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Profile updated on 5 September 2019

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 (Valero et al. 2019). 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
  • A National Plan of Action of Dolphinfish was implemented in Ecuador in 2011 including short and long term objectives for the fishery of this resource.
  • The Dolphinfish Consultative Council was created in 2011 as an instrument for the public and private sectors to discuss matters related to dolphinfish and support the Ministry in the formation of policies.
  • There is an annual seasonal closure of the fishery to minimize the catch of sub-legal fish and a minimum catch size is in place.
  • The impact on bottom habitats is non-existent.
  • There are National Plans in place for the protection of shaks and sea turtles
  • The impact on sea turtles, marine mammals and seabirds of this fishery is low or negligible.
  • The degree of coverage of observers is higher (around 15%) than mandated through IATTC (5%).
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.
  • No reference points have been established for dolphinfish in Ecuador and management doesn't include a harvest control rule.

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: 
    • Include mahi-mahi as a target species within the IATTC research plan, prioritizing the development of studies aimed at determining the stock structure.
    • Support continued work towards the development of regular stock assessments of mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean on the basis of improved catch, effort, discard and biological data reported for the 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.
    • Provide advice for the adoption of formal limit and target reference points as well as for the development of a harvest control rule at the stock level.
    • Assess the effects of FADs on mahi mahi populations.
    • Support continuation of improved catch, effort, and biological data reporting for bycatch species at the national and IATTC level.
    • 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.
  • Work with management authorities from producing countries to assess the best regional management tool and establish an appropriate regional governance arrangement to coordinate and align management systems.

  • 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

  • Ecuador mahi-mahi - longline:

    Stage 5, Progress Rating A

CERTIFICATIONS

  • Ecuador Mahi mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) longline fishery:

    MSC Full Assessment

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 5 September 2019

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
IATTC
Ecuador

Last updated on 5 September 2019

  • A National Plan of Action of Dolphinfish was implemented in Ecuador in 2011 including short and long term objectives for the fishery of this resource.
  • The Dolphinfish Consultative Council was created in 2011 as an instrument for the public and private sectors to discuss matters related to dolphinfish and support the Ministry in the formation of policies.
  • There is an annual seasonal closure of the fishery to minimize the catch of sub-legal fish and a minimum catch size is in place.
  • The impact on bottom habitats is non-existent.
  • There are National Plans in place for the protection of shaks and sea turtles
Drifting longlines

Last updated on 5 September 2019

  • The impact on sea turtles, marine mammals and seabirds of this fishery is low or negligible.
  • The degree of coverage of observers is higher (around 15%) than mandated through IATTC (5%).
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
Ecuador

Last updated on 5 September 2019

  • No reference points have been established for dolphinfish in Ecuador and management doesn't include a harvest control rule.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 19 August 2019

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Work with IATTC Members and Cooperating Non-Members (CPCs) to: 
    • Include mahi-mahi as a target species within the IATTC research plan, prioritizing the development of studies aimed at determining the stock structure.
    • Support continued work towards the development of regular stock assessments of mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean on the basis of improved catch, effort, discard and biological data reported for the 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.
    • Provide advice for the adoption of formal limit and target reference points as well as for the development of a harvest control rule at the stock level.
    • Assess the effects of FADs on mahi mahi populations.
    • Support continuation of improved catch, effort, and biological data reporting for bycatch species at the national and IATTC level.
    • 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.
  • Work with management authorities from producing countries to assess the best regional management tool and establish an appropriate regional governance arrangement to coordinate and align management systems.

  • 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 5 September 2019

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)

The model is considered a promising methodology for conducting stock assessments and adequate to know the species stock status in this Pacific Ocean region. In general, the model captures the monthly dynamic of the resource (CPUE) and the size selectivity allows the estimate of annual recruitment, the summary biomass (B) and the spawning stock biomass (SSB). In addition, there are estimates of maximum sustainable yield (MSY). However, the yield-per-recruit (YPR) analysis shows a flat-topped yield, which hinders the definition of the required fishing mortality for achieving MSY (FMSY).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 5 September 2019

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 but the IATTC Scientific Committee has recommended the IATTC staff continue working with countries to determine the stock status of mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean (Personnel Communication, IATTC SAC 2019).

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

Last updated on 15 August 2019

The current management structure of mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) is unclear. The Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) in the EPO is the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), which operates under the "Antigua Convention". Fish stocks covered by the Convention are defined as "stocks of tunas and tuna-like species and other species of fish taken by vessels fishing for tunas and tuna-like species in the Convention Area" (IATTC 2010). Mahi mahi is both targeted in directed fisheries and caught as bycatch in tuna fisheries, so it is unclear what role IATTC has or should have in the management of this species. At the request of coastal IATTC State Members, IATTC facilitated three technical meetings on mahi mahi (IATTC 2016) (IATTC 2014).  IATTC has undertaken an exploratory stock assessment of mahi mahi in the EPO (Aires-da-Silva et al. 2016), and conducted an exploratory management strategy evaluation (MSE) (Valero et al. 2016), but has not adopted any management measures. Management so far has occurred at the national level, with management objectives for mahi mahi vary across the EPO (Valero et al. 2019). Until the role of IATTC in the management (or not) of mahi mahi has been publicly defined, we will assume IATTC is the current management unit (under the FishSource definition of management unit). 

Ecuador

Last updated on 5 September 2019

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries (MAGAP) is the entity resposible for the management of the Ecuadorian fisheries.

There are not quotas for this stock. Reference points have not been set as the state of the stock has not been determined. At present there are no clear guidelines on the actions to be taken in case of decline of the stock (Agujetas 2018).

At the national (Ecuadorian) level, the main regulations established to manage dolphinfish are:

  • Ministerial Agreement 023 of February 14th 2011 (MAGAP 2011) establishing the Dolphinfish National Plan of Action (NPOA) as an organizing tool for the conservation, management and eco-certification of dolphinfish (see objectives below).
  • Ministerial Agreement 055 of April 16th 2011 (MAGAP 2011), articles 1 and 2 of which establish the Dolphinfish Consultative Council " as an instrument for the public and private sectors to discuss matters related to dolphinfish, to support the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fishing in the formation of strategies and policies to strengthen the management, sustainable use, production and competitiveness of the dolphinfish value chain" (MAGAP-SRP 2013). The Council will review the progress of the NPOA on an annual basis.
  • Ministerial Agreement 070 of May 19th 2011 (MAGAP 2011), which establishes a total seasonal closure for the targeted dolphinfish fishery from July 1st to October 7th each year and ratifies a previously established minimum catch size of 80 cm total length for dolphinfish. During the ban season, however, up to 2% and 8% of dolphinfish caught as bycatch can be landed by industrial and artisanal fishing vessels, respectively.
  • Additional measures implemented by Ecuadorian authorities are the use of VMS, voluntary logbooks and a policy to change from J-hooks to circle hooks (Trumble 2015).

The Second edition of the NPOA for the Management and Conservation of Dolphinfish was published in 2013 and provides explicit short-term and long-term objectives for the Ecuadorian dolphinfish fishery. However, “it is not clear that the objectives for dolphinfish have been developed within the IATTC” (Trumble 2015). The Undersecretariat of Fishing Resources is the key institution responsible for the implementation of the NPOA. The specific objectives of the NPOA are:

  1. Establish regulation measures based on scientific evidence in order to improve management conservation of dolphinfish,
  2. Establish a control system which facilitates the traceability of the resource,
  3. Involve, train and raise awareness among the members of the community in matters related to the management and conservation of the resource,
  4. Generate scientific information that can inform management and
  5. Reduce bycatch of the fishery.

A recent report stated that "the advantages, disadvantages and feasibility of moving to management strategies reliant on reference points and HCRs, in terms of both the increasing need for analyses (stock assessments or empirical indicators) and of implementing management changes, are still not clear" (Valero et al. 2019)(IATTC 2019).

Drifting longlines

Last updated on 5 September 2019

At the national (Ecuadorian) level, the main regulations that affect the long-line fishery are:

  • Ministerial Agreement 407 of October 12th 2011 (MAGAP 2011), which define the characteristics of longline fishing vessels and sets a maximum of 10 smaller “fiberglass” type vessels to be towed by “mothership” vessels.
  • Ministerial Agreement 204 of December 29th 2011(MAGAP 2011), which establishes the Unified Observer Program for the Ecuadorian longline fleet for 10% of this fleet’s fishing trips.
  • Additional measures implemented by Ecuadorian authorities are the use of VMS, voluntary logbooks and a policy to change from J-hooks to circle hooks (Trumble 2015).

This fishery is currently under assessment for MSC certification. The MSC fishery announcement was done in February 2019 and the final report is scheduled to be delivered in December 2019. Since there are no reference points available to assess the target stock status, the assessment will follow a risk-based framework (MSC 2019).

COMPLIANCE
IATTC

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

Ecuador

Last updated on 5 September 2019

There are not set quotas for this stock in Ecuador, but the non-compliance levels with current regulations are considered to ve low (Agujetas 2018)

According to (Agujetas 2018), enforcement and compliance have improved since 2015, when the last fishery improvement project ( FIP) review took place (Trumble 2015). There are fishing licenses in place, the use of fishing logbooks to register catch data is compulsory and there is a mandate for using VMS for mother-ships. The number of inspectors has increased from 85 during the previous review of the FIP to 220 and there are 35 inspectorates countrywide conducting landing controls at ports and landing beaches for single fiberglass boats. Traceability has also increased due to the existence of landing certificates and product transport guides.

It should be placed particular attention to the 44 % rate of fish below the minimum landing size registered in landings monitored at fishing locations of Esmeraldas and Manta (Agujetas 2018).

Drifting longlines

Last updated on 5 September 2019

The long-line fleet observer program covered 15.6% of the days of fishing in 2018 (last year with data) (MPCEIP 2019), more than twice the level of coverage mandated under the IATTC which is 5% (IATTC 2011).

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
Ecuador

Last updated on 5 September 2019

Information of bycatch of ETP species comes from data collected within Ecuador’s National Plan for the Conservation of Sea Turtles, the longline fleet observer program, the inspections at port, as well as the Research undertaken by the SRP about the incidence of sharks and sea turtles in the fishery (Agujetas 2018).

Five species of sea turtles inhabit Ecuadorian waters: olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea; “vulnerable” according to IUCN), green (Chelonias mydas agassiz; “endangered”), loggerhead (Caretta caretta, “endangered”), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea, “critically endangered”) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbrincata, “critically endangered”). Their conservation is managed through the National Plan for Sea Turtles of Ecuador (Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador 2014).

Retained sharks are managed through the National Plan of Action for Sharks (CONAPESCA-INP 2004)

Drifting longlines

Last updated on 5 September 2019


Since 2004, a program aimed at minimizing the impact of the long-line fishery on turtle populations is running promoted by the Ecuadorian Government (MAGAP-SRP 2013). Ecuador has since long implemented a policy to change from J-hooks to circle hooks (link), which includes reducing the import tariff of circle hooks (Seafood Watch 2013).

The last report of the Ecuadorian authorities to the IATTC (in the context of the long-line observer program) provided data on the amount of ETP species caught in 2018 (MPCEIP 2019). Elasmobranchs represented 10.2% of the catch in numbers of individuals, being the blue shark (Prionace glauca; classified as "nearly threatened" by IUCN), the pelagic thresher (Alopias pelagicus; "vulnerable") and the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis; "vulnerable") the three most abundant species. A small amount of blue marlin (Makaira nigricans, "vulnerable") was also reported in the catch. Sea turtles represented a negligible part of the catch with only two olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea; "vulnerable") caught and released alive.  A broader perspective of the interaction with sea turtles can be obtained from a longer-term analysis of data from observers from 2008 to 2012, which registered interactions with sea turtles in 14.1% of the sets accounting for a total catch of 153 turtles, mainly olive ridley turtles (L. olivacea; 112 individuals) and green turtle (C. mydas; 32 individuals). Nost of those (88.6%) were released alive or in good shape, and 11.4 % were released with serious injuries (Agujetas 2018). It is concluded that the impact of the fishery on the sea turtle populations is low.

No interactions with seabirds or marine mammals have been reported for the Ecuador longline mahi mahi (Agujetas 2018).

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
Ecuador

Last updated on 5 September 2019

The dolphinfish fishery in Ecuador is highly selective. Bycatch, in general, is very low, since it is a highly targeted fishery. With regard to mother-ships, mahi mahi represents 98.38 % of the total catches. (Agujetas 2018).

Drifting longlines

Last updated on 5 September 2019

The long-line fishery for large pelagics in Ecuador is a multispecific fishery. According to the last observer report from Ecuadorian authorities to the IATTC (MPCEIP 2019), the catch is composed of 89.7% of teleosts (in number of individuals), 10.3% of sharks and a negligible proportion of turtles. Besides mahi mahi (63%) the most abundant teleost fish species in 2018 were, according to the Ecuadorian Observers Program, Xiphias gladius (29.8%), Thunnus albacares (2.7%) and Thunnus obesus (3.4%).

Analysis from the fishery improvement project report stated that there are virtually no discards in this fishery (Agujetas 2018). Pelagic rays are the most common discard and they are mostly released alive (Trumble 2015).

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
Ecuador

There is very detailed information on seafloor types (Terán, 2006) off Ecuador and most priority habitats such as coral reefs or mangrove swamps have been identified and mapped by the Ministry of the Environment and made available through the Environmental Interactive Map in 2015. There is no habitat management strategy for seafloor habitats in Ecuador, and management is limited to some opportunistic measures. For instance, the first mile from coast is closed to fishing to protect the reproduction of species and indirectly the bottom habitats. The first eight miles from coast are reserved for artisanal fishing and industrial activities are prohibited (MAP 1990). A network of 21 Coastal and Marine Natural Protected Areas (AMCPs) were created in 2017 (Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador 2017). The Ministry of Environment is the entity responsible for controlling  fisheries into these marine protected areas. However, it is expected that dolphinfish do not benefit from the existence of these marine reserves due to its highly migratory and pelagic nature.

The fishing gears used in this fishery do not contact the bottom and as such do not represent a thread or have any impact on benthic habitats.

ECOSYSTEM
IATTC
Ecuador

Last updated on 5 September 2019

Dolphinfish are considered to be a mid-trophic level species (Froese and Pauly 2017). The pelagic ecosystem in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean has been an object of research and it is well described. Models have been developed to describe the ecosystem dynamics, structure and functioning (Olson and Watters 2003) but the impact of the dolphinfish fishery on the whole ecosystem has not been assessed. The are multiple sources of information that help to determine the impact on the ecosystem (although not in a fully integrative way yet; see below) such as data from the observers program, fishing logbooks, VMS data, controls at ports, specific analysis of the status of sea turtles in Ecuadorian waters (Agujetas 2018).

The NPOA (MAGAP-SRP 2013) incorporates an ecosystem-based fishery management element. However, the NPOA does not include any specific management measure to maintain the structure and function of the ecosystem (MAGAP-SRP 2013) and there is no evidence yet to prove that the existing management measures address all the potential impacts to the ecosystem (Agujetas 2018). In spite of this, the fishery has some features that contribute to the good state of the whole ecosystem. For instance, there is a harvest strategy in place based on a seasonal closure, a minimum landing size and effort restrictions which good enforcement. There are national plans for the conservations of sharks (Ministerio de Comercio Exterior, Industrialización y Pesca 2006) and sea turtles (Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador 2014). In addition, the use of circular hooks is promoted. Based on all the information collected by the SRP on the fishery and the stock assessment undertaken by IATTC in 2016 (Aires-da-Silva et al. 2016), it can be stated that "the mahi mahi stock remains stable at the Southern EPO, likely above the point where recruitment would be impaired, and the fishery does not currently pose a risk for bycatch or ETP species". 

Drifting longlines

Last updated on 5 September 2019

The observer program for the long line fishery plays, according to the NPOA, a fundamental role in assessing the possible ecosystem impact, and complements the work conducted by dockside inspectors who are tasked with overseeing compliance of seasonal closures and other measures (MAGAP-SRP 2013).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 3 September 2019

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2019 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There are explicit short- and long-term objectives for mahi mahi in Ecuador in the National Plan of Action of Dolphinfish (Agujetas, 2018). However, there are not set quotas and reference points have not been established, so there is no harvest control rule in place for this fishery(Agujetas, 2018).

As calculated for 2019 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

A National Plan of Action of Dolphinfish was implemented in 2011 in Ecuador (MAGAP, 2011). Other management measures such as closed seasons and minimum sizes have been implemented. However reference points have not been established and quotas have not been set.

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

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

STOCK HEALTH:

ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS

Click on the score to see subscore

Click on the score to see subscore

Click on the score to see subscore

×

Bycatch Subscores

The Ecuadorian Government provides an estimate of main bycatch species in the National Plan of Action for Dolphinfish (MAGAP-SRP 2013). Bycatch of ETP species is not routinely monitored and no formal assessment of the impact of the fishery on ETP species has been conducted, but there are some studies on the impact and mortality of seaturtles in the dolphinfish fishery (Andraka et al. 2013)(Barragán et al. 2003)(Largacha et al. 2005).

Sea turtles are the main group of ETP species that interact with the dolphinfish fishery in Ecuador. Both incidental catches and entanglements have been reported, but the PNOA of dolphinfish states that the rate of sucessful liberation is very high (MAGAP-SRP 2013). Interaction with sharks seems to be uncommon (Andraka et al. 2013).

Dolphinfish fishery is highly selective with >95% of the individuals belonging to the target species, meaning that there are no main bycatch species in this fishery (MAGAP-SRP 2013)(Trumble 2015).

Ecuador has implemented National Plans for Sharks and Sea Turtles to improve the conservation and management of these groups of species. There is a policy of replacing J-hooks with circle hooks to minimize the impact on seaturtles (MAGAP-SRP 2013).

×

Habitat Subscores

Dolphinfish in Ecuador is targeted with pelagic gears that do not impact the seabed (Trumble 2015).

I think this should score 6 because there is some reliable information - guidance says this can include generic informaiton (AM).

Dolphinfish in Ecuador is targeted with pelagic gears that do not impact the seabed (Trumble 2015).

I think the distribution/seasonal pattern of mahi is well known in the EPO and this should score higher - 8 (AM)

Dolphinfish in Ecuador is targeted with pelagic gears that do not impact the seabed, so no interaction with bottom habitats occur (Trumble 2015).

Can you use another reference or one used in this report? (AM)

Dolphinfish in Ecuador is targeted with pelagic gears that do not impact the seabed (Trumble 2015).

This should score 6 'no measures are in place' (AM)

×

Ecosystem Subscores

There is not enough information to allow for an assessment of the impact of the dolphinfish fishery on the whole ecosystem (Seafood Watch 2013) (IATTC 2017).

The pelagic ecosystem in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean has been object of research and it is well described. Models have been developed in the past to describe the ecosystem dynamics, structure and functioning (Olson and Watters 2003). However, such studies are not part of an ecosystem management scheme, but rather opportunistic research

The NPOA (MAGAP-SRP 2013) incorporates an ecosystem-based fishery management element. But it does not include any specific management measure to maintain the structure and function of the ecosystem (Trumble 2015).

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.

IATTC
Ecuador

Last updated on 5 September 2019

  • ​Scores about management strategy and managers' compliance with scientific advice are provided in a qualitative way as there is not enough information to provide quantitative scores.

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

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Access FIP Public Report

Progress Rating: A
Evaluation Start Date: 31 May 2014
Type: Comprehensive

Comments:

FIP has entered MSC Full Assessment (25 Feb 2019). 

1.
FIP Development
Jul 15
2.
FIP Launch
Aug 16
May 18
3.
FIP Implementation
Aug 18
4.
Improvements in Fishing Practices and Fishery Management
May 18
5.
Improvements on the Water
Dec 15
6.
MSC certification (optional)
MSC certificate made public

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

Ecuador Mahi mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) longline fishery

STATUS

MSC Full Assessment

SCORES

Certification Type:

Sources

Credits

SFP is grateful to the Global Sustainable Supply Chains for Marine Commodities (GMC) project for contributing to the development and update of this profile at several node levels. GMC is an interregional initiative implemented by Ministries and Bureaus of Fisheries and Planning of Costa Rica, Ecuador, Indonesia, and the Philippines, with technical support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), facilitated by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. IATTC. 2014b. Fishery status report No. 12. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. http://www.iattc.org/PDFFiles2/FisheryStatusReports/FisheryStatusReport12.pdf
  9. 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
References

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    Common dolphinfish - Eastern Pacific Ocean, IATTC, Ecuador, Drifting longlines

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