Last updated on 16 October 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Thunnus alalunga

SPECIES NAME(s)

Albacore

For assessment purposes it is assumed there are three populations of albacore in the Atlantic (north, south and Mediterranean). There may be intermingling between immature fish from the Indian and Atlantic Oceans (ICCAT 2012).


ANALYSIS

Strengths

 ICCAT has been abiding by scientific advice in recent years in terms of setting the total alliwable catch (TAC). Catches have been below TAC levels in recent years, except for two years.  A recovery plan was put into place in 2009 and updated in 2011 and 2013. The most recent assessment indicates the recovery plan is likely to be successful if catches are maintained at the current TAC. Overfishing is not occurring and the population is no longer overfished.

Weaknesses

The current management recommendation allows for potential overages in the total allowable catch (TAC). Although work has continued with regard to developing limit reference points and a harvest control rule, none have been formally adopted.  Observer coverage is low (5%) in longline fisheries and interactions with PET and other non-target species continue to occur.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 8

Fishers Compliance:

10

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 8

Future Health:

≥ 8


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Work with ICCAT Contracting Parties and Cooperators to: 
    • 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 ICCAT 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.
  • Ensure all products are traceable back to legal sources. Verify source information and full chain traceability through traceability desk audits or third party traceability certification. For fisheries without robust traceability systems in place, invest in meaningful improvements to bring the fisheries and supply chain in compliance with best practices.

FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

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

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
North Atlantic ICCAT Canada Longlines
Liberia Longlines
Pole-lines hand operated
Pole-lines mechanized
Portugal Pole-lines hand operated
Pole-lines mechanized
Saint Vincent and The Grenadines Longlines
Spain Handlines hand operated
Longlines
Pole-lines hand operated
Trolling lines
Suriname Longlines
United States Longlines
Taiwan Taiwan, Province of China Longlines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 21 November 2014

Strengths

 ICCAT has been abiding by scientific advice in recent years in terms of setting the total alliwable catch (TAC). Catches have been below TAC levels in recent years, except for two years.  A recovery plan was put into place in 2009 and updated in 2011 and 2013. The most recent assessment indicates the recovery plan is likely to be successful if catches are maintained at the current TAC. Overfishing is not occurring and the population is no longer overfished.

Weaknesses

The current management recommendation allows for potential overages in the total allowable catch (TAC). Although work has continued with regard to developing limit reference points and a harvest control rule, none have been formally adopted.  Observer coverage is low (5%) in longline fisheries and interactions with PET and other non-target species continue to occur.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 30 October 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Work with ICCAT Contracting Parties and Cooperators to: 
    • 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 ICCAT 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.
  • 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 May 2014

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) conducts assessments of albacore tuna on a regular basis. The last assessment was conducted in 2016 and  included catch and effort information from both fishery dependent and fishery independent sources along with biological information and other data sets (ICCAT 2016). 

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 5 May 2014

The Commission has followed advice and set the TAC for albacore tuna in the North Atlantic at 28,000 t.  Previously advice had not been fully followed and management measures allowed for the potential that catches could exceed TAC levels (ICCAT 2012a)(ICCAT 2016).

Reference Points

Last updated on 05 May 2014

ParameterValue
SSB2015/SSBMSY>1
F2015/FMSY<1
MSY37,081 mt
CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 9 December 2009

According to the last assessment conducted in 2016, albacore tuna populations in the North Atlantic have improved since 2013 and are likely not overfished or undergoing overfishing {ICCAT 2016}.

Trends

Last updated on 09 Dec 2009

The biomass of albacore in the North Atlantic dropped between the 1930's and 1980's. Recovery of the population has occurred since then and is now above maximum sustainable levels (MSY). Fishing mortality rates increased from the 1950's through the 1990's and have since declined to levels below MSY {ICCAT 2016}.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 25 May 2011

The ICCAT first introduced management for albacore tuna in the north Atlantic in 1998 through effort restrictions. These restrictions limited fishing capacity to the average from 1993-1997. In subsequent years, starting in 2006, catch limits have been used. In 2011, the Commission followed advice and set the total allowable catch (TAC) for albacore tuna in the North Atlantic at 28,000 t for 2012 and 2013. The current management measure for North Atlantic albacore tuna allows for potential overages by allowing excess catch (not included in the total TAC) to be caught by countries without an allocated TAC {ICCAT 2011a}{ICCAT 2016}.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 25 May 2011

North Atlantic albacore tuna are currently under a rebuilding program that was initiated in 2009 and last updated in 2011, with rebuilding to the Convention Objective expected by 2020 {ICCAT 2011a}.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 9 December 2009

Compliance with ICCAT management measures has been good for albacore tuna in the north Atlantic. Catches of albacore tuna in the north Atlantic have been below the recommended total allowable catch (TAC) since 2007 {ICCAT 2012a}{ICCAT 2016}.  Catches over the TAC can be subtracted from subsequent years {ICCAT 2011a}.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 25 May 2011

Several species of sea turtles and sea birds, listed as Endangered and Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are incidentally captured in longline fisheries operating in the Atlantic Ocean. This includes hawksbill (Endangered), leatherback (Endangered), loggerhead (Endangered), and olive ridley (Vulnerable), black-browed albatross (Endangered), grey-headed albatross (Vulnerable), wandering albatross (Vulnerable), white-chinned albatross (Vulnerable) and yellow-nosed albatross (Endangered) {IUCN Red List) {Klaer 2012} {Yeh et al. 2012}{Wallace et al. 2013}.

Several management measures to mitigate bycatch in the pelagic longline fishery have been implemented by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Member countries are required to collect and report information on bycatch and discards and are suggested to provide identification guides for sharks, seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals to vessels fishing on the high seas {ICCAT 2011b}. While information on sea bird interactions is to be recorded, there is no requirement in the North Atlantic to utilize sea bird specific mitigation measures (ICCAT 2011c). In addition, longline vessels must carry safe handling, disentanglement and release equipment for sea turtles and vessel captains must be trained in safe handling and release techniques {ICCAT 2010d}. Individual countries are required to report on the implementation and compliance with several of these measures including for sea turtles and sharks {ICCAT 2010d}{ICCAT 2012b}.

Other Species

Last updated on 25 May 2011

Sharks, other tunas (bigeye, yellowfin, bluefin), and billfish are also incidentally captured in longline fisheries operating in the North Atlantic. Currently commonly caught shark species such as blue and shortfin mako sharks are not overfished and swordfish populations are healthy {ICCAT 2012a}.

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) has adopted several management measures aimed at these species. Swordfish in the North Atlantic are managed through country specific TAC’s and a minimum size limit {ICCAT 2012a}. Silky, oceanic whitetip, thresher and hammerhead sharks are prohibited from being caught {ICCAT 2011d}{ICCAT 2010a}{ICCAT 2010b}{ICCAT 2009a}. Beginning in 2013, countries that have not report catch data on shortfin mako sharks are prohibited from catching them {ICCAT 2010c}.

HABITAT

Last updated on 25 May 2011

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 25 May 2011

Area / Time closures in place to protect non-target species and reduce mortality of juvenile tuna and swordfish species.

1) Northeastern US Closure (closed to PLL fishing vessels in June)
2) Cape Hatteras Special Research Area (CHSRA) – PLL Special observer coverage.
3) Northeast Distant PLL gear restricted area
4) Charleston Bump (Closed from Feb 1 to April 30, every year)
5) Florida East Coast (Closed to PLL throughout the year)
6) De Sote Canyon (Closed to PLL all year)

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 26 July 2018

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

ICCAT has put a recovery plan into place in 2009 and updated it in 2011. There are specific management plans in place for albacore but target and limit reference points are not defined and there are no harvest control rules in place.

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Managers have set the TAC according to advice from the SCRS; however the 2011 CMM has an allowance for CPC's that were not allotted a catch limit to catch 200 mt, which is not included in the 28,000 mt catch limit.

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the Landings as a percentage of the Set TAC.

The Landings is 5.95 ('000 t). The Set TAC is 28.0 ('000 t) .

The underlying Landings/Set TAC for this index is 21.3%.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

The biomass has increased and is no longer overfished. 96% probability that the population is not overfished and not undergoing overfsihing.

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Fishing mortality rates are currently sustainable.

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 (F/F[~MSY~], B/B[~MSY~]); the thresholds have been set accordingly. 2) There is no B[~lrp~] in place thus score 1 cannot be computed. 3) B/BMSY and F/FMSY ratios are not available so quantitative scores 4 and 5 could not be calculated.

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

FishWatch. 2011. FishWatch - U.S. Seafood Facts, NOAA-NMFS, North Atlantic Albacore Tuna.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). 2009a. Recommendation by ICCAT on the conservation of thresher sharks caught in association with fisheries in the ICCAT convention area. Recommendation 09-07.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). 2010a. Recommendation by ICCAT on hammerhead sharks (family Sphyrnidae) caught in association with fisheries managed by ICCAT. Recommendation 10-08.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). 2010b. Recommendation by ICCAT on the conservation of oceanic whitetip shark caught in association with fisheries in the ICCAT convention area. Recommendation 10-07.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). 2010c. Recommendation by ICCAT on Atlantic shortfin mako sharks caught in association with ICCAT fisheries. Recommendation 10-06.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). 2010d. Recommendation by ICCAT on the by-catch of sea turtles in ICCAT fisheries. Recommendation 10-09.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). 2010h. Recommendation by ICCAT on Atlantic shortfin mako sharks caught in association with ICCAT fisheries. Recommendation 10-06.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). 2011a. Supplemental recommendation by ICCAT concerning the north Atlantic albacore rebuilding program. Recommendation 11-04

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). 2011b. Recommendation by ICCAT on information collection and harmonization of data on bycatch and discards in ICCAT fisheries. Recommendation 11-10.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). 2011c. Supplemental recommendation by ICCAT on reducing incidental bycatch of seabirds in ICCAT longline fisheries. Recommendation 11-02.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). 2011d. Recommendation by ICCAT on the conservation of silky sharks caught in association with ICCAT fisheries. Recommendation 11-08.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). 2012a. Report of the standing committee on research and statistics (SCRS). PLE-104/2012, Madrid, Spain, 1-5 October 2012.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). 2012b. Recommendation by ICCAT on compliance with existing measures on shark conservation and management. Recommendation 12-05.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). 2013. Report of the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS). Madrid, Spain, September 30-October 4, 2013.


ICCAT. 2016. Report of the 2016 ICCAT north and south Atlantic albacore stock assessment meeting. Madeira, Portugal, April 28-May 6, 2016. http://www.iccat.int/Documents/Meetings/Docs/2016_ALB_REPORT_ENG.pdf

Klaer, N.L. 2012. Estimates of total seabird bycatch by Atlantic pelagic longline fisheries from 2003-2006. Marine Fisheries Review 74:14-20.

NOAA. 2011. NMFS Atlantic Tunas Program from January 1, 2011 - December 31, 2011, Summary of fishery information and regulations for Atlantic Tuna Fisheries, 4 pages.

NOAA. 2010. Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE)
Report for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species 2010, Highly Migratory Species Management Division, Office of Sustainable Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service, 231 pages.
 

Wallace, B.P., Kot, C.Y., MiMatteo, A.D., Lee, T., Crowder, L.B. and Lewison, R.L. 2013. Impacts of fisheries bycatch on marine turtle populations worldwide: toward conservation and research priorities. Ecosphere 4:40.http://dx.doi.org/10.1980/ES12-00388.1

Yeh, Y.M., Huan, H.W., Dietrich, K.S. and Melvin, E. 2012. Estimates of seabird incidental catch by pelagic longline fisheries in the south Atlantic Ocean. Animal Conservation 16:141-152.

  1. ICCAT, 2000. 00-06 Recommendation by ICCAT on northern albacore catch limits. 1 p.http://www.iccat.int/Documents%5CRecs%5Ccompendiopdf-e%5C2000-06-e.pdf
  2. ICCAT, 2001. 01-05 Recommendation by ICCAT on North Atlantic albacore catch limits. 1 p.http://www.iccat.int/Documents%5CRecs%5Ccompendiopdf-e%5C2001-05-e.pdf
  3. ICCAT, 2002. 02-05 Recommendation by ICCAT on North Atlantic albacore catch limits. 1 p. http://www.iccat.int/Documents%5CRecs%5Ccompendiopdf-e%5C2002-05-e.pdf
  4. ICCAT, 2003a. 03-06 Recommendation by ICCAT on north Atlantic albacore catch limits for the period 2004-2006. 1 p.http://www.iccat.int/Documents%5CRecs%5Ccompendiopdf-e%5C2003-06-e.pdf
  5. ICCAT, 2003b. Report of the 2003 ICCAT Albacore stock assessment session. 89 p.http://www.iccat.int/Documents/CVSP/CV056_2004/no_4/CV056041223.pdf
  6. ICCAT, 2006. 06-04 Supplemental Recommendation by ICCAT to Amend the Recommendation by ICCAT on North Atlantic Albacore Catch Limits for the Period 2004-2006. 1 p.http://www.iccat.int/Documents%5CRecs%5Ccompendiopdf-e%5C2006-04-e.pdf
  7. ICCAT, 2007a. 07-02 Recommendation by ICCAT on North Atlantic Albacore Catch Limits for the Period 2008-2009. 1 p.http://www.iccat.int/Documents%5CRecs%5Ccompendiopdf-e%5C2007-02-e.pdf
  8. ICCAT, 2007b. Report of the 2007 ICCAT Albacore stock assessment session. 119 p. http://www.iccat.int/Documents/CVSP/CV062_2008/no_3/CV062030697.pdf
  9. ICCAT, 2009a. Report of the 2009 ICCAT Albacore stock assessment session. 100 p.http://www.iccat.int/Documents/Meetings/Docs/2009_ALB_ASSESS_ENG.pdf
  10. ICCAT, 2009b. Biennial Reports on management measures adopted and scientific advice provided by the SCRS. 275 p.http://www.iccat.int/Documents/BienRep/REP_EN_08-09_I_2.pdf
  11. ICCAT, 2009c. 09-05 Recommendation by ICCAT to establish a rebuilding program on north atlantic albacore. 2 p.http://www.iccat.int/Documents%5CRecs%5Ccompendiopdf-e%5C2009-05-e.pdf
References

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