Tunas constitute species of major interest for the world’s fishery products markets, notably due to the simplicity involved in the processing and circulation of canned products. The canned fish market has been globalized for several decades but remains dominated by a few large multinational companies, which compete for the raw materials caught in the three major oceans of the planet.
From a cost-benefit perspective, the use of FADs gives tropical purse seiners about twice as much yield and therefore better profitability than targeting free schools. Even if the unit value of catches around FADs, composed mainly of skipjack tuna, is lower than that of catches from free schools, where the proportion of large tropical tunas (yellowfin tuna) is greater, the higher yield from FAD sets largely compensates for the price gap.
The costs of effort are also reduced by the lower searching time for the targeted species, explaining the generalization of their use.
However, the success of FAD fishing pushes shipowners to invest more and more in echosounder buoys, auxiliary vessels, as well as increasingly in larger purse seiners. Making a parallel with the ecological trap, this trend could lead to an economic trap if the number of allowed FADs per vessel was meant to be reduced.