Fifty years of atlantic tuna fisheries: upon the need to publish an iccat atlas

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SCRS/2001/137
FIFTY YEARS OF ATLANTIC TUNA FISHERIES:
UPON THE NEED TO PUBLISH AN ICCAT ATLAS
Alain Fonteneau
1
and Pilar Pallares
2
SUMMARY
This paper discusses the interest for ICCAT to elaborate and to publish an atlas showing in
details 50 years (or more) of Atlantic tuna fisheries. Such an atlas should cover all species
and all tuna fisheries, and also the major environmentalcharacteristics of the Atlantic Ocean.
The content, physical support and presentation of such an atlas would need further discussion
among the tuna experts and the ICCAT secretariat. It is probably the best moment for the
ICCAT to publish such an atlas that could target a wide audience and could probably be done
and published at a reasonable cost.
RÉSUMÉ
Cet article discute l’intérêtqu’aurait l’ICCAT d’élaborer et de publier un atlas montrant en
détail 50 années, et plus, de pêcheries thonières de l’Atlantique. Un tel atlas devrait couvrir
toutes les espèces et toutes les pêcheries de thons, et aussi prendre en compte .les principales
caractéristiques de l’environnement dans l’Océan Atlantique. Le contenu, le support physique
et la présentation d’un tel atlasnécessiteraient des discussions supplémentaires entre les
experts et le secrétariat de l’ICCAT. Ce serait probablement un moment opportun pour
l’ICCAT de réaliser un tel atlas qui aurait une large group cible et qui pourrait probablement
être réalisé à un coût raisonnable.
RESUMEN
Este documento trata el interés que tendría para ICCAT elaborar y publicar un atlas que
muestre en detalle 50 años (o más) depesquerías atuneras del Atlántico. Este atlas cubriría
todas las especies y todas las pesquerías de túnidos, así como las principales características
medioambientales del océano Atlántico. El contenido, el soporte físico y la presentación de
este atlas requerirían más debates entre los expertos en túnidos y la Secretaría de ICCAT.
Este es probablemente el mejor momento para que ICCATpublique este atlas que podría
llegar a un amplio público y que lo más probable es que pueda realizarse y publicarse a un
coste razonable.
KEYWORDS
Tuna fisheries, mapping, catch statistics, environmental conditions
1- INTRODUCTION
It is clear nowadays that fishery atlases are useful tools of general interest for a wide group of
interested persons: scientists, fishermen, fishery administrators,students, etc. This type of ICCAT
project has already been discussed by the SCRS some years ago, but without any conclusion, primarily
because this project was not well prepared nor thoroughly evaluated. Various atlases have been
published or made available on paper or on CD during recent years (for instance by IPTP, by FAO and

1Institut de Recherche pour le Développement , PO Box 570, Victoria Seychelles, IRDSEY@seychelles.net
2
Instituto Español de Oceanografia, Corazon de Maria 8, 28002 Madrid Spain. pilar.pallares@md.ieo.esby ORSTOM) but none of them is really satisfactory for the ICCAT, because they do not describe well
and with enough details the complex history of the Atlantic tuna fisheries. On the otherside, the
powerful and extensive data bases built by the ICCAT secretariat during recent years, and the powerful
software now available to handle them, make that the realization of such an atlas is no more a complex
endeavor (as it would have been 10 years ago). Furthermore, it should be noticed that it is probably a
convenient time to publish in a user-friendly way, all the historicalinformation on Atlantic tunas. One
important reason is that the new ICCAT data base is now more or less operational and it should be easy
to prepare the queries which are needed to prepare the Atlas. Also it should be kept in mind that the
memory and knowledge relative to these fisheries may soon be vanishing, as the oldest and most
experienced ICCAT scientists are now retiring or will be...
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