Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Recruitment, training and coordination of the Observers’ daily boarding missions for the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna fishery monitoring through the frames located in South Portugal. The observer guarantees 100% coverage of the frames activity from the fishing season’s opening until its end. From that moment on, the Observer only monitors the stabled Atlantic Bluefin Tuna collection operations. Among the Observer’s roles, there’s the fisheries quantification in terms of weight and length, the net rising operations monitoring and the Tuna consequent housing, the scientific data collection for IPMA, among others.

Since 2012, 11 Observers were hired for these missions. 48 reports were made in 2012, 166 in 2013 and over 300 in 2014. This way, it was assured the near-total coverage of Portugal’s Atlantic Bluefin Tuna share in the last years.

Data Collection – Discards

Fishing Scientific Observers recruitment, training and 48 boarding missions’ coordination in the registered fishing fleet and operating in Azores Autonomous Region and respective ZEE for data collection related to catch discards. These boarding represented the biggest fishing Observers coordination experience in Azores for seaExpert. In a Region where the Government finances its own Observers management unit, through POPA, it was an honor and privilege to fulfil this project. The boarding mission coordination in 5 of the 9 islands that are part of the RAA was an interesting challenge, in which the company replied to the expectations and fulfilled with rigor and professionalism. Unfortunately, since 2012, due to management crisis inside University of Azores, these boarding were no longer made.

Along this project, 4 full time Observers were hired and did reports for a total of 48 boarding missions, with 22 vessels monitored for a total of 110 days at sea.

Black Scabbardfish Program

The black scabbardfish program was conducted in mainland Portugal, more specifically in Sesimbra, Peniche, Figueira da Foz and Matosinhos, in Madeira and Azores. The data processing, taken from the bibliographic research and in situ observations, were conducted by seaExpert in collaboration with experts from University of Azores Department of Oceanography and Fisheries. The processed data was referred to: catches, by-catch, discards, fishing gear, fishing areas and fishing stations. Its analysis allowed us to quantify the deep-sea sharks by-catch by species, to estimate the deep-sea sharks abundance index in Portuguese waters, to assess the spatial overlap between the deep-sea sharks and the black scabbardfish, to study and describe the distribution and dynamics among different shark populations where the black scabbardfish occurs, with the main purpose of identifying biologically-sensitive areas where fishing activities should be avoided, describe and propose technical improvements that are possible to apply in the used fishing gear.

This program was formed by 15 Observers, 10 in mainland Portugal, 3 in Madeira archipelago and 2 in Azores archipelago. In total, there were 48 vessels monitored for a total of 100 days at sea.