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).
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%).

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 8

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

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Eastern Pacific Ocean IATTC 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 10 June 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).
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%).
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).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 7 February 2019

There is currently no TAC in place for yellowfin tuna.

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).

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).

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.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 9 September 2019

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

There is an interim limit reference point in place and a harvest control rule has been adopted.

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Some but not all of the key recommendations made by the Scientific Committee are currently being taken into account.

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There is no TAC in place. IUU fishing has not been highlighted as a major issue for this 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%.

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)

No related FIPs

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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