Last updated on 19 February 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Xiphias gladius

SPECIES NAME(s)

Swordfish

Genetic studies have been inconclusive on the population structure of swordfish in the Indian Ocean. They are assessed at the regional level with a sub-assessment conducted for the SW Indian Ocean population (IOTC 2013).


ANALYSIS

Strengths

Stock assessments have been carried out regularly using a range of assessment methods. The reliability of the estimates of total catch has continued to improve over the past few years and the aggregate population is considered healthy and fishing mortality rates are sustainable{IOTC 2014}. The IOTC adopted a measure to implement the precautionary approach in 2012, which includes the use of stock-specific reference points, associated harvest control rules, the ability to enact emergency measures in the face of natural phenomena having a negative impact on resources, and to evaluate the performance of reference points and potential harvest control rules through management strategy evaluation {IOTC 2013c}. The IOTC recently adopted additional measures (i.e. countries are to provide a record of vessels authorized to operate in the IOTC area) to aid in controlling IUU fishing {IOTC 2013c}.

Weaknesses

Although important progress in the quality and quantity of analyses have been conducted, the stock structure of swordfish in the Indian Ocean is still uncertain – potentially allowing for localized depletion in regions such as the southwest Indian Ocean {IOTC 2013}. Currently, there are no catch limits for Swordfish stock in the southwest Indian Ocean despite scientific advice {IOTC 2013}. IUU fishing and piracy has been a major issue in the Indian Ocean and there are compliance issues with regard to the quality of reported data {IOTC 2013b}. Observer coverage rates in this fishery are low and there is a lack of information on bycatch of ETP species including sharks, sea turtles, sea birds and marine mammals. Few bycatch mitigation methods have been adopted by the IOTC.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

< 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

10

Future Health:

9


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Ensure member countries comply with all Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s (IOTC’s) conservation and management measures (CMMs), including measures aimed at both target and incidental market and non-market species, and all other obligations. Through your delegation to IOTC, encourage the compliance committee to make information on non-compliance by individual members and cooperating non-members publicly available in order to increase the incentive for compliance by all IOTC members and cooperating non-members.
2. Promote the adoption by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) of precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures, including formal biological reference points (interim currently in place), harvest control rules, increased observer coverage for longline fleets, and monitoring efforts adequate to ensure harvest strategy objectives are being met. Adopt domestic laws and regulation to implement IOTC measures and provide monitoring and surveillance adequate for compliance. Encourage IOTC and parties to comply with current required onboard observer coverage rates.
3. Encourage member countries to improve data collection, reporting and analysis to reduce uncertainty in stock assessments. Catches of swordfish in the southwest Indian Ocean catches should be limited to below 6,000 t to allow the population to rebuild.
4. Encourage IOTC to conduct studies, increase monitoring where needed to meet scientific recommendations and make resulting datasets available for assessments of longline interactions with endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species and other bycatch species. Call upon IOTC to identify and mandate best practices bycatch mitigation techniques and to adopt other management measures such as size and catch limits for species such as sharks. Comply with recently adopted IOTC management measures prohibiting the retention of oceanic whitetip and thresher sharks.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  1. Ask the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and individual member countries to adopt precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures including effective harvest strategies and to increase observer coverage in fisheries where this is needed to meet scientific recommendations.
  2. Require your suppliers to source only from fisheries that comply with all IOTC Conservation and Management Measures, and request that IOTC make information on compliance by members and cooperating non-members publicly available. An example of how this might be achieved is a control document that ensures recording and reporting interactions, and prohibition on retaining thresher and oceanic whitetip sharks.
  3. 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. .
  4. Contact SFP to learn more about fishery improvement projects (FIPs) and SFP’s Supplier Roundtables.

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 Indonesia Drifting longlines
Handlines hand operated
Korea, Republic of Longlines
Maldives Hooks and lines
Portugal Longlines
South Africa Longlines
Spain Longlines
Sri Lanka Drift gillnets
Drifting longlines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 23 June 2015

Strengths

Stock assessments have been carried out regularly using a range of assessment methods. The reliability of the estimates of total catch has continued to improve over the past few years and the aggregate population is considered healthy and fishing mortality rates are sustainable{IOTC 2014}. The IOTC adopted a measure to implement the precautionary approach in 2012, which includes the use of stock-specific reference points, associated harvest control rules, the ability to enact emergency measures in the face of natural phenomena having a negative impact on resources, and to evaluate the performance of reference points and potential harvest control rules through management strategy evaluation {IOTC 2013c}. The IOTC recently adopted additional measures (i.e. countries are to provide a record of vessels authorized to operate in the IOTC area) to aid in controlling IUU fishing {IOTC 2013c}.

Weaknesses

Although important progress in the quality and quantity of analyses have been conducted, the stock structure of swordfish in the Indian Ocean is still uncertain – potentially allowing for localized depletion in regions such as the southwest Indian Ocean {IOTC 2013}. Currently, there are no catch limits for Swordfish stock in the southwest Indian Ocean despite scientific advice {IOTC 2013}. IUU fishing and piracy has been a major issue in the Indian Ocean and there are compliance issues with regard to the quality of reported data {IOTC 2013b}. Observer coverage rates in this fishery are low and there is a lack of information on bycatch of ETP species including sharks, sea turtles, sea birds and marine mammals. Few bycatch mitigation methods have been adopted by the IOTC.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 1 July 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Ensure member countries comply with all Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s (IOTC’s) conservation and management measures (CMMs), including measures aimed at both target and incidental market and non-market species, and all other obligations. Through your delegation to IOTC, encourage the compliance committee to make information on non-compliance by individual members and cooperating non-members publicly available in order to increase the incentive for compliance by all IOTC members and cooperating non-members.
2. Promote the adoption by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) of precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures, including formal biological reference points (interim currently in place), harvest control rules, increased observer coverage for longline fleets, and monitoring efforts adequate to ensure harvest strategy objectives are being met. Adopt domestic laws and regulation to implement IOTC measures and provide monitoring and surveillance adequate for compliance. Encourage IOTC and parties to comply with current required onboard observer coverage rates.
3. Encourage member countries to improve data collection, reporting and analysis to reduce uncertainty in stock assessments. Catches of swordfish in the southwest Indian Ocean catches should be limited to below 6,000 t to allow the population to rebuild.
4. Encourage IOTC to conduct studies, increase monitoring where needed to meet scientific recommendations and make resulting datasets available for assessments of longline interactions with endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species and other bycatch species. Call upon IOTC to identify and mandate best practices bycatch mitigation techniques and to adopt other management measures such as size and catch limits for species such as sharks. Comply with recently adopted IOTC management measures prohibiting the retention of oceanic whitetip and thresher sharks.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  1. Ask the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and individual member countries to adopt precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures including effective harvest strategies and to increase observer coverage in fisheries where this is needed to meet scientific recommendations.
  2. Require your suppliers to source only from fisheries that comply with all IOTC Conservation and Management Measures, and request that IOTC make information on compliance by members and cooperating non-members publicly available. An example of how this might be achieved is a control document that ensures recording and reporting interactions, and prohibition on retaining thresher and oceanic whitetip sharks.
  3. 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. .
  4. Contact SFP to learn more about fishery improvement projects (FIPs) and SFP’s Supplier Roundtables.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 20 September 2018

Swordfish in the Indian Ocean were last assessed in 2017.  Several models including, Stock Synthesis 3, ASPIC, SCAA and BSP were used. The Stock Synthesis 3 model was determined to most likely represent the current status of swordfish in the Indian Ocean.  This model is spatially disaggregated, sex explicit and age structured. Information from 12 seperate fisheries was used in the assessment. The model included information on catches, discards, catch per unit effort from some longline fisheries, and size/age trends from 2950 through to 2015. A grid approach was used to quantify uncertainties in the model. The assessment treats swordfish as a single stock. In previous assessments information for swordfish from the southwest Indian Ocean was presented seperately but this is no longer done (IOTC 2017)

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 20 September 2018

The 2017 assessment indicated recent catches are at maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels. The Scientific Committee's management advice is that catches should not be increased beyond MSY levels (31,590 t) (IOTC 2017)

Reference Points

Reference points for Swordfish in the Indian Ocean Tuna commission Area (IOTC 2017)


2016 catch estimate: 31,407 tonnes
Average Catches (2012-2016): 31,142 tonnes
MSY: 31,590 (26,300-45,500) tonnes
SB2015/SBMSY : 1.50 (1.05-2.45)
F2015/FMSY : 0.76 (0.41-1.04)
SB2015/SB0 : 0.31 (0.26-0.43)

 

 

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 20 September 2018

Swordfish in the Indian Ocean are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring (IOTC 2017)

Trends

The current biomass of swordfish has been reduced to around 31% of virgin levels and is well above levels needed to produce the maximum sustainable yield.  There is a very low risk of the population becoming overfished over the next decade. Fishing mortality rates for swordfish in the Indian Ocean are well below levels needed to produce the maximum sustainable yield.  Recent catches of swordfish have been right around maximum sustainable yield levels (IOTC 2017).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 20 September 2018

There is one overarching species specific management measure for swordfish in the Indian Ocean, which limits the fishing capacity to 2007 levels. Other measures which also apply to swordfish include: recording of catch and effort information, recording of licensed and authorized foreign fishing vessels, regional observer program and maintaining a record of active fishing vessels (IOTC 2014).

Recovery Plans

There is no recovery plan in place but swordfish populations are healthy, except in the southwest Indian Ocean (IOTC 2017).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 23 January 2012

The Compliance Committee indicated that reporting of mandatory statistics is generally poor, due to incomplete and/or poorly documented data, although an improvement was noted in 2012 {IOTC 2013b}.There is no TAC in place but fishing effort has been reduced since effort limitations were put into place {IOTC 2013}.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 27 February 2014

Bycatch of seabirds and sea turtles in pelagic longline fisheries threatens some populations with extinction (Gilman, 2011). Bycatch of several vulnerable species groups has been documented in gillnet fisheries (e.g., Gilman et al., 2009). There are sea bird mitigation measures being used by some longline fleets in the Indian Ocean, which appear to have been successful at reducing interactions. The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission has implemented management measures for sea bird and sea turtles{IOTC 2013}.However, additional research on mitigation measures is warranted and continued monitoring of current mitigation measures and their effectiveness is needed.

Other Species

Last updated on 23 January 2012

Sharks and other fish species are also captured in longline fisheries. Total bycatch levels for the Indian Ocean longline fishery have been estimated to be 6%. Interactions with sharks continue to be problematic in this region because several large fleets use wire instead of monofilament leaders (making it difficult for sharks to escape capture).Blue and shortfin mako sharks are the two most commonly captured shark species {Adrill et al. 2013}.The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission has implemented some shark specific regulations {IOTC 2013}.However, additional research on mitigation measures is warranted as are additional management measures, such as bycatch limits.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 20 September 2018

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There are provisional target and limit reference points in place. There is one species specific management measure in place. The IOTC adopted a precautionary management approach in 2012 that will utilize reference points, harvest control rules and management strategy evaluation.

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Managers do not limit catches through TACs, but the aggregate biomass is healthy at current fishing levels. Recent advice was to limit catches of swordfish which has not been followed.

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is < 6.

There are significant issues with the quality of data reported by individual countries to the Commission.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is 10.0.

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

The Ratio SSB/SSBmsy is 1.50 . The SSB=SSBmsy is 1.00 .

The underlying Ratio SSB/SSBmsy/SSB=SSBmsy for this index is 150%.

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is 9.0.

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

The Ratio F/Fmsy is 0.760 . The F management target is 1.00 .

The underlying Ratio F/Fmsy/F management target for this index is 76.0%.

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
1. Qualitative scores have been assigned for 1 to 3 (Management Quality)

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

Adrill, D., Itano, D. and Gillett, R.2013.A review of bycatch and discard issues in Indian Ocean tuna fisheries.
Smartfish working Papers.Available at:http://www.iotc.org/files/proceedings/2012/wpeb/IOTC-2012-WPEB08-INF20.pdf

IOTC. 2011. Report of the Fourteenth Session of the IOTC Scientific Committee. Mahé, Seychelles, 12–17 December 2011. IOTC–2011–SC14–R[E]: 259 pp.

IOTC. 2012. Status summary for billfish species under the IOTC mandate, IOTC-2012-WPB10-R(E), Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, 1 p.

IOTC. 2013. Status of southwest Indian Ocean swordfish (SWO: Xiphias gladius) resource. IOTC-2013-SC16-ES16[E]. Available at: http://www.iotc.org/files/proceedings/2013/sc/IOTC-2013-SC16-ES16[E].pdf

IOTC. 2013b. Summary report on the level of compliance. IOTC-2013-CoC10-03. Available at: http://www.iotc.org/files/proceedings/2013/coc/IOTC-2013-CoC10-03%5BE%5D.pdf

IOTC.2013c.Compendium of active and pending conservation and management measures for the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. September 15, 2013. Available at: http://www.iotc.org/files/CMM/IOTC%20-%20Compendium%20of%20ACTIVE%20CMMs%2015%20September%202013.pdf
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.

  1. Gilman, E, Gearhart, J., Price, B., Eckert, S., Milliken, J., Wang, J., Swimmer, Y., Shiode, D., Abe, O., Peckham, S., Chaloupka, M., Hall, M., Mangel, J., Alfaro-Shigueto, J., Dalzell, P., Ishizaki, A. 2009. Mitigating sea turtle bycatch in coastal passive net fisheries. Fish and Fisheries 11(1): 57-88.http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/by_catch/docs/turtle_article.pdf
  2. Kolody, D. 2011. Review of CPUE Issues for the 2011 Indian Ocean Swordfish Stock Assessment, IOTC-2011-WPB09-13, 22 pages.http://www.iotc.org/files/proceedings/2011/wpb/IOTC-2011-WPB09-13.pdf

Appended content

  1. Maldeniya, R. and D. Amarasooriya. 1998. Tuna Fisheries in Sri Lanka: An Update. 7th Expert Consultation on Indian Ocean Tunas, Victoria, Seychelles, 9-14 November, 1998, 5 pages.http://www.iotc.org/files/proceedings/1998/ec/IOTC-1998-EC7-04.pdf
  2. MFAR – Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. 2007. Ten Year Development Policy Framework of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Sector. 2007-2016. March 2007, 24 pages.http://www.fisheries.gov.lk/English_link/10%20year%20plan.pdf
  3. Pramod. G. (2010) Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Marine Fish Catches in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone, Field Report, Policy and Ecosystem Restoration in Fisheries, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, BC, Vancouver, Canada, 30 pages.http://www.mrag.co.uk/Documents/IUU_India.pdf
  4. Pramod, G. 2012. Illegal and unreported fishing: global analysis of incentives and a case study estimating illegal and unreported catches from India, PhD Thesis, University of British Colombia, Canada, 343 pages.https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/41730
  5. Pramod, G. and Pitcher. T. 2006. An Estimation of Compliance of the Fisheries of Sri Lanka with Article 7 (Fisheries Management) of the UN Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing, 20 pages in Pitcher, T.J., Kalikoski, D. and Pramod, G. (eds) Evaluations of Compliance with the FAO (UN) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Fisheries Centre Research Reports 14(2): 1191pp. ftp://ftp.fisheries.ubc.ca/CodeConduct/CountriesCodePDF/Sri%20Lanka-CCRF.pdf
  6. Wijayaratne, B. 2001.Coastal Fisheries in Sri Lanka: Some Recommendation for Future Management. Ministry of fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development Sri Lanka.http://www.unuftp.is/static/fellows/document/wijayprf.pdf
    References

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