Last updated on 17 December 2015

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Thunnus alalunga

SPECIES NAME(s)

Albacore

There is believed to only be a single population of albacore in the Indian Ocean; however there may be some mixing with the Atlantic population. The population is considered to be a single Indian Ocean population for assessment processes {IOTC 2015}.


ANALYSIS

Strengths

Albacore are managed and assessed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC). The IOTC has interim target and limit reference points for albacore tuna and is continuing work to utilize management strategy evaluation to determine proper management measures. The biomass is currently right around MSY levels and fishing mortality levels are no longer above MSY levels.

Weaknesses

Piracy in the western Indian Ocean has resulted in additional fishing pressure in traditional albacore fishing areas. There are no specific management measures in place for albacore tuna. Increasing or maintaining effort in albacore grounds will likely result in biomass declines. There is uncertainty surrounding total catch records and abundance indices used in the assessment. Specifically, Indonesia and Malaysia have provided in complete data sets and catch and effort data from other countries is either uncertain (longline-India, Indonesia, Oman, Philippines and Malaysia) or missing (fresh-tuna longliners Taiwan). In addition, there are issues with non-reporting of catch by industrial longliners and catch and effort by industrial purse seine vessels. Observer coverage rates are very low. Interactions with protected, endangered and threatened species along with sharks occur.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

< 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

8.4

Future Health:

9.2


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Work with IOTC Members and Cooperating Non-Contracting Parties to: 
    • Cap catches of albacore tuna at 38,800 t, as recommended by the IOTC Scientific Committee in the 2017 Albacore Stock Status Summary.
    • Develop and implement comprehensive, precautionary harvest strategies with specific timelines for all tuna stocks, including the adoption and implementation of limit and target reference points, harvest control rules, monitoring strategies, operational objectives, performance indicators, and management strategy evaluation.
    • Strengthen compliance processes and make information on non-compliance public and continue to provide evidence of compliance with all IOTC Conservation and Management Measures in a timely manner.
    • Implement a 100% observer coverage requirement for at-sea transshipment activities, as well as other measures that ensure transshipment activity is transparent and well-managed, and that all required data are collected and transmitted to the appropriate bodies in a timely manner.
    • Increase compliance with the mandatory minimum 5% longline observer coverage rates by identifying and correcting non-compliance.
    • Implement a 100% observer coverage requirement – human and/or electronic – within five years for longline fisheries.  Adopt a 100% observer coverage requirement for purse seine vessels where it is not already required and require the use of the best-available observer safety equipment, communications and procedures.
    • Adopt effective measures for the use of non-entangling FAD designs as a precautionary measure to minimize the entanglement of sharks and other non-target species, and support research on biodegradable materials and transition to their use to mitigate marine debris. 
    • More effectively implement, and ensure compliance with, existing RFMO bycatch requirements and take additional mitigation action, such as improving monitoring at sea, collecting and sharing operational-level, species-specific data, and adopting stronger compliance measures, including consequences for non-compliance for all gear types.
  • Ensure all products are traceable back to legal sources. Verify source information and full chain traceability through traceability desk audits or third party traceability certification. For fisheries without robust traceability systems in place, invest in meaningful improvements to bring the fisheries and supply chain in compliance with best practices.

FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Indian Ocean IOTC China Longlines
Indonesia Longlines
Korea, Republic of Longlines
Malaysia Longlines
Mauritius Longlines
Mozambique Pole-lines hand operated
South Africa Drifting longlines
Taiwan Taiwan, Province of China Longlines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 17 December 2015

Strengths

Albacore are managed and assessed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC). The IOTC has interim target and limit reference points for albacore tuna and is continuing work to utilize management strategy evaluation to determine proper management measures. The biomass is currently right around MSY levels and fishing mortality levels are no longer above MSY levels.

Weaknesses

Piracy in the western Indian Ocean has resulted in additional fishing pressure in traditional albacore fishing areas. There are no specific management measures in place for albacore tuna. Increasing or maintaining effort in albacore grounds will likely result in biomass declines. There is uncertainty surrounding total catch records and abundance indices used in the assessment. Specifically, Indonesia and Malaysia have provided in complete data sets and catch and effort data from other countries is either uncertain (longline-India, Indonesia, Oman, Philippines and Malaysia) or missing (fresh-tuna longliners Taiwan). In addition, there are issues with non-reporting of catch by industrial longliners and catch and effort by industrial purse seine vessels. Observer coverage rates are very low. Interactions with protected, endangered and threatened species along with sharks occur.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 15 October 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Work with IOTC Members and Cooperating Non-Contracting Parties to: 
    • Cap catches of albacore tuna at 38,800 t, as recommended by the IOTC Scientific Committee in the 2017 Albacore Stock Status Summary.
    • Develop and implement comprehensive, precautionary harvest strategies with specific timelines for all tuna stocks, including the adoption and implementation of limit and target reference points, harvest control rules, monitoring strategies, operational objectives, performance indicators, and management strategy evaluation.
    • Strengthen compliance processes and make information on non-compliance public and continue to provide evidence of compliance with all IOTC Conservation and Management Measures in a timely manner.
    • Implement a 100% observer coverage requirement for at-sea transshipment activities, as well as other measures that ensure transshipment activity is transparent and well-managed, and that all required data are collected and transmitted to the appropriate bodies in a timely manner.
    • Increase compliance with the mandatory minimum 5% longline observer coverage rates by identifying and correcting non-compliance.
    • Implement a 100% observer coverage requirement – human and/or electronic – within five years for longline fisheries.  Adopt a 100% observer coverage requirement for purse seine vessels where it is not already required and require the use of the best-available observer safety equipment, communications and procedures.
    • Adopt effective measures for the use of non-entangling FAD designs as a precautionary measure to minimize the entanglement of sharks and other non-target species, and support research on biodegradable materials and transition to their use to mitigate marine debris. 
    • More effectively implement, and ensure compliance with, existing RFMO bycatch requirements and take additional mitigation action, such as improving monitoring at sea, collecting and sharing operational-level, species-specific data, and adopting stronger compliance measures, including consequences for non-compliance for all gear types.
  • Ensure all products are traceable back to legal sources. Verify source information and full chain traceability through traceability desk audits or third party traceability certification. For fisheries without robust traceability systems in place, invest in meaningful improvements to bring the fisheries and supply chain in compliance with best practices.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 17 December 2015

Several different models were used in the 2014 assessment of albacore tuna in the Indian Ocean. These included the ASPIC, ASPM and SS3, representing both surplus production models and age/sex and spatially structured modeling techniques. Additional CPUE’s from Japan, Taiwan, China and the Republic of Korea were included. Catch data from 1950 to 2013 and effort data from 1975 through 2013 were included in the models. The ASPIC modeling results appeared to represent the status of albacore tuna the best (IOTC 2014).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 17 December 2015

The most recent assessment indicated that increasing or maintaining current fishing effort will likely result in further population declines and management measures to address this are needed. The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission's Scientific Committee noted that catches should be capped at 2012 levels (34,000 t) or fishing mortality rates should be reduced (IOTC 2014).

Reference Points

Last updated on 17 Dec 2015

Parameter Value
F2012/FMSY 0.69 (0.23-1.39)
SB2012/SBMSY 1.09 (0.34-2.20)
SB2012/SB1950 0.21
MSY 47,600 t(26,700-78,800 t)

**Target reference points are provisional (IOTC 2014)

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 17 December 2015

Albacore tuna in the Indian Ocean are not overfished and are no longer undergoing overfishing (IOTC 2014).

Trends

Last updated on 17 Dec 2015

The biomass has declined around 21% since the 1950’s but is slightly above BMSY. Catches have been increasing since 2007, due mostly to the Indonesian and Taiwanese longline fisheries.According to one model used in the most recent assessment, catches have been about maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels but only approaching MSY according to other models (IOTC 2014).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 17 December 2015

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) is an intergovernmental organization mandated to manage tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian Ocean and adjacent seas. Its objective is to promote cooperation among its Members with a view to ensuring, through appropriate management, the conservation and optimum utilization of stocks and encouraging sustainable development of fisheries based on such stocks. Members of IOTC include Australia, Belize, China, Comoros, Eritrea, European Community, France, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Republic Islamic of Iran, Japan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Sultanate of Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Vanuatu. The Cooperating Non-Contracting Parties are Senegal, South Africa and Uruguay.

Management measures in place include: required reporting and recording of catches and effort, providing a record of active fishing vessels, limiting fishing capacity to levels from 2007. In 2013, a resolution was adopted to provide advice on target and limit reference points for albacore tuna and to utilize management strategy evaluation (MSE) to identify potential management measures (IOTC 2013). In addition, the Commission formed a Technical Committee on Management Procedure to enhance decision making response of the Commission {IOTC 2016}.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 17 Dec 2015

The population of albacore tuna in the Indian Ocean is healthy and there are currently no recovery plan's in place (IOTC 2014).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 17 December 2015

There is no TAC in place for albacore tuna in the Indian Ocean.

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Indian Ocean has been a major issue. IUU fishing includes a range of illicit activities: fishing without permission or out of season; harvesting prohibited species; using outlawed types of fishing gear; disregarding catch quotas; or non-reporting or under-reporting catch weights. Of particular concern are the western Indian Ocean and the maritime areas along the coast of eastern Africa. There, fishing vessels of various flags have taken advantage of the absence in coastal countries of strong enforcement mechanisms (FAO 2007). The Commission has regularly been establishing a list of vessels presumed to have carried out illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) area. In 2016, the Commission took further steps to address IUU fishing and compliance with catch reporting and other Conservation and Management Measure requirements {IOTC 2016}.

There have been compliance issues with some countries regarding accurate reporting of catch and effort data.  Specifically, Indonesia and Malaysia have provided in complete data sets and catch and effort data from other countries is either uncertain (longline-India, Indonesia, Oman, Philippines and Malaysia) or missing (fresh-tuna longliners Taiwan). In addition, there are issues with non-reporting of catch by industrial longliners and catch and effort by industrial purse seine vessels.
 

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 16 January 2015

Longlines incidentally capture vulnerable species including sea birds and sea turtles. Bycatch of seabirds, sea turtles, marine mammals and sharks in pelagic longline tuna fisheries threatens some populations with extinction. The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) has implemented several management measures addressing these incidental captures.

Regarding sea birds, a 2010 resolution, superseding previous measures, requires, when south of 25oS, use of at least two seabird mitigation methods selected from two lists of nine alternatives (IOTC, 2010b).

A 2009 resolution requires member countries to report data on sea turtle interactions and for vessels to follow sea turtles handling and release guidelines and posses and use specified turtle release equipment (IOTC, 2009c).

There are extremely low bycatch levels in pole-and-line fisheries, where bycatch that does occur generally consists of juvenile kawakawa tuna (Euthynnus affinis), frigate mackerel (Auxis rochei), mahimahi (Coryphaena hippurus), and rainbow runner (Elagatis bupinnulata). Discards are believed to have high post release survival rates due to the use of barbless hooks and flick-off practices (FAO, 1997). However, concern over bycatch of reef fish and juvenile classes of target species in baitfish fisheries that supply live bait to pole-and-line fisheries has been raised, as have other ecological issues (ecosystem effects of removal of baitfish species, overexploitation of target baitfish species, habitat degradation) and socioeconomic issues (food security impacts with coastal communities) (FAO, 2008; Gillett, 2010).

Other Species

Last updated on 17 December 2015

Longline fisheries incidentally capture other species of tuna, billfish and sharks. The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) has adopted several regulations to address this incidental capture.

A 2005 resolution requires: (i) annual reporting of data on shark catches; (ii) keep all parts of retained sharks, excluding head, guts and skins, to the point of first landing; (iii) have onboard fins that total < 5% of the weight of sharks onboard, up to the first point of landing, or otherwise ensure compliance with the 5% rule through certification, observer monitoring or other method (IOTC, 2005). IOTC (2010c) prohibits the retention, transshipment or landing of all species of thresher sharks, intended to address concerns over the status of the bigeye thresher shark (Aliopias superciliosus), but applicable to all thresher species due to the difficulty in differentiating between bigeye and other thresher species. A prohibition on the retention of oceanic whitetip sharks (Carcharhinus longimanus) has also been implemented by the IOTC. In addition, countries are to develop a National Plan of Action for Sharks, although few have done so to date {IOTC 2013}.

HABITAT

Last updated on 17 December 2015

Primary gear used to catch albacore tuna, including purse seine, pelagic longline and pole-and-line gear, do not come in direct contact with the seafloor.Lost and discarded gear can damage coastal habitats.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 12 May 2017

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There are interim limit and target reference points and movement towards a harvest control rule.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is < 6.

The stock is NOT managed through quotas or TACs.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There is no TAC in place

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is 8.4.

This measures the Ratio SSB/SSBmsy as a percentage of the SSB=SSBmsy.

The Ratio SSB/SSBmsy is 1.09 . The SSB=SSBmsy is 1.00 .

The underlying Ratio SSB/SSBmsy/SSB=SSBmsy for this index is 109%.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is 9.2.

This measures the Ratio F/Fmsy as a percentage of the F management target.

The Ratio F/Fmsy is 0.690 . The F management target is 1.00 .

The underlying Ratio F/Fmsy/F management target for this index is 69.0%.

To see data for biomass, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for fishing mortality, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.
DATA NOTES

A recent resolution (13/09) has called for advice on target and limit reference points for albacore tuna to be provided and for MSE to be used to identify potential management measures. In addition, Resolution 13/10 provided interim target and limit reference points for albacore tuna (IOTC 2013). There is no set TAC. Therefore, scores 1, 2 and 3 cannot be calculated. The advised TAC is to cap catches at 2012 levels (34,000 t) (IOTC 2014) (Nishida and Tanaka 2008).

Download Source Data

Registered users can download the original data file for calculating the scores after logging in. If you wish, you can Register now.

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits

Hsu, C.C. 1992. The status of Indian Ocean albacore stock-A review of previous work. Review of Status of Stocks and Tuna Biology Part 2, 117-120.

IOTC. 2005. Resolution 05/05 Concerning the Conservation of Sharks Caught in Association with Fisheries Managed by IOTC. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, Mahé, Seychelles.

IOTC. 2009c. Resolution 09/06 on Marine Turtles. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, Mahé, Seychelles

IOTC. 2009d. Executive Summaries of the Status of the Major Indian Ocean Tunas. IOTC-2009-SC-03[E]. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, Mahé, Seychelles.

IOTC. 2010a. Resolution 10/01 for the Conservation and Management of Tropical Tunas in the IOTC Area of Competence. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, Mahé, Seychelles.

IOTC. 2010b. Resolution 10/06 on Reducing the Incidental Bycatch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, Mahé, Seychelles.

IOTC. 2010c. Resolution 10/12 on the Conservation of Thresher Sharks (Family Alopiidae) Caught in Association with Fisheries in the IOTC Area of Competence. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, Mahé, Seychelles.

IOTC. 2010d. Recommendation 10/13 on the Implementation of a Ban on Discards of Skipjack Tuna, Yellow Fin Tuna, Bigeye Tuna and Non Targeted Species Caught by Purse Seiners. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, Mahé, Seychelles.

IOTC. 2012. Report of the fifteenth session of the IOTC Scientific Committee. IOTC-1212-SC15-R[e].

IOTC. 2013. Compendium of active [and pending] conservation and management measures for the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission.

IOTC, 2014. Status of the Indian Ocean albacore (ALB: Thunnus alalunga) resource. IOTC-2014-SC17-ES01.

IOTC. 2016. Conservation and Management Measures adopted by the IOTC at its 20th Session. IOTC Circular 2016-054.

Murua, H., Arrizabalaga, H., Huang, J., Romanov, E., Bach, P., de Bruyn, P., Chavance, P., de Molina, A., Pianet, R., Ariz, J., Ruiz, J. 2009. Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) for Species Caught in Fisheries Managed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC): A First Attempt. IOTC-2009-WPEB-20. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, Mahé, Seychelles.

Nishida, T., Tanaka, M. 2008. General reviews of Indian Ocean Albacore (Thunnus alalunga), IOTC-2008-WPTe-INFO3, 8 pp, November 2008.

Yingchou, L., Hsichian, L. 1988. Estimation of effective fishing effort and overall fishing intensity, and stock assessment of Indian Ocean albacore (Thunnus alalunga), 1962-1986, Expert Consultation on Stock Assessment of Tunas in the Indian Ocean, Moka (Mauritius), 22-27 Jun 1988.

References

    Comments

    This tab will disappear in 5 seconds.

    Comments on:

    Albacore - Indian Ocean, IOTC, Korea, Republic of, Longlines

    comments powered by Disqus