Last updated on 9 October 2017

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Xiphias gladius

SPECIES NAME(s)

Swordfish

The stock structure of swordfish in the Pacific is fairly well known. A number of specific regions of spawning are known, and analyses of fisheries and genetic data indicate that there is only limited exchange of swordfish between geographical areas, including between the eastern and western, and the northern and southern, Pacific Ocean (ICAAT 2016).


ANALYSIS

Strengths

Swordfish are managed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). Swordfish in the southwestern Pacific Ocean are not overfished or undergoing overfishing. An updated assessment was conducted in 2017.

Weaknesses

There are no formally adopted harvest control rule or target reference points. Longline fisheries have interactions with protected, endangered and threatened species including sea turtle, sea birds and sharks. Mandated observer coverage is low (5%) in this fishery and not always achieved by individual countries.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

10

Future Health:

≥ 6


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Ensure member countries comply with all Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s (WCPFC’s) 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 WCPFC, encourage the compliance committee to make information on non-compliance by individual members and cooperating non-members publicly available and transparent. Based on recommendations from the 9th Regular Session of the Scientific Committee, promote the adoption by the Commission of an updated CMM that limits fishing to levels from 2007-2010 and to adopt additional measure specific to swordfish captured between the equator and 20 degrees south.
2. Promote the adoption by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commissions (WCPFC) and member countries of precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures, including biological reference points, harvest control rules, increased observer coverage for longline fleets, national management measures and monitoring efforts adequate to ensure harvest strategy objectives are being met.
3. Improve data collection and reporting through measures such as electronic logbooks, to ensure complete data sets (i.e. catches, effort, size), which are needed for robust stock assessments. The Scientific Committee specifically mentioned that continued improvements in the collection of size composition data is of great importance to the assessment and that operational data (i.e. number of hooks, number of fish landed, use of light sticks, bait type and hook type) would improve the analysis of catch rate date.
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. Provide evidence of full compliance with recently implemented WCPFC management measures prohibiting the retention of silky and oceanic whitetip sharks.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  1. Encourage both the WCPFC and individual member countries to adopt precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures.   Demand that member countries comply with all WCPFC’s Conservation and Management Measures, and request the WCPFC make information on monitoring and compliance publicly available. 
  2. Explore implementation of control documents to ensure supplier compliance with WCPFC conservation and management measures (CMMs) (e.g. around bycatch) such as: recording and reporting interactions, use of dehooking devices and line cutters for sea turtles, sea bird mitigation measures and prohibition on retaining silky and oceanic whitetip sharks.  
  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 and support the WCPFC and member countries to conduct studies, increase monitoring and publish information to assess fishery interactions with protected, endangered and threatened (PET) and other bycatch species.  Explore opportunities to support studies and data gathering.

Contact SFP to learn more about fishery improvement projects (FIPs) and SFP’s Supplier Roundtables.


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

  • Walker Seafood Australia Albacore and Yellowfin tuna, swordfish and mahi mahi longline:

    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
Southwest Pacific Vietnam Viet Nam Handlines hand operated
Longlines
Pole-lines hand operated
WCPFC Australia Bottom-set longlines
Longlines
Fiji Gillnets and entangling nets
Longlines
Spain Longlines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 13 April 2015

Strengths

Swordfish are managed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). Swordfish in the southwestern Pacific Ocean are not overfished or undergoing overfishing. An updated assessment was conducted in 2017.

Weaknesses

There are no formally adopted harvest control rule or target reference points. Longline fisheries have interactions with protected, endangered and threatened species including sea turtle, sea birds and sharks. Mandated observer coverage is low (5%) in this fishery and not always achieved by individual countries.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 1 July 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Ensure member countries comply with all Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s (WCPFC’s) 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 WCPFC, encourage the compliance committee to make information on non-compliance by individual members and cooperating non-members publicly available and transparent. Based on recommendations from the 9th Regular Session of the Scientific Committee, promote the adoption by the Commission of an updated CMM that limits fishing to levels from 2007-2010 and to adopt additional measure specific to swordfish captured between the equator and 20 degrees south.
2. Promote the adoption by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commissions (WCPFC) and member countries of precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures, including biological reference points, harvest control rules, increased observer coverage for longline fleets, national management measures and monitoring efforts adequate to ensure harvest strategy objectives are being met.
3. Improve data collection and reporting through measures such as electronic logbooks, to ensure complete data sets (i.e. catches, effort, size), which are needed for robust stock assessments. The Scientific Committee specifically mentioned that continued improvements in the collection of size composition data is of great importance to the assessment and that operational data (i.e. number of hooks, number of fish landed, use of light sticks, bait type and hook type) would improve the analysis of catch rate date.
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. Provide evidence of full compliance with recently implemented WCPFC management measures prohibiting the retention of silky and oceanic whitetip sharks.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  1. Encourage both the WCPFC and individual member countries to adopt precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures.   Demand that member countries comply with all WCPFC’s Conservation and Management Measures, and request the WCPFC make information on monitoring and compliance publicly available. 
  2. Explore implementation of control documents to ensure supplier compliance with WCPFC conservation and management measures (CMMs) (e.g. around bycatch) such as: recording and reporting interactions, use of dehooking devices and line cutters for sea turtles, sea bird mitigation measures and prohibition on retaining silky and oceanic whitetip sharks.  
  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 and support the WCPFC and member countries to conduct studies, increase monitoring and publish information to assess fishery interactions with protected, endangered and threatened (PET) and other bycatch species.  Explore opportunities to support studies and data gathering.

Contact SFP to learn more about fishery improvement projects (FIPs) and SFP’s Supplier Roundtables.

Australia
Longlines

Last updated on 30 October 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 13 April 2015

The most recent stock assessment for swordfish in the southwest Pacific Ocean was conducted in 2017. The MULTIFAN-CL assessment model was used for this assessment and included data through 2015. Changes made between the 2013 and 2017 assessment follow: 1.The 2013 reference case model. 2. The 2013 reference case model with the new MFCL executable. 3. A complete update to the 2013 reference case model – all inputs extended from 2011 to 2015. 4. The previous model with modifications to selectivity constraints, forms, groupings and time-series break in selectivity for the 04_AU_1 fishery. 5. The previous model with updated growth and maturity parameters from Farley et al. (2016). 6. The previous model with up-weighted size data, consistent with the approach for WCPO tuna assessments (Yukio Takeuchi et al. 2017).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 13 April 2015

A number of research recommendations were presented in the 2017 stock assessment. These included enhancement of sex-separated data collection, investigations into potential stock structure, further analysis of the size data available, and consideration of additional data required to enhance CPUE standardisation given the decline in fishing by key long-term fleets within the SWP (Yukio Takeuchi et al. 2017).

Reference Points

Last updated on 13 Apr 2015

ParameterValue
  
SBlatest/SBMSY1.61 (0.85-4.06)
SBrecent/BMSY1.18 (0.91-1..55)
  
Frecent/FMSY0.86 (0.42-1.46)

(Yukio Takeuchi et al. 2017)

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 13 April 2015

"Preliminary total south Pacific swordfish tuna catch by longliners in the WCPFC area south of the equator in 2016 (6,300 t) was a 20% decrease over 2015 and a 25% decrease over 2011-15. 32% probability that recent fishing mortality was above Fmsy. Evidence for an increase in recent recruitment not found in either the CPUE time series or recruitment estimates. The longline only nature of the fishery catching mainly larger, older swordfish, is not strongly informative with regards to recruitment dynamics. 0% chance stock is overfished, 32% chance it's experiencing overfishing. SC13 recommends the Commission develop  management measures equator to 20°S region (which is not covered by CMM 2009-03) as recent catches represent the largest component of the catch in Region 2 (equator to 50°S, 165°E to 130°W) and represent half the total catches from the stock, and contribute substantially to fishing mortality and spawning biomass depletion levels in eastern Region 2 that are substantially higher than in the western region. Further, SC13 recommends that current restrictions on catches south of 20°S also be maintained" (Yukio Takeuchi et al. 2017).

Trends

Last updated on 13 Apr 2015

There has been a large decrease in both the total and spawning biomass of swordfish since the later 1990’s. This coincides with periods of high catch levels.  Fishing mortality rates for both adult and juvenile swordfish have increased greatly since the mid 1990’s (Yukio Takeuchi et al. 2017).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 13 April 2015

There are few management measures in place for swordfish in the southwest Pacific. The most recent management measures were adopted in 2009 and call for limiting the number of fishing vessels and the amount of swordfish caught to levels from 2000-2005/6 respectively {WCPFC 2009}.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 13 Apr 2015

There is no recovery plan in place for swordfish in the southwest Pacific.

Viet Nam
Longlines

Last updated on 1 November 2012

There is an appropriate management hierarchy in place with DARD (Provincial) responsible for administration and enforcement out to 24 nautical miles, and MARD beyond 24 n.m. Management measures include zone demarcations, and licensing in the industrial sector.

Since 2010, a limited logbook scheme, port sampling and observer program have been conducted for the tuna longline fleet operating from Viet Nam through the West Pacific East Asia Oceanic Fisheries Management (WPEA OFM) project (WCPFC 2011; WCPFC 2012b).

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 01 Nov 2012

There are no rebuilding strategies in place in this fishery within Vietnam’s EEZ waters.

Australia
Longlines

Last updated on 10 October 2012

Australian Management Decisions
AFMA has adequate regulatory and policy provisions for sustainable management of tuna and billfish stocks in the ETBF jurisdictions.

Some of the management regulations in the ETBF include:
A) Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management Plan 2010;
B) Fisheries Management (Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery) Regulations 2009;
C) Conditions on Boat Statutory Fishing Right (SFR) certificates and Extracts of Register.

Each of the large pelagics caught in this fishery have an annual Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limit for all the SFR license holders in this fishery. For the 2012 fishing year, the Swordfish TAC was 1396 tons in this fishery (AFMA 2012a).

ETBF vessel requirements include (AFMA 2012a): 1) Catch Disposal Record 2) Logbook 3) Commonwealth Managed Fishery Transit Form (CTF) 4) Vessel Monitoring System 5) participation in observer program (ETBF has around 8.5% observer coverage).

Input Output controls for tuna fisheries in the ETBF include Total allowable catch limits; Fishers have been allocated individual transferable quotas through SFRs (a portion of overall TAC for each quotas species); vessel permits ; Coral Sea zone fishing permits (Woodhams et al., 2011).

In 2010, 3.6 % of the total number of hooks deployed in the ETBF fisheries were monitored through observer program for interactions with non-target and PET species. Detailed statistics on retained and discarded non-target and dependent species are available for the ETBF longline fisheries in the WCPFC convention area (WCPFC 2011).

Under new regulations in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF) management plan Total Allowable Commercial Catch limits have been introduced for Swordfish in Australian waters. In the ETBF, swordfish catches were 1315 tons, 1176 tons and 1079 tons during 2009, 2010 and 2011 years respectively; the TACs for swordfish were 1400 tons (2008-2009) and 1550 tons for the 2011 fishing year. Catches for the same period were 1079 tons so compliance with catch limits was high in this fishery within Australian waters (Woodhams et al., 2011, 2012; AFMA 2012b).

WCPFC
Swordfish fisheries in the Central and Western Pacific are managed through the recently established Western and Central Fisheries Commission which is headquartered in Micronesia. The members of the Commission have agreed that only vessels flying the flag of the members of the Commission may be authorized to fish in the Western and Central Pacific. The Commission is tasked with managing the largest industrial tuna fishery in the world. This includes a multi-national fleet of 4,000-5,000 longline vessels fishing throughout (but not evenly distributed in) the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

WCPFC most recently updated Conservation and Management Measures for swordfish in 2009 (WCPFC, 2009a). CCMs (Commission Members, Cooperating non-Members and participating Territories) were to limit the number of vessels fishing swordfish south of 20ºS to 2000-2005 levels and the amount caught to 2000-2006 levels.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 10 Oct 2012

None are reported in the management plan.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 13 April 2015

There is no TAC in place, although catch and effort is to be limited to levels from 2000-2006/5 {WCPFC 2009}. Indonesia has been highlighted as not being completely compliant with these measures. Data reporting compliance issues have also been reported for Belize, China, EU, French Polynesia and Indonesia {WCPFC 2014}.

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Viet Nam
Longlines

Last updated on 1 November 2012

There are no compliance controls applied in this fishery.

Australia
Longlines

Last updated on 10 October 2012

The ETBF fishery is well monitored and enforced in Australian waters and no problems are reported with this fishery in Australian waters. Detailed data on bycatch and discards are also quantified each year (Woodhams et al., 2011). Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits are applied to vessels operating in the ETBF in Australian waters, but no TAC is set for swordfish in the regional fishery management area of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

Enforcement of billfish catch regulations presents a major challenge due to the large maritime area that WCPFC covers (World Fishing 2009). A dramatic increase in the number of sightings of unauthorized fishing vessels in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean is alarming fisheries officials in the Pacific Islands region. The Executive Director of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission had advised that there was strong evidence of a significant increase in illegal fishing ranging throughout the central Pacific through French Polynesia, Cook Islands and Kiribati. The majority of reports received so far concern large purse seiners flagged to Latin American countries.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 13 April 2015

Bycatch of seabirds, sea turtles, marine mammals and sharks in pelagic longline tuna fisheries threatens some populations with extinction.

A review by Birdlife International in 2007 found that 16 species of albatross and 60 species of petrel potentially overlapped WCPFC longline fisheries. This included species with IUCN classification of Critically Endangered (6), Endangered (7), Vulnerable (26) and Near Threatened (7) for both albatrosses and petrels. The remainder were classified by the IUCN as Least Concern. (Waugh 2006 in Black 2008). Analysis of albatross distribution within WCPFC waters and their overlap with longline fisheries (BirdLife International 2007, ACAP 2008) identifies that highest overlap with albatross distribution occurs in waters South of 30°S and North of around 20°N.

Sea turtle interactions with longline occur, particularly when they actively take bait, or become entangled in the fishing gear. In the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) five species are generally encountered in longline fisheries, namely: green (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) turtles. These species are generally long lived and reach sexual maturity at between 6-30 years old (SPC 2001 in Brouwer 2009). Large turtles have few natural predators and longline bycatch can result in high levels of fishing mortality on the large sub-adults and adults.

Kaplan (2005) in Brouwer (2009) calculated point estimates of longline bycatch based on turtle catch rates from the US Hawaii-based fleet and used effort data for the international Pacific longline fleet. His estimates suggest that in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, coastal sources lead to a 13% annual mortality rate, compared with a point estimate of 12% from longlining. In the eastern Pacific Ocean, coastal sources account for a 28% annual mortality rate, compared with a point estimate of only 5% from longlining. Others have estimated longline associated mortality to be between 17 and 27% (Aguilar et al. 1995; McCracker 2000 in Brouwer 2009).

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)has adopted several management measures to protect vulnerable bycatch species.For example, WCPFCmembers are asked to implement the International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catches of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries.Vessels fishing north of 23N in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) are required to use at least two mitigation measures including at least one of the following: side setting, night setting, tori line or weighted branch line.Members must submit annual reports detailing the mitigation measures used and are encouraged to undertake additional mitigation research {WCPFC 2012a}.Members of the WCPFC are also to implement the FAO Guidelines to Reduce Sea Turtle Mortality in Fishing Operations. Proper handling and release guidelines should be used when hard-shell turtles are incidentally captured and longline vessels must carry line cutters and de-hookers to allow for the safe handling and release of turtles.Longline fisheries are also urged to research mitigation techniques such as the use of circle hooks {WCPFC 2008}.In addition, fisheries observers (5% required level) record and report interactions with seabirds and turtles {WCPFC 2012b}{WCPFC 2008}.

Viet Nam
Longlines

Last updated on 1 November 2012

There is no information on interactions with PET species in this fishery.

Australia
Longlines

Last updated on 3 August 2013

Australian Waters and the High Seas
In Australian waters as part of the requirement for participation in this fishery ETBF vessels are required to record interactions with protected, threatened and endangered species and collect data on fate of by-catch and other non-target species (Turtles and Seabirds) caught in this fishery. If requested they must carry an onboard observer to monitor catch composition and report back on the mitigation measures under the Threat Abatement Plan (TAP)(AFMA, 2012a). Observer coverage has been considered to be too low and electronic monitoring systems are being implemented, covering the entire fishery (AFMA, 2011) but sampled to determine bycatch rates.

Interactions reported in the ETBF include sharks (great white, grey nurse), seabirds, marine mammals (whales) and turtles. Longliners must use seabird bycatch mitigation measures including the use of tori lines if fishing south of 25ºS (AFMA, 2011). All ETBF vessels are required to carry line cutters and de-hookers to remove turtles or other PET species entangled with the fishing gear. A turtle interaction rate exceeding set limits triggers additional measures (AFMA, 2012c). Shark finning is banned in Australian waters (Patterson & Tudman, 2009) and the use of wire trace is banned to facilitate shark escapement (AFMA, 2011).

Interactions with PET species are managed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which protects all seabirds, turtles and cetaceans among others (EPBC Act). A 2012 Ecological Risk Assessment Framework identified nine priority species identified as at high risk due to effects of the fishery: four sharks (longfin mako, crocodile shark, pelagic thresher and dusky shark), two ocean sunfish, two marine mammals (short-finned pilot whale and false killer whale) and leatherback turtle. No seabirds are listed as high risk but measures are in place to minimize impacts on all protected species under plans such as the TAP. Sunfish are listed as precautionary high risk due to the lack of knowledge about their life cycle (AFMA, 2012c). Three mackerel sharks were listed under the EPBC Act in 2010 and only dead sharks are permitted to be retained (AFMA, 2012c).

Among high-risk species, the 2011 fishery reported catch of 3 longfin mako shark, two short-finned pilot whales and an unidentified turtle. The whales and turtles were released alive (Woodhams et al., 2012), and this is reported to be the general scenario for these species (AFMA, 2011).

WCPFC
WCPFC Seabird Conservation and Management Measures (CMM – binding decisions)
From 2012, WCPFC requires longline vessels operating in areas south of 30ºS to employ two of three seabird avoidance methods: weighted branch lines, night setting and tori lines; and north of 23ºN to employ two methods selected from a list of eight alternatives. Exempts vessels < 24 m in areas north of 23ºN. Reporting of seabird interactions is also required (WCPFC, 2012).

WCPFC Sea Turtle CMM
A 2008 measure requires shallow-setting, swordfish-targeting longline vessels to employ one or more of the following: (i) use only large circle hooks, defined as, “…generally circular or oval in shape and originally designed and manufactured so that the point is turned perpendicularly back to the shank”, that have an offset < 10 degrees; (ii) use only whole finfish for bait; and (iii) use any other measure approved by the Commission to be capable of reducing turtle interaction rates. Members are to establish their own definitions of what constitutes a ‘large’ hook, and what constitutes a ‘shallow-set, swordfish targeting’ fishery. Swordfish fisheries determined by the Scientific Committee to have minimal observed turtle interaction rates over a three-year period, and > 10% observer coverage during the three-year period, are exempt from the measure, where ‘minimal’ rates are to be determined by the Scientific Committee. All longline vessels are required to carry specified turtle handling and release equipment (WCPFC, 2008).

WCPFC Shark CMM
The current 2010 measure requires members to either: (i) have onboard fins totaling no more than 5% of the weight of sharks; (ii) land sharks with fins attached to the carcass; or (iii) land fins with the corresponding carcass. The measure requires the reporting of annual shark catches at the species-level for identified species of concern (WCPFC, 2010).

Other Species

Last updated on 13 April 2015

The western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) longlines fisheries that catch a number of of species including billfish, tuna and other fish species, and sharks (Molony 2005). The status of these species and the impact of this fishery on them varies greatly and is often times unknown.Examples of commonly captured species include blue, black and striped marlin, swordfish, dolphinfish, opah, and oceanic, silky, blue and shortfin mako sharks {OFP 2012}{{Molony 2007}.

Smaller swordfish are often discarded in pelagic longline tuna fisheries due to minimum size requirements or low market value (Cramer, 2003, Ward et al. 2008).

Members of the WCPFC are prohibited from retaining, transshipping, storing or landing oceanic whitetip sharks and any incidentally caught sharks should be released, the incident recorded and reported {WCPFC 2012e}. Members are also to implement the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks and National Plans of Action should have policies in place to reduce waste and discarding of sharks.Information on catch and effort for key species is to be reported and shark finning is banned (5% ratio) {WCPFC 2010b}.

Viet Nam
Longlines

Last updated on 1 November 2012

There is insufficient information available to allow for an assessment of impacts on non-target species and PET species in this fishery.

In 2011, under funding from NOAA, DECAFIREP in collaboration with WWFconducted a limited observer program for the tuna longline fleet, to collect data on interactions with sea turtles and other by-catch species (WCPFC 2012a). A total of 7 observer trips were conducted between Nov, 2010 to May 2011 (WCPFC 2012a), but data on estimates of by-catch collected through this fishery are not available fro further analysis.

Australia
Longlines

Last updated on 3 August 2013

A Bycatch and Discarding Workplan aims to minimize bycatch and discarding of high risk species. In addition, an Industry Code of Practice for Responsible Fishing specifies voluntary bycatch mitigation measures and handling and release guidelines (AFMA, 2011).

The ETBF targets five quota-limited species: Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares), bigeye tuna (T. obesus), Albacore Tuna (T. alalunga), Striped Marlin (Tetrapturus audax) and Broadbill Swordfish (Xiphias gladius). Of these, bigeye is determined to be subject to overfishing and striped marlin’s status is still uncertain.

Longtail tuna (Thunnus tonggol) is limited by fleet and Southern Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) may only be taken by quota-holders for the species. Northern Pacific Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) are under special regulations as they are apt to be confused with southern bluefin.

Skipjack Tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) catches are unlimited, as are those for several other finfish. Sharks not under particular limits are limited to 20 per trip. Sharks not allowed to be taken include 17 deepwater species, great white, grey nurse, school and gummy sharks and sawsharks (AFMA, 2012a), and shortfin mako, longfin mako and porbeagle sharks may not be retained if taken live (AFMA, 2012c). An extensive list of other finfish cannot be taken in the fishery, including orange roughy, hoki, jackass morwong and silver trevally.

There are also bycatch limits or restrictions for several finfish species while fishing off Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, and New South Wales (AFMA, 2012a).

HABITAT

Last updated on 21 July 2011

Pelagic longlines typically fish on or near the ocean surface and therefore are not likely to contact bottom habitats. However, contact with the seabed can occur in shallow-set fisheries, such as the Hawaiian shallow-set fishery (Passfield and Gilman 2010) (Gilman et al. 2012). These effects are still considered to be a low risk to bottom habitats.
Marine Reserves

Last updated on 21 Jul 2011

There are no marine reserves for the swordfish longline fishery in the southwest Pacific Ocean.

Viet Nam
Longlines

Last updated on 31 October 2012

Primary gear used to catch Swordfish, including purse seine gear, do not come in direct contact with the sea floor. Lost and discarded gear can damage coastal habitats.

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 31 Oct 2012

In Viet Nam’s EEZ, there are some management measures in place such as MPAs and restricted no take areas. It is not known whether these are sufficiently effective. The concern is that rules are not well enforced inside and outside the MPAs.

Australia
Longlines

Last updated on 3 August 2013

The ETBF Ecological Risk Assessment found that the gears used by the fishery had minimal impacts on the sea bed (AFMA, 2012c).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 03 Aug 2013

Several restrictions apply to ETBF vessels operating in Commonwealth areas:
1. Restrictions on fishing in the Coral Sea zone off the Queensland coast between Shelburne Bay and Proserpine to protect juvenile marlins and their spawning grounds. Longlining is not allowed in this area unless the vessels have a Coral Sea Boat SFR. A 500 hook limit also applies for vessels allowed to fish in this area.
2. Fishing is not allowed within 12nm of Lord Howe Island.
3. SFR license holders are not allowed to fish within Norfolk Island Box “Beginning at the point of latitude 28º 35’ S, longitude 167º 25’ East, and running: A) east along that parallel to its intersection with the meridian of longitude 168º 25’ East; and B) south along that meridian to its intersection with the parallel of latitude 29º 50’ South;
and C) west along that parallel to its intersection with the meridian of longitude 167º 25’ East; and D) north along that meridian to the point where the line began” (AFMA 2012a).

Some gear limitations may be in place within other MPAs (AFMA, 2012a) and plans have been reported to create 10 nm exclusion zones around turtle rookeries (AFMA, 2010).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 2 January 2018

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There are no harvest control rules or target/limit reference points in place.

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Managers have limited fishing effort for swordfish in the south Pacific region.

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

The stock is NOT managed through quotas or TACs.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is 10.0.

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

The Ratio SSB/SSBmsy is 1.61 . The SSB=SSBmsy is 1.00 .

The underlying Ratio SSB/SSBmsy/SSB=SSBmsy for this index is 161%.

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Fishing mortality estimates ranged from 0.40-0.70 for the Hawaiian schedule and from 1.06 to 1.77 for the Australian schedule.

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) catches were taken from WCPFC 2014 catch estimates (http://www.wcpfc.int/system/files/SC10-ST_IP-01%20%5BAnnual%20Catch%20Estimates%5D%20%28Final%20%20—%20rev.%201%29.pdf) *2) biomass and fishing mortality estimates are from the 2013 stock assessment reference base model. *3) No TAC is in place so quantitative scores could not be calculated for #1-3.

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

Walker Seafood Australia Albacore and Yellowfin tuna, swordfish and mahi mahi longline

STATUS

MSC Certified on 27 August 2015

SCORES

This fishery was certified by the Marine Stewardship Council in August of 2016.

Principle Level Scores:

Principle Score
Principle 1 – Target Species – Albacore 81.9
Principle 1 – Target Species –  Yellowfin tuna 85.0
Principle 1 – Target Species – Swordfish 80.6
Principle 2 - Ecosystem 87.3
Principle 3 – Management System 86.8

Certification Type: Silver

Sources

Credits

Alvarado Bremer, J. R., M. G. Hinton, and T. W. Greig. 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.

Campbell, R. 2008. Data pertaining to the catch of swordfish by longline fleets operating in the Southern WCPO, Scientific Committee Fourth Regular Session, 11-22 August 2008, WCPFC-SC4-2008/SA-IP-3, July 2008, 35 pages.

Campbell, R. 2005. Annual indices of swordfish availability in the south-west Pacific, 1st Meeting of the Scientific Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, WCPFC–SC1 Noumea, New Caledonia 8–19 August 2005, 29 pages.

Davies, N., R.Campbell, and D.Kolody. 2006. CASAL Stock Assessment for South-West Pacific Broadbill Swordfish 1952-2004. Methods Specialist Working Group paper WCPFC-SC2 ME-WP-4 presented at the 2nd meeting of the Scientific Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, held 7-16 August, Manila, Philippines.

Davies, N., Pilling, G., Harley, S. and Hampton, J. 2013. Stock assessment of swordfish (Xiphias gladius) in the southwest Pacific Ocean. WCPFC-SC9-2013/SA-WP-05.http://www.wcpfc.int/system/files/SA-WP-05-SWO-Assessment.pdf

Far Seas Fisheries. 1985. Average distribution of larvae of oceanic species of Scombrid fishes, 1956-1981. Far Seas Fisheries Research Laboratory, S Series 12. (Printed in Japanese with English titles and figure captions).

Hinton, M. G., and Alvarado Bremer, 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.

Kolody, D. 2006. Overview of Current Approaches for South West Pacific Swordfish Assessment: Are the Methods Applicable for the Indian Ocean?, IOTC Working Party on Billfish, March 2006, IOTC-2006-WPB-08, 18 pages.

Kolody, D., Campbell, R., Davies, N. 2008a. South-West Pacific Swordfish Stock Assessment Work Plan Proposal for 2008, Scientific Committee Third Regular Session, 13-24 August 2007,WCPFC-SC3-SA SWG/IP-2, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, 9 pages.

Kolody, D., Campbell, R., Davies, N. 2008b. A MULTIFAN-CL Stock Assessment of South-West Pacific Swordfish 1952-2007, Scientific Committee Fourth Regular Session, 11-22 August 2008, Papua New Guinea, 90 pages.

Kolody, D. Davies, N., Campbell, R. 2006. South-West Pacific Swordfish stock status summary from Multiple Approaches, Scientific Committee Second Regular Session, 7-18 August 2006, 22 pages.

Reeb, C.A., L. Arcangeli, and B.A. Block. 2000. Structure and migration corridors in Pacific populations of the swordfish Xiphius gladius, as inferred through analyses of mitochondrial DNA. Marine Biology 136: 1123-1131.

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.

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). 2008. Conservation and management of sea turtles. Conservation and Management Measure 2008-03. Fifth Regular Session, 8-12 December 2008, Busan, Korea. WCPFC-CMM-2008-03.pdf

WCPFC. 2009. Conservation and management for swordfish. Conservation and Management Measure 2009-03.

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). 2010. Conservation and management measure for North Pacific striped marlin. Seventh Regular Session, Honolulu, HI, 6-10 December 2010. http://www.wcpfc.int/system/files/CMM%202010-01%20%5BNorth%20Pacific%20Striped%20Marlin%5D.pdf

WCPFC. 2013. Scientific Committee Ninth Regular Session Summary report. Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. http://www.wcpfc.int/system/files/0_SC9%20Summary%20Report%20-%20edited%20final%20%2824Nov2013%29.pdf

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). 2010b. Conservation and management measure for sharks. Conservation and Management Measure 2010-07. Seventh Regular Session, Honolulu, HI, 6-12 December 2010.

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). 2012a. Conservation and management measure to mitigate the impact of fishing for highly migratory fish stocks on seabirds. Conservation and Management Measure 2012-07. Commission Ninth Regular Session, Manila, Philippines, 2-6 December 2012. WCPFC-CMM-2012-07.pdf

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). 2012e. Conservation and management measure for oceanic whitetip shark. Conservation and Management Measure 2011-04. Eighth Regular Session, Tumon, Guam, 26-30 March 2011.

WCPFC. 2014. Eleventh Regular Session summary report. Apia, Samoa, December 2014. http://www.wcpfc.int/system/files/WCPFC11%20summary%20report%20_FINAL_1.pdf

Woodhams, J., Stobutzki, I., Vieira, S., Curtotti, R., Begg, G.A (eds). 2011. Fishery status reports 2010: status of
fish stocks and fisheries managed by the Australian Government, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and
Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.

References

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