Summary

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Coryphaena hippurus

SPECIES NAME(S)

Common dolphinfish, Mahi-mahi

The stock structure of the species is not truly known at a global scale. Considering the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Patterson and Martinez (1991) defined one single population from Ecuador to Costa Rica. Most recently, Díaz-Jaimes et al. (2010) studied the inter-oceanic divergence of Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Mediterranean populations but the genetic differentiation is not conclusive. Here, the separation of the Eastern Pacific and the Western Central Pacific stocks is based in the genetic heterogeneity found in the Pacific Ocean by Rocha-Olivares et al (2006).


ANALYSIS

Strengths

Mahi mahi are fast growing and tend to be resilient to fishing pressure. The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) has started a collaborative research plan for mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). Some information on catch rate trends for mahi mahi in the EPO is available.

Mahi tend to be fast growing and resilient to fishing pressure.

Weaknesses

Data on harvest, bycatch, and discards for all nations catching mahi mahi in the EPO are lacking. There is no formal assessment for this stock and consequently no harvest strategy, management target or limit reference points are in place. In addition, there are few to no management regulations at international or national levels.Longlines, which are used to target mahi mahi in the EPO, can have negative interactions with protected, endangered, or threatened (PET) species and information on these interactions and their impacts is limited. IATTC requires only 5% observer coverage in the longline fleet. Mahi mahi are also incidentally captured in purse seine fisheries operating in EPO.

Although limited information is available on longline fisheries (Whoriskey et al., 2011), there is a shortage of catch, bycatch, discard and fishing effort data for mahi mahi from both industrial and artisanal handline and troll fleets in Costa Rica waters. Catches of mahi mahi from small-scale and recreational vessels are not adequately quantified. There is no formal assessment for this stock and consequently no management targets or limits reference points; there are few to no management regulations at international or national levels. There appears to be substantial illegal fishing of pelagic fish including mahi mahi from foreign and unregistered domestic fleets in Costa Rica’s EEZ and beyond. Spawning grounds of mahi mahi are poorly known in the Pacific Ocean (Alejo-Plata et al., 2011b).

SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 6

Future Health:

≥ 6


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS
  • Conduct outreach to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) requesting the immediate adoption of formal target and limit reference points and harvest control rules. Support continued work towards a full stock assessment of mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
  • Request improved transparency of and by the IATTC, especially regarding the Compliance Committee and issues of non-compliance by individual nations. Press individual nations to provide evidence of compliance with all IATTC Resolutions in a timely manner.
  • 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.
  • Assure full compliance of current observer coverage with an aim to increase longline observer coverage rates from the current 5% to a minimum of 20% with a long-term goal of 100% (which could include electronic and human observers).
  •  Adopt at the national level shark fins naturally attached regulations and promote the adoption of this rule by the IATTC.
  • Improve data collection (i.e. catches, effort, size), on both target and bycatch species, and reporting through measures such as electronic logbooks. 
  • Identify and mandate the use of best practice bycatch mitigation techniques.
  • Contact SFP to learn more about fishery improvement projects (FIPs) and SFP’s Supply Chain Roundtables.
RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. Request systematic harvest and bycatch data collection and on-board observer coverage in the fisheries from which you source and ensure this data is provided to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).
2. Encourage the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) to perform an Eastern Pacific mahi stock assessment and implement an international harvest strategy.
3. Request countries from which you source to implement national management plans for their mahi mahi fisheries.
4. Encourage your supply chain to support one of the existing mahi mahi fishery improvement projects (FIPs), or start one of their own if there is no FIP in their region.


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
Eastern Pacific Ocean IATTC Costa Rica Drifting longlines
Hooks and lines
Mechanized lines
Pole-lines hand operated
Ecuador Drifting longlines
Mechanized lines
Pole-lines hand operated
Guatemala Drifting longlines
Nicaragua Drifting longlines
Mechanized lines
Pole-lines hand operated
Panama Drifting longlines
Longlines
Mechanized lines
Pole-lines hand operated
Peru Drifting longlines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 7 July 2013

Strengths

Mahi mahi are fast growing and tend to be resilient to fishing pressure. The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) has started a collaborative research plan for mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). Some information on catch rate trends for mahi mahi in the EPO is available.

IATTC
Costa Rica
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 7 July 2013

Mahi tend to be fast growing and resilient to fishing pressure.

Weaknesses

Data on harvest, bycatch, and discards for all nations catching mahi mahi in the EPO are lacking. There is no formal assessment for this stock and consequently no harvest strategy, management target or limit reference points are in place. In addition, there are few to no management regulations at international or national levels.Longlines, which are used to target mahi mahi in the EPO, can have negative interactions with protected, endangered, or threatened (PET) species and information on these interactions and their impacts is limited. IATTC requires only 5% observer coverage in the longline fleet. Mahi mahi are also incidentally captured in purse seine fisheries operating in EPO.

IATTC
Costa Rica
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 7 July 2013

Although limited information is available on longline fisheries (Whoriskey et al., 2011), there is a shortage of catch, bycatch, discard and fishing effort data for mahi mahi from both industrial and artisanal handline and troll fleets in Costa Rica waters. Catches of mahi mahi from small-scale and recreational vessels are not adequately quantified. There is no formal assessment for this stock and consequently no management targets or limits reference points; there are few to no management regulations at international or national levels. There appears to be substantial illegal fishing of pelagic fish including mahi mahi from foreign and unregistered domestic fleets in Costa Rica’s EEZ and beyond. Spawning grounds of mahi mahi are poorly known in the Pacific Ocean (Alejo-Plata et al., 2011b).

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 25 September 2017

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators
  • Conduct outreach to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) requesting the immediate adoption of formal target and limit reference points and harvest control rules. Support continued work towards a full stock assessment of mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
  • Request improved transparency of and by the IATTC, especially regarding the Compliance Committee and issues of non-compliance by individual nations. Press individual nations to provide evidence of compliance with all IATTC Resolutions in a timely manner.
  • 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.
  • Assure full compliance of current observer coverage with an aim to increase longline observer coverage rates from the current 5% to a minimum of 20% with a long-term goal of 100% (which could include electronic and human observers).
  •  Adopt at the national level shark fins naturally attached regulations and promote the adoption of this rule by the IATTC.
  • Improve data collection (i.e. catches, effort, size), on both target and bycatch species, and reporting through measures such as electronic logbooks. 
  • Identify and mandate the use of best practice bycatch mitigation techniques.
  • Contact SFP to learn more about fishery improvement projects (FIPs) and SFP’s Supply Chain Roundtables.
Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. Request systematic harvest and bycatch data collection and on-board observer coverage in the fisheries from which you source and ensure this data is provided to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).
2. Encourage the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) to perform an Eastern Pacific mahi stock assessment and implement an international harvest strategy.
3. Request countries from which you source to implement national management plans for their mahi mahi fisheries.
4. Encourage your supply chain to support one of the existing mahi mahi fishery improvement projects (FIPs), or start one of their own if there is no FIP in their region.

1.STOCK STATUS

Stock Assessment

Last updated on 6 April 2015

The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) is in the beginning stages of developing a plan to assess mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean {IATTC 2014a}.The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers mahi mahi a species of Least Concern with a stable population trend (worldwide) {Collete et al. 2011}.

IATTC
Costa Rica
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 7 August 2012

There is not yet a systematic stock assessment for these fisheries. Efforts are being made to coordinate stock assessments and stock recognition between both countries, taking account of the highly migratory character of mahi mahi.

Scientific Advice

Last updated on 6 April 2015

There are no reliable stock assessments for this stock throughout its range in the Pacific Ocean and both regional governments and RFMOs have not taken any concrete measures to regulate this fishery in this area.However, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission has recently initiated a research plan to assess mahi mahi populations, but this will require the cooperation of many nations {IATTC 2014a}.

Reference Points

Last updated on 6 April 2015

There are no reliable stock assessments for this stock throughout its range in the Pacific Ocean, and therefore no reference points are available for evaluation.

IATTC
Costa Rica
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 7 August 2012

There are no reliable stock assessments for this stock throughout its range in the Pacific Ocean hence no reference points are available for evaluation.

Current Status

Last updated on 6 April 2015

The status is highly uncertain as no stock assessment has been conducted.

IATTC
Costa Rica
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 1 March 2013

The status is highly uncertain. Presently a trial assessment is being driven by an MSC certifier under the GASS/DD Project.

Costa Rican boats landed 2321 tonnes of mahi mahi in 2004, while in recent years the average annual catch was around 4792 tonnes (Whoriskey et al., 2011). There is no mention of hook and line fishing gear in industrial fishery, but artisanal fleet may use such gear in coastal fisheries.

Trends

Last updated on 7 April 2015

Information on catch rates from 1. Ecuador, 2. Peru, 3. eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) total and 4. EPO others (EPO total-Ecuador and Peru) and 5. world others. The catch rates from Ecuador have been fairly stable over the past 6 years. Catch rates for mahi mahi incidentally captured in purse seine fisheries have been fairly variable over time depending on the location of fishing. THere is also a high degree of seasonal variability in catch rates of mahi mahi from Ecuador and Costa Rica. Landings peaked during 2009 and 2010 in the eastern Pacific Ocean but have since declined {IATTC 2014a}{IATTC 2014b}.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

Managers' Decisions

Last updated on 6 April 2015

Mahi is not well regulated in this region, there are no measures of stock status, and no input or output controls for this fishery region wide.

IATTC
Costa Rica
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 27 December 2010

By-catch has been quantified through the observer program since 1999, for some longliners targeting Mahi mahi and other pelagic fish in Costa Rican waters. However, apart from licensing no other measures appear to be in place for Costa Rica’s pole and line fleet. Exact number of pole mad line vessels and their operational range remain unknown in this fishery.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 6 April 2015

The status of mahi mahi is unknown in the eastern Pacific Ocean and therefore it is unknown if any recovery plans are needed. No recovery plans are in place.

IATTC
Costa Rica
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 7 August 2012

The eventual implementation of a recovery plan can only take place once the status of the stock is understood.

Compliance

Last updated on 6 April 2015

There are no catch limits, quotas etc and no management measure to determine compliance with.

IATTC
Costa Rica
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 1 March 2013

There are no catch limits or TAC for this fishery in Costa Rica or IATTC waters. There is scarcity of information on compliance aspects for this fishery in Costa Rican EEZ.

Lack of controls on fishing capacity in Central American countries (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Guatemala) have led to expansion of pelagic longlining by artisanal and industrial fleets beyond their EEZs leading to decline of Mahi mahi landings with an average decline of 300 tonnes per year in Costa Rica for the 2001-04 period (Ehrhardt and Fitchett 2006).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

ETP Species

Last updated on 7 April 2015

The longline fisheries operating in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) that capture mahi mahi likely have incidental interactions with sea turtles.

Green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and olive ridley sea turtles have been reported as incidentally captures in longline fisheries operating in the EPO. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies green, leatherback and loggerhead turtles as Endangered, hawksbill as Critically Endangered, and olive ridley as Vulnerable (www.iucn.org).

Marine mammal interactions are not common bycatch species in this fishery.

Several species of seabirds, including black-footed, laysan and waved albatross. Black-footed, laysan albatross are considered Near Threatened by the IUCN and waved albatross as Critically Endangered and may also be incidentally captured.

The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) has put several management measures aimed at bycatch species into place. IATTC member countries are to implement an International Plan of Action for Seabirds. Two seabird mitigation methods are requiredon vessels larger than 20 m fishing in specific areas. A 3 year program to reduce the impact of fishing on sea turtles has been put into place. This plan requires reporting of any interaction and carrying of proper handling and release gears. Shark finning is banned (5% rule) and oceanic whitetip sharks are prohibited from being retained (IATTC 2011b)(IATTC 2011c)(IATTC 2005)(IAC 2012).

IATTC
Costa Rica
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 27 December 2010

There are limited problems associated with pole and line fishing gear for interactions with protected, endangered and threatened species.

Other Target and Bycatch Species

Last updated on 7 April 2015

Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) longlines fisheries that capture mahi mahi tuna also likely capture a number of other species of fish, including billfish and other tuna species, and sharks.

Other common bycatch species in the longline fishery include blue and silky sharks, indo-Pacific sailfish, tuna and swordfish. Blue shark populations are currently healthy in the north Pacific region of the EPO but populations in the south Pacific appear to be in much worse condition. The current status of silky sharks, despite an assessment being conducted, is unknown in this region. The status of indo-Pacific sailfish is also uncertain. Swordfish populations are healthy in both the northern and southern region of the EPO {IATTC 2014b}.

IATTC
Costa Rica
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 23 November 2012

Such information is not available for pole and line vessels operating from Costa Rican waters.

Habitat

Last updated on 28 February 2013

Pelagic gear used to target dolphinfish does not come in contact with sea floor and has nominal effects on coastal and marine habitats.

Marine Reserves
IATTC
Costa Rica
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 6 August 2012

IATTC adopted a resolution in June, 2000 for live release of non-target species such as sharks, rays, dorado, bill fishes and wahoo.

FishSource Scores

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is < 6.

The management strategy is assessed to not be precautionary because the regional fisheries management organizations have not adopted any management measures, reference points or harvest control rules.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

IATTC is beginning to assess mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

The stock is not managed through quotas or TACs, but catches have been declining in recent years.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Biomass estimates (or equivalent) are not available. Best available information, which is extremely limited and based on life history characteristics of mahi mahi suggest that mahimahi is of low vulnerability to overexploitation.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Estimates of current fishing mortality (or equivalent) are not available. Best available information, which is extremely limited and based on life history characteristics of mahimahi suggest that mahimahi is of low vulnerability to overexploitation.

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE RISK

High Medium Low

This indicates the potential risk of human rights abuses within this fishery.

No data available for biomass
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for recruitment

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits

Collette, B., Acero, A., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Cardenas, G., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Teixeira Lessa, R.P., Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E. 2011. Coryphaena hippurus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1.

IATTC. 2014a. Preliminary results from IATTC collaborative research activities on dorado in the EPO and future research plan. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission Document SAC-05-aab. http://www.iattc.org/Meetings/Meetings2014/MAYSAC/PDFs/presentations/SAC-05-11b-Dorado.pdf

IATTC. 2014b. Fishery status report No. 12. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. http://www.iattc.org/PDFFiles2/FisheryStatusReports/FisheryStatusReport12.pdf

  1. IATTC. 2012. Fishery Status Report No. 10, Tunas and Billfishes in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 2011, IATTC, La Jolla, California, 2012, 166 pages.http://www.iattc.org/PDFFiles2/FisheryStatusReports/FisheryStatusReport10ENG.pdf
  2. Patterson, K. R., and J. Martinez. 1991. Exploitation of the dolphin-fish Coryphaena hippurus L. off Ecuador: analysis by length-based virtual population analysis. Fishbyte 9: 21-23.http://www.worldcat.org/title/fishbyte-newsletter-of-the-network-of-tropical-fisheries-scientists/oclc/22920190
  1. FAO. 2004. Republic of Costa Rica, Fishery Country Profile, FAO of the United Nations, April 2004..http://www.fao.org/fi/oldsite/FCP/en/CRI/profile.htm
  1. FAO. 2006. Perfiles sobre la pesca y la acuicultura por países. Nicaragua. Perfiles sobre la pesca y la acuicultura por países. In: Departamento de Pesca y Acuicultura de la FAO [en línea]. Rome.http://www.fao.org/fishery/countrysector/FI-CP_NI/es
  2. IATTC. 2004. IATTC Resolution C-04-07 on a three year program to mitigate the impact of tuna fishing on Sea turtles, 72nd meeting, Lima, Peru, 14-18 June 2004, IATTC, 2 pages.http://www.iattc.org/PDFFiles2/Resolutions/C-04-07-Sea-turtle-program.pdf
  3. IATTC. 2006. Resolution C-04-05 – Consolidated Resolution on Bycatch, 74th Meeting, 26-30 June 2006, IATTC, 3 pages.http://www.iattc.org/PDFFiles2/Resolutions/C-04-05-REV-2-Bycatch-Jun-2006.pdf
References

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    Common dolphinfish - Eastern Pacific Ocean, IATTC, Costa Rica, Pole-lines hand operated

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