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Profile updated on 26 July 2019

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Katsuwonus pelamis

SPECIES NAME(s)

Skipjack tuna

It is likely that skipjack are distributed throughout the Pacific as a single population. Exchange of fish between the eastern and western region is not common. The majority of catches occur in the eastern and western regions. Therefore assessments are conducted for both the eastern and western regions (Maunder 2015).


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Fishing mortality rates and biomass are currently thought to be sustainable.
  • Discarding of tunas is prohibited.
  • There is a multi-year conservation plan in place, which has just been extended, for skipjack tuna (and other tuna species).
  • A harvest control rule has been adopted.
  • There is 100% observer coverage on large purse seine vessels operating on the high seas.
Weaknesses
  • There are no MSY based reference points used for skipjack tuna in the EPO.
  • 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.
  • Purse seine fisheries can interact with ETP species..

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 8

Future Health:

≥ 8


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.
  • 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

  • Eastern Pacific Ocean tropical tuna - purse seine (OPAGAC):

    Stage 4, Progress Rating A

  • Eastern Pacific Ocean tropical tuna - purse seine (TUNACONS):

    Stage 4, Progress Rating A

CERTIFICATIONS

  • Mexico Baja California pole and line yellowfin and skipjack tuna:

    Withdrawn

  • Northeastern Tropical Pacific purse seine yellowfin & skipjack tuna:

    MSC Certified

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
Ecuador Dolphin set purse seining
FAD-free
Longlines
Purse seines
Mexico Dolphin set purse seining
FAD-free
Pole-lines hand operated
Purse seines
Nicaragua Associated purse seining
FAD-free
Panama Associated purse seining
FAD-free
Spain FAD-free
Purse seines
United States Associated purse seining
Drifting longlines
Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Associated purse seining

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 16 August 2018

Strengths
  • Fishing mortality rates and biomass are currently thought to be sustainable.
  • Discarding of tunas is prohibited.
  • There is a multi-year conservation plan in place, which has just been extended, for skipjack tuna (and other tuna species).
  • A harvest control rule has been adopted.
  • There is 100% observer coverage on large purse seine vessels operating on the high seas.
Weaknesses
  • There are no MSY based reference points used for skipjack tuna in the EPO.
  • 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.
  • Purse seine fisheries can interact with ETP species..
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 31 July 2019

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.
  • 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.
Mexico
Purse seines

Last updated on 28 December 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Monitor the progress in closing out conditions placed upon the MSC certification of the fishery and if agreed timelines are met. Offer assistance in closing conditions where possible.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 16 August 2018

Stock assessments are difficult to conduct on skipjack tuna due to their high and variable productivity. These characteristics make it difficult to determine the effect of fishing using typical stock assessment techniques. The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) conducts assessments of skipjack tuna using various indicators instead of traditional reference points. The most recent assessment conducted in 2018 used eight data and model based indicators 1) catch, 2) CPDF NOA, 3) average weight, 4) relative recruitment, 5) CPDF OBJ, 6) standardized effort, 7) relative biomass, and 8) exploitation rate (Maunder 2018).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 16 August 2018

The latest scientific advice, based on the 2015 assessment, is that there is no concern over the status of the stock and no additional management measures beyond those adopted for other tropical tuna species are needed (IATTC 2018)(Maunder 2018).

 
CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 16 August 2018

It is most likely that skipjack tuna are not overfished or undergoing overfishing (Maunder 2018).

Trends

The biomass, recruitment and exploitation rates have been variable over time. In recent years the biomass has been above average levels but this varies among regions of the eastern Pacific Ocean. Fishing mortality rates were higher during the 1970’s and early 1980’s and has fluctuated around average levels since the mid-1990's (Maunder 2018).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 16 August 2018

The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) currently has a multi-year conservation plan in place for bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin tuna caught in the eastern Pacific Ocean. 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 9th 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}.

IATTC has a multi-annual conservation program in place to monitor tuna populations. The plan was last updated in 2017 for the 2018-2020 fishing seasons (IATTC 2017).

Mexico
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 31 December 2011

Port sampling for skipjack tuna is undertaken on a regular basis in Mexican ports to estimate size and species composition for use in stock assessments (IATTC 2011b).

All pole& line vessels need to be licensed and authorisations last 20 years. Licenses need renewal each year and renewal is subjected to submission of catch declaration from the previous year. Skippers are required to maintain logbook onboard (details include includes trip length, fishing days, fishing zone, species, the license details of the catching vessel, the weight landed and the average value) and all landings must be reported within 3 days to CONAPESCA (Arreguin-Sanchez et al 2011).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 16 August 2018

There is no TAC in place for skipjack tuna.

Ecuador
Purse seines

Last updated on 22 September 2012

In Ecuador waters, compliance is relatively good in the industrial fishing sector with vessels monitored through VMS and onboard observers for compliance with national and IATTC regulations. However, there are huge gaps in monitoring landings from small-scale landing centres, and IUU landings from this sector remain largely unaccounted in catch statistics.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 16 August 2018

Purse seine fisheries have some interactions with sea turtles, but far less than in the longline fisheries and marine mammal interactions are minimal. The troll and pole fisheries for bigeye tuna do not incidentally capture any of these species.The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) has put several management measures aimed at bycatch species into place. 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).

Ecuador
Dolphin set purse seining

There is reported incidental mortality of dolphins in the purse seine fisheries off Eastern Pacific Ocean (Hall 1998; Gosliner 1999; Joseph 1994).

Ecuador is signatory to the IATTC Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program (AIDCP) to reduce incidental mortality of dolphins in the tuna purse seine fisheries in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. IATTC members are required to have annual dolphin mortality limits and number of interactions with dolphins are monitored for tuna purse seiners through the onboard observer program. Since the introduction of the AIDCP program in early 90s, the incidental mortality of dolphins in EPO purse seine gear has been reduced from 132,000 in 1986 to around 1200 in the year 2010 (AIDCP 2012).

Mexico
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 31 December 2011

Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (PROFEPA) supervises protection of protected and endangered species in Mexican waters.

35 marine mammals have been reported off the west coast of Mexico, which include Short-beaked common dolphin (Delphiniums Delphi’s), Pacific white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and 5 species of turtles have been reported in the fishing area: hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Green or Black Turtle (Chelonia mydas agassizii), and Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) (Arreguin-Sanchez et al 2011; Arellano Peralta 2010; Rosales-Nanduca et al 2011). A turtle conservation program has been in implementation in Mexico since 1972, with a national programme for protection and conservation of turtles created in 1994. Sea birds are under special protection under NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2001(Torres et al 1995; DOF 2004, 2006; Arreguin-Sanchez et al 2011).

Other Species

Last updated on 1 November 2014

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).

Ecuador
Purse seines

Last updated on 23 September 2012

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean, by-catch for tuna purse seiners >363 MT, is available in page 139, (IATTC (2012) report. By-catch reported in the fishery include Billfishes (Makaira indica, Makaira nigricans, Kajikia audax, Istiophorus platypterus ), Dolphins ( Stenella attenuata, Stenella longirostris, Delphinus delphis ), Olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) and large pelagic fish (Common Dolphin fish, Pompano dolphin fish, Wahoo, Rainbow runner, Bigeye trevally, Yellowtail amberjack, Ocean Sunfish),Rays (Giant Manta, Spinetail Manta, Smoothtail Manta), sharks (Silky sharks, Oceanic whitetip sharks, Bigeye thresher sharks, Scalloped hammerhead sharks, Great Hammerhead sharks, Smooth hammerhead sharks, shortfin mako sharks), andsmaller fish like Ocean trigger fish, Bluestriped chub, Scrawled filefish, etc. (IATTC 2012).

The Skipjack tuna purse seine fishery off Ecuador, Galapagos islands and high seas areas of Eastern Pacific Ocean has reported problematic by-catch of sharks such as Carcharhinus falciformis, C. limbatus, C. longimanus, Sphyrna zygaena, Sphrna lewini (Roman-Verdesto and Orozco-Zöller 2006; Watson et al., 2009; Román-Verdesoto et al., 2010), mahi mahi, and other pelagic fish.

By-catch species commonly reported in the purse seine fisheries include small tunas, billfishes, rainbow runner, yellowtail, wahoo, sharks , rays, sea turtles, dolphinfish, trigger fishes and carangids (Hall 1998). For recording non-mammal by-catch, the observer coverage has witnessed an increase from 40% in 1993 to 100% by 2009 (IATTC 2011b).

Mexico
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 31 December 2011

There is reported bycatch (less than 5% of the retained catch) of juvenile yellowfin tuna and skipjack tuna which are not retained due to low market price. Other species reportedly caught in this fishery include mahi mahi (Coryphaena hippurus_), black skipjack tuna, wahoo (Acanthocyium solandri_), Sharks, mackerels, Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) and bigeye tuna. Al shark species caught in this fishery are reportedly released alive or discarded due to low market demand (Arreguin-Sanchez et al 2011).

Handlines and Pole and line fishery has no associated by catch of dolphins and other marine mammals and their impact on non-target species is nominal to low. Discards have never been foramlly reported or quantified in Mexican pole & line fishery (Arreguin-Sanchez et al 2011).

Fleets targeting yellowfin tuna stock in the purse seine fisheries may affect dolphin schools due to their association with yellowfin tuna schools in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (Joseph 1994; Hall, 1998; Vaca-Rodriguez and Enriquez-Andrade 2006; Roman-Verdeoto and Orozco-Zoller 2005).

HABITAT

Last updated on 23 September 2012

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

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 23 Sep 2012

All tuna purse seiners operating in the Eastern Pacific Ocean were required to stop fishing for a period of 62 days in 2011 and 2012 (IATTC 2012). The closures were in effect for the following time periods.

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.

Ecuador
Purse seines

Last updated on 21 September 2012

Pelagic fishing gear like purse seines have nominal adverse effects on coastal and marine habitats.

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 21 Sep 2012

All tuna purse seiners operating in the Eastern Pacific Ocean were required to stop fishing for a period of62 days in 2011 and 2012 (IATTC 2012). The closures were in effect for the following time periods.

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.

Mexico
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 31 December 2011

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 31 Dec 2011

Currently, there are very limited restrictions in place for pole and line fisheries in the Mexican EEZ off EPO waters. All pole&line vessels need to be licensed; and restrictions include prohibition on fishing within 12 miles form Islas Revillagigedo group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, which is far beyond the opertional range of pole& line vessels (Arreguin-Sanchez et al 2011).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 11 June 2019

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There are no specific management plans in place, but harvest control rules have been officially adopted. There are no MSY based reference points for skipjack tuna in the EPO.

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Managers have followed scientific advice by carrying over the current management plan into 2014 but have not adopted harvest control rules or reference points as of the 2014 Commission meeting.

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There is no TAC in place for skipjack tuna.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

The biomass is likely above MSY levels

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Fishing mortality rates are likely below MSY levels

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. We are aware of no advised or set quotas/TAC thus qualitative scores have been computed for 1, 2 and 3. 2. Indicators are currently used instead of traditional MSY based reference points. Thus the qualitative score for #’s 4 and 5. 3. Catches for 2017 from IATTC Fishery Status report for tuna, 2016 (IATTC 2017).

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

SELECT FIP

Access FIP Public Report

Progress Rating: A
Evaluation Start Date: 30 Sep 2016
Type: Comprehensive

Comments:

Stage 4 progress related to non-entangling FADs. FIP rating is A

1.
FIP Development
Sep 15
2.
FIP Launch
Jan 16
Jan 18
3.
FIP Implementation
May 19
4.
Improvements in Fishing Practices and Fishery Management
May 19
5.
Improvements on the Water
Verifiable improvement on the water
6.
MSC certification (optional)
MSC certificate made public

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

Mexico Baja California pole and line yellowfin and skipjack tuna

STATUS

Withdrawn on 5 June 2015

SCORES

This fishery withdrew from the Marine Stewardship Council program in June of 2015.

Principle Level Scores: Skipjack tuna

Principle Score
Principle 1 – Target Species 80.6
Principle 2 - Ecosystem 84.3
Principle 3 – Management System 82.8

Principle Level Scores: Yellowfin tuna

Principle Score
Principle 1 – Target Species 81.3
Principle 2 - Ecosystem 84.3
Principle 3 – Management System 82.8

Certification Type:

Sources

Credits

SFP is grateful to the Global Sustainable Supply Chains for Marine Commodities (GMC) project for contributing to the development of this profile. 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).

IATTC. 2015. Recommendations by the staff for conservation measures in the eastern Pacific Ocean, 2015. Document SAC-06-11.

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

Lehodey, P., Senina, I., Calmettes, B., Hampton, J., Nicol, S., Williams, P., Jurado Molina, J., Ogura, M., Kiyofuji, H., and Okamoto, S. 2011. SEAPODYM working progress and applications to Pacific skipjack tuna population and fisheries. WCPFC-SC7-2011/EB-WP 06 rev. 1.

Maunder, M.N. 2016. Status of skipjack tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean in 2016. IATTC Document SAC-07-05c.

References

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