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Last updated on 2 November 2018

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Prionotus spp

SPECIES NAME(s)

Searobins nei, Gallineta

COMMON NAMES

Gallineta

Two species of Prionotus (locally named "gallinetas") are included in this profile, P. stephanophrys and P. alborostris as they are both part of the catch of the fishery for small pelagics in Ecuador (Legalsa Asociados 2016). Catch statistics or biomass estimates however are not provided at the species level (Herrera et al. 1998). No stock assessment has ever been conducted on Prionotus spp. in Ecuador, so an unascertained top node is assigned with a management unit for Ecuador. Both species are distributed in the eastern and southeastern Pacific (van der Heiden et al. 2010) (Iwamoto et al. 2010). Since 2018 searobins can be used in Ecuador for reduction purposes.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • A two-months fishing ban is established every year to protect the reproduction of the species.
  • There is a regulation on mesh size and some spatial protection measures have been adopted to protect reproductive phases, as advised.
  • The first mile from coast is closed to fishing to protect the reproduction of aquatic species
  • Marine habitats and bottom types have been identified an mapped.
  • There is a national plan for the conservation of sea turtles and a national plan for the conservation of sharks and rays.
Weaknesses
  • The stock structure is unknown hindering a proper assessment at a relevant spatial scale.
  • No stock assessment has been conducted; the stock status in therefore unknown and no reference points have been set.
  • The fishery is not managed through fish quotas.
  • Fishery statistics, particularly catch data, seems to be underestimated based on the amount of fish meal production and exports of canned fish.
  • The impact on bottom habitats and the whole ecosystem, as well as on ETP species, is unknown.
  • There is no current information on the degree of compliance and enforcement of existing regulation measures.
  • Ecosystem impact of this fishery and the role of searobins in the ecosystem of the area where this fishery operates have not been evaluated
Options
  • Investigate stock structure of searobins off Ecuador and conduct stock assessment in order to know the stock status.
  • Set minimum landing size as recommended by INP.
  • Improve bycatch monitoring and reporting.
  • Increase transparency both in assessment and management issues and the accessibility to historical and recent official reports and fisheries data.
  • Support the approval and implementation of the new fisheries law for increased monitoring and enforcement of existing regulation measures.
  • Improve official catch records and specifically provide catch data for Prionotus species separately and not as part of a group of species.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

DATA DEFICIENT

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

DATA DEFICIENT

Future Health:

DATA DEFICIENT


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.

MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Ecuador - Artisanal Ecuador Purse seines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 2 November 2018

Strengths
  • A two-months fishing ban is established every year to protect the reproduction of the species.
  • There is a regulation on mesh size and some spatial protection measures have been adopted to protect reproductive phases, as advised.
  • The first mile from coast is closed to fishing to protect the reproduction of aquatic species
  • Marine habitats and bottom types have been identified an mapped.
  • There is a national plan for the conservation of sea turtles and a national plan for the conservation of sharks and rays.
Weaknesses
  • The stock structure is unknown hindering a proper assessment at a relevant spatial scale.
  • No stock assessment has been conducted; the stock status in therefore unknown and no reference points have been set.
  • The fishery is not managed through fish quotas.
  • Fishery statistics, particularly catch data, seems to be underestimated based on the amount of fish meal production and exports of canned fish.
  • The impact on bottom habitats and the whole ecosystem, as well as on ETP species, is unknown.
  • There is no current information on the degree of compliance and enforcement of existing regulation measures.
  • Ecosystem impact of this fishery and the role of searobins in the ecosystem of the area where this fishery operates have not been evaluated
Options
  • Investigate stock structure of searobins off Ecuador and conduct stock assessment in order to know the stock status.
  • Set minimum landing size as recommended by INP.
  • Improve bycatch monitoring and reporting.
  • Increase transparency both in assessment and management issues and the accessibility to historical and recent official reports and fisheries data.
  • Support the approval and implementation of the new fisheries law for increased monitoring and enforcement of existing regulation measures.
  • Improve official catch records and specifically provide catch data for Prionotus species separately and not as part of a group of species.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 2 November 2018

The National Institute of Fisheries of Ecuador (INP) is responsible for assessing the status of the stock of all small pelagic fishes in Ecuador. However stock assessment of searobins in Ecuador has not been conducted, and reference points have not been set.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 2 November 2018

The monitoring and analysis of fisheries and landings involving the harvesting of small pelagic fishes conducted by the purse seiner fleet of Ecuador was started in 1981 by the National Institute of Fisheries of Ecuador (INP) through the Small Pelagic Fishes Program. The limited resources of this Institution, however, has prevented conducting regular scientific surveys, and advise is therefore provided based on sampling at fish markets and estimation of effort based on the information provided by the vessels and harbor records. Advice is provided in the Annual Reports of the Fishery for Small Pelagics produced by INP. The two most recent available Annual Reports (González 2010)(Prado España 2009), included advise on technical measures such as setting minimum landing size for small pelagic fishes in Ecuador after reporting that for some species most of the individuals captured are below the size at 50% maturity; the regulation of mesh size; the establishment of temporal closures in the spawning season (for all small pelagic species); and the regulation or ban of the use of lights for fishing which attract undersized individuals and non-target species.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 2 November 2018

There are not official reports or estimations of the current status of searobins in Ecuador. Catches in 2016 reached 462 tonnes, a modest value compared to the catches in the late 2000's.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 2 November 2018

The Law of Fisheries and Fisheries Development (Gobierno de Ecuador 1974) is the Law that regulates fishing activities in Ecuador. Management of the Fishery for Small Pelagics in Ecuador (including searobins) occurring in Ecuadorian national waters is conducted by the Subsecretary of Fishery Resources which belongs to the Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries. A new Law of Fisheries and Aquaculture is in draft stage (July 2018). When this Law is approved, the Fishing Authority will be entity responsible for management of Ecuadorian fisheries and aquaculture activities.

Searobins in Ecuador is not managed through TACs or catch quotas and reference points for this resource have not been set. There are no fish quotas for this fishery in Ecuador and reference points for searobins have not been set. Management authorities have adopted some, but not all, of the technical measures proposed by the INP in the last years. Minimum landing sizes have not been set ignoring the high rates of juveniles in the catches repeatedly reported by INP (González 2010)(González et al. 2008)(Prado España 2009). Management of searobins in Ecuador consist of temporal closures (two months; in 2018 the closed season was set from 1-31 March and from 24 October-23 November) (MAP 2018), spatial closures (fishing is not allowed within the first mile from the shoreline (MAP 2003)(MAP 2007); first eight miles from coast are reserved for artisanal fisheries; (MAP 1990)) and a minimum mesh size of 1,5 inches for purse seiners targeting searobins and small pelagic species in Ecuador (MAGAP 2011). Bycatch by purse seiners targeting small pelagic species in Ecuador cannot exceed 20% (MAGAP 2011). The use of fishing lights has been prohibited in 2011 (MAGAP 2011). A fisheries observer program is in place covering at least 30% of the fishing trips (MAGAP 2010). In 2018 the Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries lifted the ban on the use of searobins for reduction purposes (MAP 2018).

Ecuador is a Member Country of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) since 2015. As such it is committed to apply all the conservation and management measures (CMM) established by the SPRFMO. Currently, there are fifteen CMMs in place detailing various provisions such as the application of technical measures or output and input controls, requirements for data collection and reporting, as well as regulations for monitoring, control and surveillance and enforcement. However, Ecuadorian purse seiners seem to operate only in national jurisdictional waters where SPRFMO CMM’s do not apply.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 2 November 2018

There are no TAC or quotas set for searobins in Ecuador. Fishing activities in Ecuadorian national waters are regulated by the Law of Fisheries and Fisheries Development (Gobierno de Ecuador 1974), which set the penalties for violations of the regulations and acts included in that Law and which includes economic fines, withdrawal of fishing permits or imprisonment. Compliance with regulations is enforced through inspections at harbors and observers on board of commercial vessels. The new Law of Fisheries and Aquaculture which is in draft stage (July 2018) will set the new legal framework for compliance and enforcement in Ecuadorian fisheries, including a wide array of penalties such as withdrawal of fishing license, confiscation of fishing products, economic fines and immobilization of the vessel. This new Law also specifies that compliance will be enforced through VMS monitoring, on-board observers, inspection of landings, image recording systems among others.

There magnitude of IUU fishing in the fishery for small pelagic species in Ecuador is largely unknown. There is no information on the degree of compliance and enforcement of the existing regulation measures.

Concerns have been raised on the level of underreporting of catches. I was calculated at 190,000 tonnes considering all small pelagics species in Ecuador. This estimate is based on comparison of volumes from official records reported by the INP, and volumes estimated from fishmeal production and canned fish exports (Ormaza 2016).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 2 November 2018

Purse seine fisheries have some interactions with sea turtles, but far less than longline fisheries (Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador 2014). There is a permanent ban on turtle capture in Ecuador (Acuerdo Ministerial 212, 1990). In 2007 fisheries observers from the INP reported that in 10 trips, three turtles were captured and released alive. Although there is no information on which specific turtle species interact with purse seiners in Ecuador, all the five marine turtles of Ecuador are listed in CITES appendix I and are considered ETP species: the green turtle Chelonia mydas (IUCN classification: "endangered"), the olive ridley sea turtle Lepidochelys olivacea ("vulnerable"), the hawksbill sea turtle Eretmochelys imbrincata ("critically endangered"), the leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea ("vulnerable") and the loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta ("vulnerable"). These species are included in the National Plan for Sea Turtles of Ecuador (Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador 2014) which aims to take the actions needed for the conservation of the sea turtles and their essential habitats in Ecuador, including the implementation of a plan to assess the interaction between coastal purse seiners and sea turtles in Ecuador and the establishment of a plan to reduce the impact of coastal purse seiner on sea turtles. 

There is very little information on the interaction between Ecuadorian purse seiners targeting small pelagic species and sharks, although it has been reported that some bycatch of small sharks and rays can occur (Coello 2005). The National Plan for Sharks (Aguilar et al. 2005) is being implemented as a way to improve the conservation of sharks and rays and reduce the accidental catch of these species by industrial and artisanal fishing boats. 

Among all the marine mammals reported to have some interaction with Ecuadorian fisheries (reviewed in (Félix et al. 2007)), the sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus is the only ETP species ("vulnerable" according to IUCN). However the interaction between purse seines targeting small pelagic species in Ecuador and marine mammals is considered negligible (MAP 2018)

Other Species

Last updated on 2 November 2018

The Fishery for Small Pelagics in Ecuador is a multispecific fishery. A change in the main technical specifications of the fishing gears occurred after 2010 (e.g. increase of mesh size) by means of several regulations (MAGAP 2010) (MAP 2010), giving rise to a shift in the catch composition and main target species. Main species in terms of landed biomass for the period 2012-2016 were: Scomber japonicus (chub mackerel, “macarela”), Decapterus macrosoma (shortfin scad, “picudillo”), Trichiurus lepturus (Largehead hairtail, “corbata”), Auxis thazard (frigate tuna, “botella”),  Cetengraulis mysticetus (Pacific Anchoveta, “chuhueco”),  Fistularia commersoni (bluespotted cornetfish, “trompeta”), Prionotus spp. (searobins, “gallineta”), Ophistonema spp. (thread herring, “pinchagua”) and Etrumeus acuminatus  (red-eye round herring, “sardina redonda”).

There are no reference points for any bycatch species of the Fishery for Small Pelagic Fishes of Ecuador. Bycatch by purse seiners targeting small pelagic species in Ecuador cannot exceed 20% (MAGAP 2011). However, no compliance information about this measure are available

HABITAT

Last updated on 2 November 2018

There is very detailed information on seafloor types (Terán et al. 2006) off Ecuador and most priority habitats such as coral reefs or mangrove swamps have been identified and mapped by the Ministry of the Environment and made available through the Environmental Interactive Map in 2015. However, there is no information on the impacts of purse seiners targeting small pelagic species in Ecuador, on bottom habitats. Since this is a pelagic gear, it could be assumed that the impact is negligible. However in some years there are considerable catches of species such as the Pacific bumper (Chloroscombrus orqueta) or searobins (Prionotus spp.) that live close to the bottom meaning that either the purse seines are higher that legally allowed and cover the whole water column or vessels operate very close to the shoreline (Prado España 2009). In both cases, an impact on seabed habitats might take place, but the magnitude of such an impact has not been evaluated. Alternatively demersal species may be attracted to the surface by artifical lights, although this practice is banned since 2011 (MAGAP 2011).

There is no habitat management strategy for seafloor habitats in Ecuador, however there are some measures in place. For instance, the first mile from coast is closed to fishing to protect the reproduction of species and indirectly the bottom habitats. The first eight miles from coast are reserved for artisanal fishing and industrial activities are prohibited (MAP 1990). However, no compliance information about these measures is available. A network of 21 Coastal and Marine Natural Protected Areas (AMCPs) was created in 2017 (Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador 2017).

ECOSYSTEM

Last updated on 2 November 2018

The pelagic ecosystem in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean has been object of research and it is well described. Models have been developed in the past to describe the ecosystem dynamics, structure and functioning in relation to tuna fisheries (Olson and Watters 2003). However there is no enough data to understand if the fishery for small pelagic fish (and especially the harvesting of searobins) may cause serious or irreversible harm to the whole ecosystem as the specific impact of this fishery was not assessed in the model.

Ecosystem based fisheries management is not implemented for this fishery. Instead, the fishery for Small Pelagic Fishes in Ecuador is managed through spatial and temporal closures and some technical restrictions like mesh size limits. Since the small pelagic targeted by this fishery are key elements of the Eastern Pacific pelagic ecosystem, those fishery management tools may benefit the ecosystem as a whole. There is little or no information on the enforcement of such measures but some lack of compliance with the seasonal fishing bans have been reported in the past for several small pelagic species (Prado España 2009).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 2 November 2018

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is < 6.

The Law of Fisheries and Fisheries Development (1974) is the Law that regulates fishing activities in Ecuador. However there are no management objectives for the stock, a management plan or harvest control rule in place.

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Searobins are not managed through TACs or fish quotas in Ecuador. Some but not all the management recommendations made by the National Institue of Fisheries of Ecuador (INP) have been adopted by the management entity. For instance, there is a two-months ban established every year to protect the reproduction of the species, a regulation on mesh size and some spatial protection measures have been adopted to protect reproductive phases, as advised. Minimum landing sizes, however, have not been implemented in spite of being one of the recommendations of the INP.

As determined for 2018.

The magnitude of IUU fishing and compliance to current fishing regulations (such as seasonal and spatial closures) are currently unknown

STOCK HEALTH:

As determined for 2018.

Landings ofsearobins have been irregular over time. There is no information on current stock status because stock assessment has not been recently conducted.

As determined for 2018.

Although harvest levels have not been recognized as unsustainable, stock assessment of searobins in this region has never been conducted so it is not possible to know if current harvest levels are sustainable and what will be the stock health in the future.

No data available for biomass
No data available for biomass
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for stock status
No data available for stock status
DATA NOTES
  • The lack of information prevents the calculation of quantitative scores; therefore qualitative scores are provided.
  • Catch data for the period 2005-2016 are available from Camara Nacional de Pesqueria (CNP).

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

References

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