Last updated on 18 February 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Coryphaena hippurus

SPECIES NAME(s)

Common dolphinfish, Mahi-mahi

The stock structure of the species is not truly known at a global scale.  Díaz-Jaimes et al. (2010) studied the inter-oceanic divergence of Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Mediterranean populations but the genetic differentiation is not conclusive. The population structure in the eastern Pacific Ocean is unclear (IATTC 2014). 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) and due to differences in fisheries and management.


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.
  • The IATTC has conducted a stock assessment and Management Strategy Evaluation on mahi mahi in the EPO.
Weaknesses
  • There are few to no management regulations at international or national levels.
  • There are no reference points in place so the status of mahi mahi in the EPO is currently unknown.
  • 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 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).
  • Costa Rica has implemented a number of IATTC sea turtle management measures but has had some compliance issues with regard to providing data on sea turtle interactions to IATTC.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

NOT YET SCORED

Future Health:

NOT YET SCORED


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Work with IATTC Members and Cooperating Non-Members (CPCs) to: 
    • Immediately adopt formal limit and target reference points and develop a harvest control rule.
    • Support continued work towards a full stock assessment of mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean including improved catch, effort, discard and biological data reporting for the target species at the national and IATTC level, including through measures such as electronic logbooks from all fleet segments of the fishery and for the fishery north of the equator.
    • Support continuation of improved catch, effort, and biological data reporting for bycatch species at the national and IATTC level, including through measures such as electronic logbooks from all fleet segments of the fishery and for the fishery north of the equator.
    • Strengthen compliance processes and make information on non-compliance public and continue to provide evidence of compliance with all IATTC Conservation and Management Measures in a timely manner.
    • Increase compliance with the mandatory minimum 5% longline observer coverage rates by identifying and correcting non-compliance. Aim to increase longline observer coverage rates to a minimum of 20% within 5 years and with a long-term goal of 100% (which could include electronic and human observers) on vessels greater than 20 meters length.
  • Identify and mandate the use of best practice bycatch mitigation techniques such as those outlined in the Best Practices in Tuna Longline Fisheries Report
  • 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
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

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.
  • The IATTC has conducted a stock assessment and Management Strategy Evaluation on mahi mahi in the EPO.
Weaknesses
  • There are few to no management regulations at international or national levels.
  • There are no reference points in place so the status of mahi mahi in the EPO is currently unknown.
  • 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
  • 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 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).
  • Costa Rica has implemented a number of IATTC sea turtle management measures but has had some compliance issues with regard to providing data on sea turtle interactions to IATTC.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 16 October 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Work with IATTC Members and Cooperating Non-Members (CPCs) to: 
    • Immediately adopt formal limit and target reference points and develop a harvest control rule.
    • Support continued work towards a full stock assessment of mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean including improved catch, effort, discard and biological data reporting for the target species at the national and IATTC level, including through measures such as electronic logbooks from all fleet segments of the fishery and for the fishery north of the equator.
    • Support continuation of improved catch, effort, and biological data reporting for bycatch species at the national and IATTC level, including through measures such as electronic logbooks from all fleet segments of the fishery and for the fishery north of the equator.
    • Strengthen compliance processes and make information on non-compliance public and continue to provide evidence of compliance with all IATTC Conservation and Management Measures in a timely manner.
    • Increase compliance with the mandatory minimum 5% longline observer coverage rates by identifying and correcting non-compliance. Aim to increase longline observer coverage rates to a minimum of 20% within 5 years and with a long-term goal of 100% (which could include electronic and human observers) on vessels greater than 20 meters length.
  • Identify and mandate the use of best practice bycatch mitigation techniques such as those outlined in the Best Practices in Tuna Longline Fisheries Report
  • 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 6 July 2018

The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) conducted an exploratory stock assessment of mahi mahi in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 2016 (Aires-da-Silva et al. 2016). The assessment was conducted using the Stock Synthesis model. The model assumed monthly time steps between 2007 and 2014 and included length specific information and catch data from Peru and Ecuador and catch rate series from Ecuador (Aires-da-Silva et al. 2016).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 6 July 2018

The status of mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean is uncertain because there are no reference points in place to assess the current biomass and fishing mortality rates against sustainable levels (Aires-da-Silva et al. 2016). Scientific advice related to management has not been provided.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 6 July 2018

The current status of mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean is uncertain because reference points are not in place to assess the current biomass and fishing mortality rates against. There are yearly fluctuations in biomass of mahi mahi in the south eastern Pacific Ocean. Peaks in biomass are typically seen in fall and winter, declining to lower levels during May and June. Overall, the biomass of mahi mahi has remained stable during the modeled time period (2007-2014). Recruitment shows inter-annual variability. Fishing mortality estimates ranged from 0.53 to 0.85 between 2007 and 2014 (Aires-da-Silva et al. 2016).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT
IATTC

There are curretly no management measures in place for mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean through the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 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.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica does not currently have any management plan in place for Mahi mahi. Costa Rica is a member of the the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), the regional fishery management organization in charge of tuna and tuna like species in the eastern Pacific Ocean. However, IATTC does not currently have any management measures in place for mahi mahi.

COMPLIANCE
IATTC

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

Costa Rica

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).

Drifting longlines

Last updated on 8 April 2015

According to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, Costa Rica had noted compliance issues with providing catch data forvessels less than 24 m in length and has not provided information on their progress implementing the FAO turtle guidelines during 2012, but this was provided during 2013 {IATTC 2013}.There is no TAC in place for mahi mahi.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
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 captured 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 required on 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
Drifting longlines

Last updated on 8 April 2015

By-catch has been quantified through the observer program since 1999, for the pelagic longline fleet targeting Mahi mahi in Costa Rican waters (Whoriskey et al., 2011).

There is problematic bycatch of turtles and marine mammals in this fishery. For example, for every 1000 hooks fished around 19 turtles are caught in Costa Rican waters (Swimmer et al., 2011). Bycatch data from the observer program (1999 to 2008) for the pelagic longline fleet targeting Mahi mahi reveals a high incidental catch and mortality of sea turtles. Bycatch rates are as follows: olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea; 9.05 per 1000 hooks), green turtle (Chelonia mydas; n = 49, mean = 0.35 per 1000 hooks), (Arauz 2002, 2004; Whoriskey et al., 2011). New modifications in the gears could avoid entanglement of turtles, which has been estimated as the mayor cause of by catch. Costa Rica has an executive decree in place that requires the use of circle hooks, to reduce sea turtle interactions, but there have historically been concerns with compliance. According to Costa Rica’s 2013 compliance report to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), they have implemented the FAO Guidelines for turtle, enhanced the implementation of sea turtle bycatch reduction measures, requires vessels to carry and use equipment to release incidentally captured sea turtle. However, Costa Rica has not complied with providing data on all sea turtle interactions in the fishery {IATTC 2013b}.

Other 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
Drifting longlines

Last updated on 8 April 2015

There is problematic bycatch of sharks in this fishery. The expansion of fishing activities in the Costa Rican EEZ targeting large pelagics such as Mahi mahi, tunas and sharks have caused a decline in populations of sharks and sailfish along the coastline (Ehrhardt and Fitchett 2006).

Bycatch data from the observer program (1999 to 2008) for the pelagic longline fleet targeting Mahi mahi reveals a high incidental catch and mortality of sharks and sting rays. Bycatch rates are as follows: silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis; 2.96 per 1000 hooks), thresher sharks (Alopias sp.; mean = 1.12 per 1000 hooks), and pelagic sting rays mean = 4.77 per 1000 hooks (Arauz 2002, 2004; Whoriskey et al., 2011).

Costa Rica has implemented the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) management measure prohibiting the retention of oceanic whitetip sharks but has had poor success with providing data on any interactions with oceanic whitetip sharks. Costa Rica requires fins be naturally attached {IATTC 2013b}.

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. 

IATTC
Costa Rica

No spatial or temporal closures are in place to protect mahi mahi or other pelagic species, which are targeted by Costa rican longliners throughout the year (Whoriskey et al., 2011).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 9 August 2018

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2016 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 2016 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

IATTC is beginning to assess mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean but there is currently no set TAC to measure compliance against.

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

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

STOCK HEALTH:

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.
No data available for stock status
No data available for stock status
DATA NOTES

Scores 1-5 were scored qualitatively because there are no set TAC's and no reference points in place.

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, Drifting longlines

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