Profile updated on 26 July 2019

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Thunnus albacares

SPECIES NAME(s)

Yellowfin tuna

Regional fidelity, genetic research suggest there may be multiple populations of yellowfin tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean (Minte-Vera et al. 2015).


ANALYSIS

Strengths

.

  • Interim limit reference points have been defined and FMSY and BMSY and are used as an informal reference point and a harvest control rule has been adopted.
  • Current tuna management measures were extended and modified at the 2017 IATTC Commission meeting.
  • Several measures specific to the purse seine fishery, discarding of tunas is prohibited, and 100% observer coverage is required on large purse seine vessels (>363 t).
  • Reference points have been defined by the IATTC
  • IATTC assess the stock status and there is a multiannual management and conservation plan in place.
  • MSY calculations have estimated that capture could be increased if the fishing effort is directed towards the longline fleet.
  • Independently from the IATTC, Ecuador is capable of developing its own control and surveillance measures within their EEZ and at port.
  • There are measures established by the Ecuadorian government in order to prevent negative impacts of this fishery on vulnerable species such as shark, turtles and dolphins.
Weaknesses
  • Fishing mortality rates are above sustainable levels and the biomass is below sustainable levels
  • There are no management measures specific to yellowfin tuna caught by the longline fleet.
  • There are time/area closures in place for the purse seine fleet but these measures are not sufficient to manage the fish aggregating device (FAD) fishery.
  • Fisheries targeting yellowfin tuna can incidentally capture endangered, threatened and protected species such as sea turtles, sea birds and sharks.
  • Observer coverage (required) in the longline fishery is low (5%).
  • There is a lack of catch data coming from the Ecuadorian longline fleet. The observer program does not cover a significant sample of longline vessels and is mainly implemented on the purse-seine fleet.
  • Scientific information regarding the effects of longlines on the species and its interaction within the eastern Pacific Ocean ecosystem is scarce.
  • Longlines may have negative interactions with endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species, and information on these interactions and impact’s is scarce in Ecuador.
Options
  • To enforce the monitoring, control and surveillance system for the longline fleet, implementing the observer program and taking in situ accurate data regarding the fleet operation as fishing effort, grounds, discards and ETP-species interaction.
  • From the INP, to boost the biological assessments within their boundaries and to develop independently target reference points for this species with a comprehensive control.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

7

Future Health:

7.5


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Work with IATTC Members and Cooperating Non-Members to:
    • Adopt purse seine set limits during the 2018 Commission meeting.
    • Develop and implement comprehensive, precautionary harvest strategies with specific timelines for all tuna stocks, including the adoption and implementation of limit and target reference points, harvest control rules, monitoring strategies, operational objectives, performance indicators, and management strategy evaluation.
    • Strengthen compliance processes and make information on non-compliance public and continue to provide evidence of compliance with all IATTC Conservation and Management Measures in a timely manner.
    • Implement a 100% observer coverage requirement for at-sea transshipment activities, as well as other measures that ensure transshipment activity is transparent and well-managed, and that all required data are collected and transmitted to the appropriate bodies in a timely manner.
    • Increase compliance with the mandatory minimum 5% longline observer coverage rates by identifying and correcting non-compliance.
    • Implement a 100% observer coverage requirement – human and/or electronic – within five years for longline fisheries.  Adopt a 100% observer coverage requirement for purse seine vessels where it is not already required and require the use of the best-available observer safety equipment, communications and procedures.
    • Adopt effective measures for the use of non-entangling FAD designs as a precautionary measure to minimize the entanglement of sharks and other non-target species, and support research on biodegradable materials and transition to their use to mitigate marine debris.
    • More effectively implement, and ensure compliance with, existing RFMO bycatch requirements and take additional mitigation action, such as improving monitoring at sea, collecting and sharing operational-level, species-specific data, and adopting stronger compliance measures, including consequences for non-compliance for all gear types.

FIPS

  • Eastern Pacific Ocean tuna - longline (Transmarina):

    Stage 3, Progress Rating C

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 Colombia Associated purse seining
FAD-free
Costa Rica Drifting longlines
Greenstick gear
Ecuador Associated purse seining
Drifting longlines
FAD-free
Mexico Dolphin set purse seining
FAD-free
Pole-lines hand operated
Purse seines
Nicaragua Associated purse seining
Drifting longlines
FAD-free
Panama Drifting longlines
Pole-lines hand operated
Purse seines
Spain FAD-free
Purse seines
United States FAD-free
Purse seines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 9 September 2019

Strengths

.

  • Interim limit reference points have been defined and FMSY and BMSY and are used as an informal reference point and a harvest control rule has been adopted.
  • Current tuna management measures were extended and modified at the 2017 IATTC Commission meeting.
  • Several measures specific to the purse seine fishery, discarding of tunas is prohibited, and 100% observer coverage is required on large purse seine vessels (>363 t).
IATTC
Ecuador
Drifting longlines

Last updated on 9 September 2019

  • Reference points have been defined by the IATTC
  • IATTC assess the stock status and there is a multiannual management and conservation plan in place.
  • MSY calculations have estimated that capture could be increased if the fishing effort is directed towards the longline fleet.
  • Independently from the IATTC, Ecuador is capable of developing its own control and surveillance measures within their EEZ and at port.
  • There are measures established by the Ecuadorian government in order to prevent negative impacts of this fishery on vulnerable species such as shark, turtles and dolphins.
Weaknesses
  • Fishing mortality rates are above sustainable levels and the biomass is below sustainable levels
  • There are no management measures specific to yellowfin tuna caught by the longline fleet.
  • There are time/area closures in place for the purse seine fleet but these measures are not sufficient to manage the fish aggregating device (FAD) fishery.
  • Fisheries targeting yellowfin tuna can incidentally capture endangered, threatened and protected species such as sea turtles, sea birds and sharks.
  • Observer coverage (required) in the longline fishery is low (5%).
IATTC
Ecuador
Drifting longlines

Last updated on 9 September 2019

  • There is a lack of catch data coming from the Ecuadorian longline fleet. The observer program does not cover a significant sample of longline vessels and is mainly implemented on the purse-seine fleet.
  • Scientific information regarding the effects of longlines on the species and its interaction within the eastern Pacific Ocean ecosystem is scarce.
  • Longlines may have negative interactions with endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species, and information on these interactions and impact’s is scarce in Ecuador.
Options
IATTC
Ecuador
Drifting longlines

Last updated on 9 September 2019

  • To enforce the monitoring, control and surveillance system for the longline fleet, implementing the observer program and taking in situ accurate data regarding the fleet operation as fishing effort, grounds, discards and ETP-species interaction.
  • From the INP, to boost the biological assessments within their boundaries and to develop independently target reference points for this species with a comprehensive control.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 11 September 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Work with IATTC Members and Cooperating Non-Members to:
    • Adopt purse seine set limits during the 2018 Commission meeting.
    • Develop and implement comprehensive, precautionary harvest strategies with specific timelines for all tuna stocks, including the adoption and implementation of limit and target reference points, harvest control rules, monitoring strategies, operational objectives, performance indicators, and management strategy evaluation.
    • Strengthen compliance processes and make information on non-compliance public and continue to provide evidence of compliance with all IATTC Conservation and Management Measures in a timely manner.
    • Implement a 100% observer coverage requirement for at-sea transshipment activities, as well as other measures that ensure transshipment activity is transparent and well-managed, and that all required data are collected and transmitted to the appropriate bodies in a timely manner.
    • Increase compliance with the mandatory minimum 5% longline observer coverage rates by identifying and correcting non-compliance.
    • Implement a 100% observer coverage requirement – human and/or electronic – within five years for longline fisheries.  Adopt a 100% observer coverage requirement for purse seine vessels where it is not already required and require the use of the best-available observer safety equipment, communications and procedures.
    • Adopt effective measures for the use of non-entangling FAD designs as a precautionary measure to minimize the entanglement of sharks and other non-target species, and support research on biodegradable materials and transition to their use to mitigate marine debris.
    • More effectively implement, and ensure compliance with, existing RFMO bycatch requirements and take additional mitigation action, such as improving monitoring at sea, collecting and sharing operational-level, species-specific data, and adopting stronger compliance measures, including consequences for non-compliance for all gear types.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 10 June 2019

Stock assessments of yellowfin tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean are conducted by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna 7Commission (IATTC). An updated assessment was conducted in 2019. The Stock Synthesis model, a statistical age-structured model was used in this and previous assessments. Information needed for this model includes, catch, discards, indices of abundance and size composition data from fisheries that capture yellowfin tuna (Minte-Vera et al. 2019). This was considered an 'updated' assessment so the same base case model as used in the previous assessment was used with updated data (Minte-Vera et al. 2019).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 10 June 2019

In 2013 the IATTC scientific staff made the following recommendations to the Commission in 2013 for tunas and sharks: 1. The current tuna management plan should be continued through 2014 because there is evidence that fishing mortality for bigeye tuna may still be too high. In addition, yellowfin tuna longline catches should be reported monthly in addition to bigeye catches and countries reporting more than 500 t of yellowfin catch should provide reports to the IATTC. 2. A harvest control rule that requires effort to be reduced once fishing mortality exceeds the maximum sustainable yield should be adopted and 3. Longline vessels that target sharks should not increase their effort and reporting of shark catches should be mandatory for all vessels {IATTC 2013a}.

In 2014, the Scientific Committee made several additional recommendations including conducting a feasibility study for sampling lengths from adult tuna on a regular basis, combining observer data into a central database, analyze movement patterns of bigeye tuna and that ecological risk assessments for silky and hammerhead sharks should be reported (IATTC 2014). In 2016, the Scientific Committee advised that the current conservation and management measures in place for yellowfin and other tropical tuna should continue, with the addition of extra purse seine closure days (87 instead of 62) (IATTC 2016).

In 2018, the IATTC scientific staff recommended putting a limit on the total number of purse seine (both associated and unassociated) sets (IATTC 2018). In 2019, due to issues with the yellowfin tuna stock assessment, the IATTC scientific staff was unable to make any management recommendations specific to yellowfin tuna. They instead provided a similar recommendation to that from 2018 to maintain the current management resolution and limit the total number of purse seine (associated and unassociated) sets in 2020 to 15,723  (IATTC 2019). The IATTC Scientific Advisory Committee did not endorse this recommendation from the IATTC staff and provided no additional management advice for yellowfin tuna in 2019 (final report not published yet, personal communication from the meeting).

 
CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 10 June 2019

Fishing mortality rates for yellowfin tuna are above maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels (F multiplier = 089). The spawning biomass ratio at the start of 2019 was below MSY levels. Yellowfin tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean are overfished and undergoing overfishing (Minte-Vera et al. 2019).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 16 August 2018

Management measures specific to pelagic longline fisheries operating in the Eastern Pacific Ocean include catch limits (combined) for bigeye and yellowfin tuna by set type for large purse seine vessels (IATTC 2017)IATTC currently uses an interim limit reference point for yellowfin tuna but target reference points and harvest control rules are not used. Management measures specific to the purse seine fisheries include a mandatory closure for 72 days during one of two predefined time periods and there is an additional purse seine closure between October 9 and November 8th in the area of 960 and 1100W and between 40N and 30S (IATTC 2017). If a fisheries observer is onboard from the On-Board Observer Program of the Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program (AIDCP), the vessels (182-272 metric tons carrying capacity) can make one 30 day trip during the specified closures dates. An additional time/area closure off the coast of Central and South America for purse seine vessels is also in place (IATTC 2017). Discarding bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin tuna is prohibited {IATTC 2013}. Purse seine vessels are also prohibited from setting on data buoys {IATTC 2010}. There are no management measures specific to the longline fishery for yellowfin tuna (IATTC 2017)IATTC has a multi-annual conservation program in place to monitor yellowfin tuna populations. The Conservation Measures were expanded during 2017 for the 2018-2020 fishing seasons (IATTC 2017).

IATTC
Ecuador
Drifting longlines

Last updated on 9 September 2019

In Ecuador, the Instituto Nacional de Pesca (INP) is the scientific body in charge of assessing the marine resources and then, for advising and providing the recommended management measures to the Viceministerio de Acuacultura y Pesca. The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC or CIAT in Spanish: Comisión Interamericana del Atún Tropical) is the entity which assesses, regulates and manages the tuna fishery in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Ecuador is part of this Regional Fisheries Management Organization and responds to the resolutions adopted by this body. Ecuador does not manage this fishery but does participate in the management process by providing statistical information of relevance to the IATTC.

The current IATTC management plan for the period 2018-2020 has been established by the resolution C-17-02 (IATTC 2017). The measures developed here, apply to all longline vessels over 24 meters length overall that fish for yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna and skipjack tuna. These vessels are considered an industrial large-scale fleet (known as LSTLFVs) and according to the IATTC vessel database (available at: https://www.iattc.org/VesselDataBaseENG.htm), there are currently 20 Ecuadorian flag vessels registered to operate in the Convention area with a fish-holding capacity that ranges from 57 m³ up to 589 m³.  Ecuador submits an annual report to IATTC which contains information from this longline fleet such as the total capture and its composition, interaction with other species (non-target and ETP species) and fishing effort; in the period between January 2017 to September 2017 the coverage of observers in the fleet was about 10% of the total effort estimated in fishing days. It is important to mention that the IATTC has calculated that the minimum and sufficient level of coverage on longline vessels to produce reliable estimates of the species caught is 20% although its resolution C-11-08 (IATTC 2011) establishes a mandatory coverage of 5% of the fishing effort by a scientific observer

Ecuador, through the Acuerdo Ministerial N° 407 (Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería, Acuacultura y Pesca 2011) defines a ‘nodriza’ as a vessel that tows up to ten smaller artisanal longline vessels or ‘fibras’ towards far fishing grounds and its purpose is to supply water, fuel, food, bait and other supplies for fishing, and also to receive the catch from the small vessels. Amongst the requirements needed for the fishing, there is an ‘official agreement’ grant by the Subsecretaría de Recursos Pesqueros, a fishing permit which has to be annually renovated, certificates of the ship, a vessel monitoring system and a sanitary permit.

Within the Ecuadorian framework, seasonal closures have not been found for its longline fleet, probably due to the fact that neither the IATTC apply them. The Acuerdo Ministerial N° 407 states that the Subsecretaría de Recursos Pesqueros has the responsibility of setting an observer program covering 10% of the artisanal ‘nodriza’ fleet. Nevertheless, specific and technical aspects like the fishing gear’s interaction with other species and catch per unit of effort in longlines is not being collected. This generates a void in data and negatively impacts potential management options. Another measure taken in Ecuador by some tuna companies is the implementation of the Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) aimed at getting the sustainability standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). As a result of this, there is a current process to design the National Plan of Action for the sustainable management of the industrial fishery for the Ecuadorian Tuna (PAN-Atún), led by the Viceministerio de Acuacultura y Pesca through a participatory process that involves key players in the value chain of this fishery.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 7 February 2019

There is currently no TAC in place for yellowfin tuna.

IATTC
Ecuador
Drifting longlines

Last updated on 9 September 2019

Through the publication of the Acuerdo Ministerial No. MAGAP-MAGAP-2015-001-A (Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería, Acuacultura y Pesca 2015), the national action plan to prevent, discourage and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing (PAN-INDNR, in Spanish) came into effect. The Control and Monitoring System (SCM, in Spanish), set by the Subsecretaría de Recursos Pesqueros of Ecuador, gathers data from the Ecuadorian artisanal fleet in the main artisanal landing ports. This artisanal fleet comprises an artisanal-oceanic component that consists in large vessels called ‘nodrizas’ which tow smaller fiberglass vessels (called ‘fibras’) which operate mainly with pelagic longlines off 200 miles from the coast. It has been estimated that ‘Nodrizas’ represent up to 80% of the total artisanal capture(Martínez-Ortiz et al. 2015).

The IATTC registers the information of all the vessels authorized to operate in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, but it is recognized that this list is incomplete (IATTC 2018) particularly regarding the large longline fleet and small vessels. Data from the industrial longline fleet is taken by IATTC observers in collaboration with the INP with a coverage of approximately 10% of the fishing effort in comparison with the minimum 5% set by the IATTC resolution C-11-08 (IATTC 2011). Discarding cannot be estimated with accuracy for the artisanal longline fleet, one reason might be the coverage of the observer program onboard. Ecuador through the INP gathers and presents some biological data from the large-scale longline fleet. Information about capture and characterization of artisanal longline fleets have been shown in studies conducted by INP staff. In addition, it should be mentioned that regarding the longline capture, the IATTC maintains data about the spatial and temporal distribution of longline captures by countries. in port, inspectors monitor the landing and assess the reliability of the data in the logbook. A monitoring certificate is generated and delivered during the landing (Martínez-Ortiz et al. 2015). This data provide trip-by-trip catch composition data (in numbers of fish and weight), as well as effort information (number of hooks per set, days fished, numbers of individual fibra boats operating from the mother-ship) (Martínez-Ortiz et al. 2015).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 9 September 2019

The longline fisheries operating in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) that capture yellowfin tuna can also incidentally catch several species of sea turtles currently listed under CITES Appendix I. Purse seine fisheries have some interactions with sea turtles, but far less than in the longline fisheries. The troll and pole fisheries for yellowfin tuna do not incidentally capture any of these species.

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 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.

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). Purse seine fisheries fishing on fish aggregating devices (FADs) must use specific methods designed to avoid entangling sea turtles or other bycatch species. Any interactions must be reported and sea turtles are to be released (IATTC 2012)(IATTC 2007).

The dolphin set fishery has historically had interactions with spinner and pan tropical dolphins. The Agreement of the International Dolphin Conservation Program (AIDCP) was put into place to track this fishery and any dolphin moralities (IATTC 2003).

IATTC
Ecuador
Drifting longlines

Last updated on 9 September 2019

There are few estimations regarding the incidental catch of marine turtles by longlines in Ecuador. The incidental catch of turtles associated with the industrial longline fleet in the eastern Pacific Ocean occurs when they take the bait on the hooks, and become accidentally hooked or entangled in lines (IATTC 2018)(IATTC 2018). Mortality data on the interactions between the longline fishery and turtles is deficient in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (IATTC 2018). For Ecuadorian longline fisheries, participatory programs have been developed which involve the voluntary testing of circle hooks to reduce the mortality of sea turtles (Andraka et al. 2013; Gilman et al. 2006) and other activities such as training of fishers in on-board sea turtle handling techniques to improve the survival of the turtles released after hooking or entanglement (Andraka et al. 2013) . Loggerhead and leatherback turtles are the primary species caught in the pelagic longline gear and olive ridley, hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) turtles are also captured (Gilman et al. 2006). According to the observers program in the large-scale longline fleet, in 2017 Ecuador reported to the IATTC incidental captures of green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) Andraka et. al (2013) described the interaction of the olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) with the artisanal longline fleet in the eastern Pacific Ocean..

Regarding shark and rays species, IATTC (IATTC 2018)(IATTC 2018) registered interactions of longlines with the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus), hammerheads (Sphyrna spp.), threshers (Alopias spp.) and mako (Isurus spp) sharks. In 2017 Ecuador reported to the IATTC incidental catch of pelagic thresher (Alopias pelagicus), bigeye thresher (Alopias superciliosus), silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus), shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), blue shark (Prionace glauca) and giant manta ray (Manta birostris). Additional information regarding shark interactions with the Ecuadorian longline fleet targeting tuna is scarce but there are two studies. The first one conducted by the Instituto Nacional de Pesca (INP) (Pacheco 2010) on a Spanish longline fleet associated with Ecuador targeting tuna and other species. This study registered the capture of shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena), blue shark (Prionace glauca), bigeye thresher (Alopias superciliosus) and leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). The second one, conducted by Martínez-Ortiz et al. (2015), states that shark catches by longline gear are largely dominated by the thresher shark group, then the pelagic thresher and blue and silky sharks make up the second dominant group. Furthermore, IATTC (2018) states that sharks are captured as incidental catch in the longline fishery within the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Ecuadorian national framework does establish measures to reduce the impact of longlines on sharks, which are contained in the Decreto N° 486, the N° 902 and the Plan Acción de Tiburones (PAT-Ec), which establish the conservation and management of sharks as national priority, forbidding the target of sharks and requiring specialized fishing gear adaptations.

On the other hand, there were no reported interactions with birds or mammals. Some endemic bird species are of special concern like the Albatross de Galápagos (Phoesbastria irrorata) but any registers of albatross interactions with the Ecuadorian longline fleet has not been found.

Other Species

Last updated on 30 October 2014

Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) longlines fisheries that capture yellowfin tuna also catch a number of other species of fish, including billfish and other tuna species, and sharks.Purse seine fisheries also catch a number of fish and shark species. The troll fishery catches small amounts of other tuna species and fish.

Other common bycatch species in the longline fishery include blue and silky sharks, indo-Pacific sailfish, dolphinfish 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 {ISCSWG 2014}{IATTC 2013c}{IATTC 2014b}.

In the purse seine fishery (floating object), yellowtail, mahimahi, rainbow runner and wahoo are common bycatch species. Mahimahi and rainbow runner are also caught in the unassociated fisheries. Assessments have not been conducted on these species, so their status is unknown. Silky and oceanic white tips sharks, along with manta rays (unassociated) are also incidentally caught (Hall and Rowman 2013). No assessments of oceanic whitetip sharks or manta rays have been conducted. Oceanic whitetip sharks are prohibited from being retained and shark finning (5% rule) is prohibited (IATTC 2011c).

IATTC
Ecuador
Drifting longlines

Last updated on 9 September 2019

With respect to the Scombridae family, longline catches by the artisanal fleet are dominated by the bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) and also swordfish (Xiphias gladus), they represent an important amount of the catches (Martínez-Ortiz et al. 2015). Andraka et al. (2013) points to important bycatch species for this fishery being: bigeye, mahi mahi (Coryphaena hippurus), skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), swordfish, sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) and black marlin (Istiompax indica). Regarding the sailfish and swordfish, the structure of their population is well-known in the Pacific Ocean and genetic data analyses have been conducted to unveil whether there are differences among its geographical distribution (IATTC 2018). Despite this, it not has been possible to determine the current condition of the population of sailfish in the eastern Pacific Ocean with respect to specific management parameters such as the MSY (IATTC 2018). It is suggested that there exists capture that are not reported so is not possible to conduct a reliable assessment of this resource without additional catch estimations. On the other hand, IATTC assessments in the northern and south-eastern areas of the eastern Pacific Ocean suggest that the swordfish is not undergoing overfishing (IATTC 2018). Finally, in the case of the black marlin, no stock assessments have been conducted (IATTC 2018). The current stock status and impact of the fishery in species like mahi mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) or black marlin is still difficult to predict in some cases because of the lack of reliable data. Probably one important boost in the long-term for one of these species (mahi mahi), is the current assessment of its fishery in Ecuador against the Marine Stewardship council standard, which could help to some extent, to quantify properly the accumulated impact on this species

Estimated target reference points or regulations in Ecuador focused on controlling the capture and landings of the other bycatch species have not been defined and a relative population analysis should be conducted with more accurate and reliable capture and effort data.

HABITAT

Last updated on 9 September 2019

The gears used to capture tuna have no impact on bottom habitats.

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 29 Dec 2009

Under Resolution C-11-01 of IATTC for Conservation of Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean Purse seiners over 182 metric tons carrying capacity ((IATTC size classes 4, 5 and 6) fishing for tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean shall cease fishing for 62 days from either (1) 29 July to 28 September; or (2) 18 November to 18 January 2012 during the current year (IATTC 2011).

IATTC Closures for purse seiners (IATTC 2011):
2011 – 29 July to 28 September, or from 18 November to 18 January 2012.

2012 – 29 July to 28 September, or from 18 November to 18 January 2013.

2013 – 29 July to 28 September, or from 18 November to 18 January 2014.

IATTC
Ecuador
Drifting longlines

Last updated on 9 September 2019

The coastal limits of yellowfin distribution in the Pacific Ocean were documented by Rosa (1950, in Bayliff 1980) who reported that this species range is from Point Conception, California, to San Antonio or Talcahuano, Chile, along the eastern Pacific coastline. Blackburn (1965, in Bayliff 1980) suggested that the longitudinal limits of yellowfin are about 35°N in the eastern north Pacific and 33°S in the eastern South Pacific, 40°N in the western north Pacific and 35°S in the western South Pacific. Temperature is an important determinant of the horizontal distribution of yellowfin. The studies on larvae distribution indicate that they are trans-Pacific in occurrence, although their distribution is limited latitudinally to tropical and subtropical waters. Larvae occur year-round in equatorial waters, but there is a seasonal change in density in the subtropical waters of the western Pacific. Further, Klawe (1963, in Bayliff 1980) examined the vertical distribution of yellowfin larvae in the eastern Pacific, finding no evidence of the occurrence of larvae below the thermocline. Suzuki et al. (1978, in Hall and Lennert 1992), stated that data on the distribution of yellowfin larvae also show concentrations in coastal zones, although larvae are present in most areas, and there is a concentrated area offshore. With this information, it is likely that yellowfin tuna returns to the coastal zone to spawn, taking advantage of the subsurface Cromwell Current. Regarding juvenile yellowfin in the eastern Pacific, they have been recorded from approximately 24°N off Baja California to approximately 2°S, just off the coast of Ecuador (Bayliff 1980).

ECOSYSTEM
IATTC
Ecuador
Drifting longlines

Last updated on 9 September 2019

Recruitment to the fishery occurs at about 40 cm, at which size yellowfin tuna associated with floating objects in the Panama Bight and Central American coast. During this period they seem to be retained in the coastal zone by current systems that also keep the floating objects in that area (Hall and Lennert 1992). Young tuna are associated more frequently with dolphinfish which may represent an adaptive pattern which is likely to benefit the tuna in their search for food (Hall and Lennert 1992).

Blackburn (1969, in Bayliff 1980) stated that the availability of forage organisms in areas of optimum temperature is an important factor in determining where yellowfin tend to aggregate. Yellowfin gathers in areas of upwelling and ocean frontal boundaries between the Equatorial Countercurrents and the South Equatorial Current (Blackburn, 1965; Murphy & Shomura, 1972; Uda, 1973; Yamanaka, 1978, in Bayliff 1980). Many carnivorous fish and marine mammals can be found in the same areas as yellowfin, mostly feeding competitors, e.g. the bigeye tuna, skipjack tuna, the spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata) and the spinner dolphin(Stenella longirostris); Waldron and King (1963, in Bayliff 1980) noted that squids were common in the diet of this species.

The IATTC (2018) presents the trophic structure of the eastern Pacific Ocean using trophic levels (TL) to characterize the energy fluxes through the different communities. In this case, the average trophic level of capture (MTLc) can be a useful metric of change and sustainability of the ecosystem, integrating a variety of biological data regarding the components of the system and several MTL are calculated in relation with the TL. It's also an indicator of whether fisheries are changing their fishing practices These indicators point to the fact that ecosystem structure has probably changed, however, if this is a direct result from fisheries, they are not considered ecologically harmful (IATTC 2018).  No studies about the ecosystem state of reference, the effect of fishing and its dynamics done by the Ecuadorian scientific advisory body have been found, mostly this analysis falls on the IATTC.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 9 September 2019

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2019 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

The regional fisheries management organization (IATTC) has adopted a harvest control rule (IATTC, 2017), further, reference points have been set in place as part of a regional conservation and management plan for tunas .

As calculated for 2019 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Managers take key recommendations from the scientific body, and Ecuadorian framework recognizes the application of the IATTC resolutions.

As calculated for 2019 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

The Ecuadorian administration complies with the recommendations set by the scientific body and also Ecuador has a TAC for its longline fleet, established by the IATTC, however the accurate magnitude of IUU and discards cannot be completely quantified for the longline fishery

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is 7.0.

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

The Ratio SSB/SSBmsy is 0.760 . The SSB=SSBmsy is 1.00 .

The underlying Ratio SSB/SSBmsy/SSB=SSBmsy for this index is 76.0%.

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is 7.5.

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

The Ratio F/Fmsy is 1.00 . The F management target is 0.890 .

The underlying Ratio F/Fmsy/F management target for this index is 112%.

ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS

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Click on the score to see subscore

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Bycatch Subscores

Some reliable and general information is gathered. The observer program does not have entire coverage and representativeness of the  longline fleet (Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería, Acuacultura y Pesca 2015) and/or this information is not available (IATTC 2018; IATTC 2018; Martínez-Ortiz et al. 2015). Some important data can be inferred from the landing but this exclude potential discards that might be occurring onboard   the Ecuadorian longline fleet.

Some shark species considered as ETP species are still captured by this fishery and there is no TAC established (Gómez 2016; IATTC 2018; IATTC 2018; Martínez-Ortiz et al. 2015). Longline interactions may jeopardize the ETP species populations.

Most bycatch species do not have reference points set and the current status of their populations is unknown (IATTC 2018)(IATTC 2018). Data is not abundant but it is likely that the fishery may impact a population.

There are generic measures tailored for avoiding sharks capture (gear and hook restrictions) and marine turtles.

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Habitat Subscores

There is general information regarding the impact of longlines on marine habitats.

There is some information available regarding the location and timing of the fishing.

Since longlines are set near the surface or mid-water, impacts on the bottom are minimal

The species distribution and some environmental requirements in the eastern Pacific have been mapped.(Hu et al. 2018)

Since this fishing gear interacts passively with the marine environment, it is unlikely that longlines would interact negatively or hinder the structure and function of the habitat.

No measures are in place to avoid the potential damage of longlines in habitats found within the Ecuadorian framework.

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Ecosystem Subscores

There is biological information used by RFMOs to describe the impact of the tuna species fishery.

There is comprehensive information about the distribution, behavior and interaction of this species within the ecosystem, which permits to set state references (IATTC 2018)(IATTC 2018).

Some impact is measurable through the use of trophic indicators and comprehensive data gathering by the IATTC.

No measures in place were found.

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. The time series of F and SSB are provided relative to MSY and the thresholds have been set accordingly.
2. We are aware of no advised or set quotas/TAC thus qualitative scores have been computed for 2 and 3. 3 Catches through 2014 are from the IATTC 2016 Fishery Status report (IATTC 2017).

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

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Access FIP Public Report

Progress Rating: C
Evaluation Start Date: 28 Nov 2017
Type: Comprehensive

Comments:

FIP progress rating remains  C. FIP has reported stage 3 activities currently underway. 

1.
FIP Development
Apr 17
2.
FIP Launch
Jul 16
Nov 17
3.
FIP Implementation
Oct 18
4.
Improvements in Fishing Practices and Fishery Management
Verifiable improvement in policy/management and fishing practices
5.
Improvements on the Water
Verifiable improvement on the water
6.
MSC certification (optional)
MSC certificate made public

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

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 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. Hall, M. and Roman M. 2013. Bycatch and non-tuna catch in the tropical tuna purse seine fisheries of the world. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper 568.
  2. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2005. Resolution on the conservation of sharks caught in association with fisheries in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Resolution C-05-03.
  3. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2007. Resolution to mitigate the impact of tuna fishing vessels on sea turtles. Resolution C-07-03.
  4. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2010. Recommendation prohibiting fishing on data buoys. Recommendation C-10-03.
  5. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2011a. Resolution on the conservation of oceanic whitetip sharks caught in association with fisheries in the Antigua Convention Area. Resolution C-11-10.
  6. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2011b. Resolution to mitigate the impact on seabirds of fishing for species covered by the IATTC. Resolution C-11-02.
  7. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2011c. Resolution on the conservation of oceanic whitetip sharks caught in association with fisheries in the Antigua Convention Area. Resolution C-11-10.
  8. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2012. Bycatch issues. 2nd Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee 9-14 May 2011, La Jolla, CA
  9. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2013a. Meeting report. Scientific Meeting, La Jolla, CA, 29 April – 3 May 2013.
  10. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2013b. Multiannual program for the conservation of tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean during 2014-2016. Resolution C-13-01.
  11. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2013c. Status of sailfish in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 2011 and outlook for the future. Document SAC-04-07c.
  12. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2013d. Collection and analyses of data on fish-aggregating devices. Resolution C-13-04.
  13. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2014. Fishery status report No. 12. IATTA, La Jolla, CA.
  14. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2014b. Scientific Advisory Committee Fifth Meeting. La Jolla, California 12-16 May 2014. Available at:http://www.iattc.org/Meetings/Meetings2014/MAYSAC/PDFs/SAC-05-May-2014-Meeting-report.pdf
  15. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2016. Recommendations by the staff for conservation measures in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, 2016. Document SAC-07-08.
  16. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2017. Conservation of tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean during 2017. Resolution C-17-01. http://www.iattc.org/PDFFiles2/Resolutions/C-17-01-Tuna-conservation-2017.pdf
  17. IOTC. 2002. Resolution 02/08 on the Conservation of Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna in the Indian Ocean. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, Mahé, Seychelles.
  18. Minte-Vera, C.V., Aires-da-Silva, A. and Maunder, M. 2014. Status of yellowfin tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean in 2013 and outlook for the future. IATTC Document SAC-05-07.
  19. Minte-Vera, C.V., Aires-da-Silva, A. and Maunder, M. 2016. Status of yellowfin tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean in 2015 and outlook for the future. IATTC Document SAC-07-05b.
References

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    Yellowfin tuna - Eastern Pacific Ocean, IATTC, Ecuador, Drifting longlines

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