Last updated on 1 September 2017

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Xiphias gladius

SPECIES NAME(s)

Swordfish

The best available scientific information from genetic and fishery data indicate that the swordfish of the northeastern Pacific Ocean (NEPO) and the southeastern Pacific Ocean (SEPO: south of about 5°S) constitute two distinct stocks. (ICAAT 2016) (Hinton and Maunder 2010)


ANALYSIS

Strengths

Swordfish populations in the southeastern Pacific Ocean are healthy and fishing mortality rates are not too high. Swordfish are managed by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission.

Weaknesses

There are currently no management measures in place for swordfish. Catches have been increasing in recent years and are approaching the maximum sustainable yield. The required observer coverage is low (5%) on longline vessels operating in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Interactions with protected, endangered and threatened species due occur in this fishery.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

9.8

Future Health:

≥ 8


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS
  1. Ensure member countries comply with all current and future Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission’s (IATTC) conservation and management measures (CMMs), including measures aimed at both target and incidental market and non-market species, and all other obligations. Through your delegation to IATTC, encourage the compliance committee to continue to make information on non-compliance by individual members and cooperating non-members publicly available and transparent.
  2. Promote the adoption by the IATTC and member countries of precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures, including biological reference points (interim ones are currently in place), harvest control rules (interim plan is currently being used), increased observer coverage for longline fleets, national management measures and monitoring efforts adequate to ensure harvest strategy objectives are being met.

3.    Encourage the IATTC to continue to monitor swordfish catches as they approach the maximum sustainable yield level.

4.Conduct studies, increase monitoring and publish information to assess longline interactions with endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) and other bycatch species.Identify and mandate best practice bycatch mitigation techniques.Demand compliance with recently implemented IATTC management measures prohibiting the retention of oceanic whitetip sharks. Encourage IATTC to adopt similar measures (i.e. prohibited retention) for silky sharks, comparable those adopted by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. In addition, encourage IATTC to establish an observer program for capacity class 1-5 vessels.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  1. Encourage both the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission’s (IATTC) and individual member and cooperating non-members to adopt precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures.   Demand that member countries comply with all current and future IATTC’s Conservation and Management Measures, and request the IATTC make information on monitoring and compliance publicly available.
  2. Explore implementation of control documents to ensure supplier compliance with IATTC conservation and management measures (CMMs) (e.g. around bycatch). 
  3. 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.
  4. Encourage the IATTC and member countries to conduct studies, increase monitoring and publish information to assess longline interactions with protected, endangered and threatened (PET) and other bycatch species.  Explore opportunities to support studies and data gathering.
  5. Contact SFP to learn more about fishery improvement projects (FIPs) and SFP’s Supplier Roundtables.

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
Southeast Pacific Chile Chile Bottom-set longlines
Drift gillnets
Drifting longlines
Longlines
IATTC China Longlines
Ecuador Drifting longlines
Korea, Republic of Hooks and lines
Panama Hooks and lines
Peru Longlines
Puerto Rico Drifting longlines
Spain Longlines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 10 April 2015

Strengths

Swordfish populations in the southeastern Pacific Ocean are healthy and fishing mortality rates are not too high. Swordfish are managed by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission.

Weaknesses

There are currently no management measures in place for swordfish. Catches have been increasing in recent years and are approaching the maximum sustainable yield. The required observer coverage is low (5%) on longline vessels operating in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Interactions with protected, endangered and threatened species due occur in this fishery.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 1 July 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators
  1. Ensure member countries comply with all current and future Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission’s (IATTC) conservation and management measures (CMMs), including measures aimed at both target and incidental market and non-market species, and all other obligations. Through your delegation to IATTC, encourage the compliance committee to continue to make information on non-compliance by individual members and cooperating non-members publicly available and transparent.
  2. Promote the adoption by the IATTC and member countries of precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures, including biological reference points (interim ones are currently in place), harvest control rules (interim plan is currently being used), increased observer coverage for longline fleets, national management measures and monitoring efforts adequate to ensure harvest strategy objectives are being met.

3.    Encourage the IATTC to continue to monitor swordfish catches as they approach the maximum sustainable yield level.

4.Conduct studies, increase monitoring and publish information to assess longline interactions with endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) and other bycatch species.Identify and mandate best practice bycatch mitigation techniques.Demand compliance with recently implemented IATTC management measures prohibiting the retention of oceanic whitetip sharks. Encourage IATTC to adopt similar measures (i.e. prohibited retention) for silky sharks, comparable those adopted by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. In addition, encourage IATTC to establish an observer program for capacity class 1-5 vessels.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  1. Encourage both the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission’s (IATTC) and individual member and cooperating non-members to adopt precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures.   Demand that member countries comply with all current and future IATTC’s Conservation and Management Measures, and request the IATTC make information on monitoring and compliance publicly available.
  2. Explore implementation of control documents to ensure supplier compliance with IATTC conservation and management measures (CMMs) (e.g. around bycatch). 
  3. 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.
  4. Encourage the IATTC and member countries to conduct studies, increase monitoring and publish information to assess longline interactions with protected, endangered and threatened (PET) and other bycatch species.  Explore opportunities to support studies and data gathering.
  5. Contact SFP to learn more about fishery improvement projects (FIPs) and SFP’s Supplier Roundtables.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 9 April 2015

The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) last conducted an assessment of swordfish in the southeastern Pacific Ocean in 2011. The assessment used the Stock Synthesis model with catch data through April of 2011 {IATTC 2014a}.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 22 July 2011

According to the latest stock assessment, catches have been increasing since 2005 and are approaching the maximum sustainable yield level {IATTC 0214a}. No specific advice has been provided.

Reference Points

Last updated on 22 Jul 2011

Reference points (Hinton and Maunder 2011):

M = 0.2
MSY = 25,000 tonnes
Spawning Biomass = 135,000 tonnes in 2010
Spawning Biomass Ratio = 1.45
BMSY/B0 = 0.20
SMSY = 0.11
Brecent/BMSY = 10.40
Srecent/SMSY = 14.76

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 9 April 2015

The swordfish southeast stock in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in not overfished and not experiencing overfishing. Spawning biomass ratio is 1.45, and recent catch levels (~14,300 t) are below the estimated MSY of ~25,000 tonnes (Hinton and Maunder 2011).

Trends

Last updated on 09 Apr 2015

In recent years there has bee a series of high recruitment’s to the fishery. Catches have been increasing since 2005 {IATTC 2014a}.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 10 April 2015

Swordfish in the southeastern Pacific Ocean are managed by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. However, currently there are no measures in place specific to swordfish.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 10 Apr 2015

Swordfish populations are healthy and there is no recovery plan in place.

Chile

To protect interests of Artisanal fishers, Commercial longliners are only allowed to fish beyond 120 nm of the Chilean coastline (Ward and Elscot 2000).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 9 April 2015

There is no TAC or management measure in place to track compliance with.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 10 April 2015

The longline fisheries operating in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) 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.

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 requiredon 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).

Chile
Drift gillnets

Last updated on 20 December 2010

According to Eckert and Eckert (1997) around 2000 leatherback turtles are killed in Chilean and Peruvian gillnet fisheries targeting swordfish.

Other Species

Last updated on 10 April 2015

Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) longlines fisheries also catch a number of other species of fish, including other billfish and tuna species, along with sharks.

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

Chile
Longlines

Last updated on 20 December 2010

Studies on by-catch in the swordfish fisheries off Chile are relatively rare, with information from Acuña et al. (2002) and Weidner & Serrano (1997) showing that the most common bycatch species are tunas and sharks. Yanez et al., (2004) report that catches off Cordillera de Nazca include blue shark (Prionace glauca), rays (Myliobatis chilensis), albacore (Thunnus alalunga), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas).

Swordfish comprised 44% of total longline catches, with by-catch of other species including Blue sharks, striped marlins, brown sharks, Yellowfin tuna, Shortfin mako sharks, dolphin fish, shortbill spearfish, bigeye tuna, black oilfish, albacore tuna, wahoo, black marlin, oilfish, thresher sharks, opah, sailfish and Portbeagle sharks. 17 of the 23 fish species caught in the longline pelagic fisheries were considered fish of commercial value and the remaining 6 species (pelagic stingrays, cooki-cutter sharks, “barracudas (Gempilus sp. and Alepisaurus sp.), an amberjack (Seriola sp.), and the skipjack tuna were discarded (Barria et al., 2005).

Drifting longlines

Studies on by-catch in the swordfish fisheries off Chile are relatively rare, with information from Acuña et al. (2002) and Weidner & Serrano (1997) showing that the most common bycatch species are tunas and sharks. Yanez et al., (2004) report that catches off Cordillera de Nazca include blue shark (Prionace glauca), rays (Myliobatis chilensis), albacore (Thunnus alalunga), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas).

Swordfish comprised 44% of total longline catches, with by-catch of other species including Blue sharks, striped marlins, brown sharks, Yellowfin tuna, Shortfin mako sharks, dolphin fish, shortbill spearfish, bigeye tuna, black oilfish, albacore tuna, wahoo, black marlin, oilfish, thresher sharks, opah, sailfish and Portbeagle sharks. 17 of the 23 fish species caught in the longline pelagic fisheries were considered fish of commercial value and the remaining 6 species (pelagic stingrays, cooki-cutter sharks, “barracudas (Gempilus sp. and Alepisaurus sp.), an amberjack (Seriola sp.), and the skipjack tuna were discarded (Barria et al., 2005).

Bottom-set longlines

Last updated on 25 February 2011

Studies on by-catch in the swordfish fisheries off Chile are relatively rare, with information from Acuña et al. (2002) and Weidner & Serrano (1997) showing that the most common bycatch species are tunas and sharks. Yanez et al., (2004) report that catches off Cordillera de Nazca include blue shark (Prionace glauca), rays (Myliobatis chilensis), albacore (Thunnus alalunga), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas).

Swordfish comprised 44% of total longline catches, with by-catch of other species including Blue sharks, striped marlins, brown sharks, Yellowfin tuna, Shortfin mako sharks, dolphin fish, shortbill spearfish, bigeye tuna, black oilfish, albacore tuna, wahoo, black marlin, oilfish, thresher sharks, opah, sailfish and Portbeagle sharks. 17 of the 23 fish species caught in the longline pelagic fisheries were considered fish of commercial value and the remaining 6 species (pelagic stingrays, cooki-cutter sharks, “barracudas (Gempilus sp. and Alepisaurus sp.), an amberjack (Seriola sp.), and the skipjack tuna were discarded (Barria et al., 2005).

HABITAT

Gears used to catch swordfish do not typically come into contact with bottom habitats.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 6 March 2018

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2011 data.

The score is 9.8.

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

The Ratio SSB/SSBmsy is 1.45 . The SSB=SSBmsy is 1.00 .

The underlying Ratio SSB/SSBmsy/SSB=SSBmsy for this index is 145%.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

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
*Notes: *1. Information on catches and biomass were taken from IATTC 2014 Fishery Status report {IATTC 2014}. *2. No TAC is in place and fishing mortality rates are not available so quantitative scores could not be calculated for scores 1-3 and 5.

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits

Bremer, A., J. R., Hinton, M.G., Greig, T.W. 2006. Evidence of spatial genetic heterogeneity in Pacific swordfish (Xiphias gladius L.) revealed by the analysis of ldh-A sequences. Bull. Mar. Sci., 79 (3): 493-503. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/233486831_Evidence_of_spatial_genetic_heterogeneity_in_Pacific_swordfish_%28Xiphias_gladius%29_revealed_by_the_analysis_Of_ldh-A_sequences

Hinton, M. G. and Bremer, A.J. 2007. Stock structure of swordfish in the Pacific Ocean. IATTC Working Group to Review Stock Assessments, 8th Meeting, La Jolla, CA, 7–11 May
2007. Document SAR-8-11, 18 pages. http://www.iattc.org/pdffiles2/sar-8-11-swo-stock-structure.pdf

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.

Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2007. Resolution to mitigate the impact of tuna fishing vessels on sea turtles. Resolution C-07-03.

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.

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.

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.

Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). 2014. Fishery status report No. 12. IATTA, La Jolla, CA.

Sosa-Nishizaki, O., and M. Shimizu. 1991. Spatial and temporal CPUE trends and stock unit inferred from them for the Pacific swordfish caught by the Japanese tuna longline fishery. Bull. Nat. Res. Inst. Far Seas Fish., 28: 75-89 https://www.iattc.org/PDFFiles2/StockAssessmentReports/SAR8-SWO-ENG.pdf

  1. Hinton, H.G., Maunder, M.N. 2011. Status of Swordfish in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 2010 and Outlook for the future, IATTC, 33 pages.http://www.iattc.org/PDFFiles2/StockAssessmentReports/SAR-12-SWOENG.pdf

Appended content

  1. Hinton, M. G., and J. R. Alvarado Bremer. 2007. Stock structure of swordfish in the north Pacific. Working Group to Review Stock Assessments. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. 11p. http://www.iattc.org/PDFFiles2/SAR-8-11-SWO-stock-structure.pdf
References

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