ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Targeted versus Non-targeted Catch

A Study of Marine Fisheries in Andhra Pradesh

This paper highlights some sustainability concerns related to Andhra Pradesh’s marine fisheries by using primary data. The analysis shows that several serious problems lie beneath the estimates of the quantity and value of annual marine catch from the state. The issue of targeted, incidental and by-catch in this multispecies fishery is interlinked in complex ways. A host of internal and external factors of the marine system drive the harvest. Increasing demand for shrimp, other high-value fishes, subadults, and juveniles of various species for consumption from different consumer segments, a thriving poultry or aquaculture feed industry and the perceived opportunity cost of avoiding or minimising the non-targeted catch by the fishers act as critical drivers threatening the sustainability of fisheries. If strict measures are not adopted, the AP fishery might collapse sooner than later.

Data collected by two extensive studies on Economic Value of Biodiversity Loss and Rates and Ratios in Fisheries supported by the TEEB India Initiative by the GIZ Germany and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India and the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Andhra Pradesh, India respectively and carried out the Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad by the second author has been used in this paper. The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support received.

Targeted catch versus originally non-targeted catch is a significant sustainability issue in global marine fisheries. In the literature of fishery, the species or an assemblage of species sought in a fishery constitute a targeted catch. However, non-targeted catch, including the incidental catch, by-catch and discarded catch, is a more contentious issue. In a study for the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Alverson et al (1994) defined the incidental catch as the retained catch of non-targeted species; discarded catch as that portion of the catch returned to the sea for various reasons, including economic, legal, etc. On the other hand, by-catch is the unintentional harvest of non-target and non-retained species that is either landed and marketed or discarded at sea or after landing. By-catch is holistically defined, holistically unused or unmanaged harvest (Davies et al 2009; Kirby and Ward 2014; Oliver et al 2015). In other words, by-catch includes both discarded catches and incidental catch. In addition to the incidental catch, by-catch, the estimates of which vary according to the definition used, is a significant conservation and resource management problem faced by global fisheries (Hall et al 2000; Davies et al 2009).

The FAO has provided periodical global estimates of the discarded element of by-catch. In their first global estimate, Alverson et al (1994) estimated annual discards in the range of 17.939.5 million tonnes based on discard/catch ratios determined by species or species group. Ten years later, using a modified fishery-by-fishery approach, Kelleher (2005) estimated that the weighted average of discards amounted to nearly 8% of the worldwide catch (7.3 million) in 19922001. In the recent third assessment of global marine fisheries discards for the FAO, Prez et al (2019) estimated yearly discards of global marine fisheries during 201014 as 9.1 million tonnes, 46% of which were from bottom trawlers.

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Published On : 15th Feb, 2024

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