed that in their search for fi sh concentrations, the fi shermen adoptedmovement strategies similar to those described for natural predators, such as albatross or seals. Attributes considered as characteristically human, like the use of detection technologies (sonar, echo-sounding), communications (radio between vessels), and also economic motives or attachment to a port, did not produce a prey search strategy radically different from that of animal
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Contact: Grgory Flchet
fichesactu@paris.ird.fr
33-014-803-7607
Institut de Recherche Pour le Dveloppement
30-Jun-2007


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