Last updated on 2 April 2018

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Sardinops sagax

SPECIES NAME(s)

South American pilchard

COMMON NAMES

Pacific sardine, sardina Monterrey

South American pilchard (Sardinops sagax ) or Pacific sardine is a neritic, coastalpelagic species caught down to depths of about 40 m, that forms large schools. Pacific sardine off the West Coast of North America is thought to consist of three subpopulations or stocks (Hill et al., 2011). A northern (“cold”) subpopulation (northern Baja California to Alaska), a southern subpopulation (outer coastal Baja California to southern California), and a Gulf of California subpopulation have been distinguished by population studies (Hill et al. 2015).


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Some stock assessments are publicly available reported to provide information on status of the Pacific sardine stock in Gulf of California.
  • Thre is long history of fishery independent and dependent data collected.
  • The stock is around the biomass target level, and fishing mortality have significantly decreased in the last years.
  • Several protected and refuge areas have been declared.
Weaknesses
  • A quota system is not in place yet in this fishery in Mexican waters.
  • IUU fishing activities exist in the artisanal sector, although by-catch is assumed to be low.
  • The absence of observer scheme had lead to shortage of data on by-catch, discards and interactions with PET species in this fishery.
  • Artisanal fishers also use gillnets and traps in the jurisdiction of this fishery and exact quantity of catches from these fleets needs improvement for future stock assessments.
  • Last stock assessment repor is not publicly available.
  • Fishing mortality estimates have been considered underestimated due to methodological errors.
Options
  • Improve enforcement and encourage the use of legal fishing gear to reduce bycatch and improve compliance.
  • Minimum legal size limits are difficult to enforce, unless purse seine gears regularly checked for mesh size compliance in both industrial purse seine and other artisanal gear sectors exploiting this stock in Gulf of California.
  • More complete and wider survey coverage is needed, data collection needs improvements, ageing methods need refining, knowledge of stock structure needs improvement.
  • fishing mortality estimation needs revision.
  • Make stock assessment reports publicly available in a timely manner.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

7.5

Future Health:

≥ 6


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1.Work actively to address and close out conditions placed upon the certification of the fishery in the agreed timeframe.
2.Report achievements publicly to share progress with buyers.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1.Monitor the progress in closing out conditions placed upon the certification of the fishery and if agreed timelines are met.
2.If timelines are not being met, contact the MSC client fishery (details are available on the MSC website) and request timely implementation of improvement action to address conditions.
3.Express your support to help meet conditions that may be at a government/regulatory level (where applicable). Please contact the relevant SFP Sector Group or Supplier Roundtable for more specific information.


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

  • Small Pelagics Fishery in Sonora, Gulf of California:

    MSC Recertified

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
Gulf of California Gulf of California Mexico Seine nets

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 2 April 2018

Strengths
  • Some stock assessments are publicly available reported to provide information on status of the Pacific sardine stock in Gulf of California.
  • Thre is long history of fishery independent and dependent data collected.
  • The stock is around the biomass target level, and fishing mortality have significantly decreased in the last years.
  • Several protected and refuge areas have been declared.
Weaknesses
  • A quota system is not in place yet in this fishery in Mexican waters.
  • IUU fishing activities exist in the artisanal sector, although by-catch is assumed to be low.
  • The absence of observer scheme had lead to shortage of data on by-catch, discards and interactions with PET species in this fishery.
  • Artisanal fishers also use gillnets and traps in the jurisdiction of this fishery and exact quantity of catches from these fleets needs improvement for future stock assessments.
  • Last stock assessment repor is not publicly available.
  • Fishing mortality estimates have been considered underestimated due to methodological errors.
Options
  • Improve enforcement and encourage the use of legal fishing gear to reduce bycatch and improve compliance.
  • Minimum legal size limits are difficult to enforce, unless purse seine gears regularly checked for mesh size compliance in both industrial purse seine and other artisanal gear sectors exploiting this stock in Gulf of California.
  • More complete and wider survey coverage is needed, data collection needs improvements, ageing methods need refining, knowledge of stock structure needs improvement.
  • fishing mortality estimation needs revision.
  • Make stock assessment reports publicly available in a timely manner.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 15 November 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1.Work actively to address and close out conditions placed upon the certification of the fishery in the agreed timeframe.
2.Report achievements publicly to share progress with buyers.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1.Monitor the progress in closing out conditions placed upon the certification of the fishery and if agreed timelines are met.
2.If timelines are not being met, contact the MSC client fishery (details are available on the MSC website) and request timely implementation of improvement action to address conditions.
3.Express your support to help meet conditions that may be at a government/regulatory level (where applicable). Please contact the relevant SFP Sector Group or Supplier Roundtable for more specific information.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 2 April 2018

Since 2000, catches caught in this fishery have been documented through landing slips and catch records for each jurisdiction to conduct stock assessments “using a stochastic age-structured model with density dependent recruitment, catch and effort data, and estimating the number of individuals at age ussing Virtual Populations Analysis and a Shepherd’s stock-recruitment model” (Nevárez-Martínez et al. 1999; SCS 2011; Nevárez-Martínez 2009).

In 2015, a stock assessment was conducted using the Age Structured Assessment Program (ASAP) model. The analysis used catch and biological data from the fishery. Fishery independent data included the following indices of relative abundance: a) number of fish caught per squared km in tows, during prospective and acoustic surveys from 1990 to 2014; b) indices of biomass obtained by means of acoustic detection of fish from 2008 to 2014; c) abundance of eggs and larvae (number/10 m2 ) from 1971 to 1988; d) an environmentally based index specifying the spawning probability from 1979 to 1996; and d) an index based on the proportion of sardine in the diet of sea birds (Nevarez-Martinez et al. 2015).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 2 April 2018

No quotas are set in the Mexican fishery but NOM has set a minimum landing size and fleet capacity is controlled (DOF 2012). Recommendations on research have been reported in the management plan but does not seem to have been address until present (DOF 2012): i) improve knowledge of stock structure, ii) implement ecosystem models which take into account environmental variability on the small pelagic stocks.

A biological acceptable catch (BAC) is supposed to be estimated annually, using the exploitation rate of 0.25. CBA for 2014-2015 would be in the range of 128,367 and 147,702 tonnes (Nevarez-Martinez et al. 2015). However, as the stock is not managed through quotas, this BAC is only used for analysis purposes.

The MSC full assessment identified weaknesses in the estimation of fishing mortality, and recommended to review the stock assessment methodology for future assessments (SCS Global Services Report 2018).

Reference Points

Last updated on 02 Apr 2018

Optimum yield was estimated at 220,000 tonnes and F = 0.26 (INAPESCA 2014). More recently (Nevarez-Martinez et al. 2015) estimated Fmsy = 0.28. Management exploitation rate is defined at 0.25 (DOF 2012).

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 2 April 2018

Last stock assessment reports indicate that the stock has been stable in the last 3 years, spawning stock biomas (SSB) around the Bmsy (533,000 tonnes) (Nevarez-Martinez et al. 2015)(SCS Global Services Report 2018). Fishing mortality is considered to be very low, however peer review of the methodology detected methodological errors indicating that F values are underestimated (SCS Global Services Report 2018).

The total catch of small pelagics for the 2014/15 season was 244,465 tonnes, which is around 50% lower than the 2012/13 season. Pacific sardine represented only 2% of the catch (4,455 tonnes), second lowest catch of Pacific sardine in the history of the fishery, which declined more than 90% from the catch in the 2012/13 season (SCS Global Services Report 2018).

Trends

Last updated on 02 Apr 2018

The small pelagics fishery in the Gulf of California started in late 1960s, with catches increasing to a peak of 300,000 tonnes by 1988-89, after which the stock collapsed to less than 1/3 of its original stock size (Cisneros-Mata et al., 1996). This overfishing and the eventual collapse lead to major changes in this fishery such loss of several thousand jobs, closure of half of the fishing fleet and processing plants during this period (Lluch-Cota et al., 1999).

Total landings of small pelagics have been highly variable since then, showing however an increasing trend up to 500,000 tonnes until 2013 (Nevarez-Martinez et al. 2015), and have been half of this value in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 fishing seasons (SCS Global Services Report 2018). The total catch of smaller pelagics has fluctuated according to the abundance of Pacific sardine. Fluctuations are related to the El Niño and La Niña phenomena that affected the distribution and availability of this species.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 2 April 2018

This fishery is regulated under the Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM) 003-PESC-1993 and the management plan in place (DOF 2012).

1. Minimum size limit for Pacific sardine of 150 mm.
2. Area/Fishing closures during spawning periods (August-September).
3. Port sampling to collect age and size data.
4. Total catches for the fishery documented through landing slips / fishing vessel for each trip.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 02 Apr 2018

None are reported under the current management plan (DOF 2012).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 2 April 2018

Based on the General Law on Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture, CONAPESCA will be responsible for verifying and compliance with this Management Plan, as well as with the regulatory provisions of the Law, the official standards deriving from it, through duly authorized personnel, and with the participation of the Secretary of the Navy in the corresponding cases (DOF 2015). On the other hand, there is no public document specifying what are the sanctions in case of illegal fishing of south American pilchard and bycatch limits, the figure of this illegal activity is not quantified in any existing official and unofficial document for Mexico.

There is no TAC or quota limits for South American Pilchard fishery in Mexican waters. In the last years, landings are well below the biologically acceptable catches (Nevarez-Martinez et al. 2015). Minimum size limits are in place but their implementation remains doubtful especially in the artisanal sector within the jurisdiction of this fishery.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 2 April 2018

The Gulf of California is home for more than thirty species of marine mammals, at least five species of sea turtles and hundreds of seabirds species (WWF, 2011). Some of the PET species reported in the jurisdiction of this fishery include sea lions, sea turtles and seabirds.

An on-board observer program was carried out in fishing seasons 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 with a 10% observer coverage in Sonora, where most of the small pelagics landings are recorded. Species associated with the fishery which are in some category of risk or protection in the Mexican law (NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010 and NOM-029-PESC-2006) were 20 species;  six fishes (Hippocampus ingens, Pomacanthus zonipectus, Totoaba macdonaldi, Carcharodon carcharias, Mobula munkiana, Rhincodon typus), two reptiles (Lepidochelys olivácea and Chelonia mydas agassizii), four mammals (Delphinus capensis, Stenella attenuate, Tursiops truncates and Zalophus, californianus) and eigth birds (Puffinus creatopus, Puffinus ophistomelas, Larus heermanni, Larus livens, Thalasseus elegans, Synthliboramphus craveri, Puffinus auricularis, Sula nebouxii and Pelecanus occidentalis). 

Most interactions referred just to observations, due to the atraction of PET species by fish in nets, sea lions and seabierds were observed entering and leaving the purse seine, one sea lion mortality occurred and there were reports of 34 dolphin mortalities (Delphinus capensis and Tursiops truncates; both species Least Concern IUCN); six sea turtles from two species captured were released alive and presumed to survive. Four non-fatal interactions with whale sharks were also observed (García Alberto and Gastelum Nava 2015).

Critically endangered Vaquita (Totoaba macdonaldi) is also reported in the jurisdiction of this fishery, but it is more likely to be impacted by drift nets than purse seines in the Gulf of California.

Unfortunately, the on-board observer program was discontinued and did not operate during these last two fishing seasons (2014-15 and 2015-16) (SCS Global Services Report 2018).

Other Species

Last updated on 2 April 2018

The small pelagic fishery is multispecific, there are 8 species associated: thread herrin or crinuda (Opisthonema spp.), Pacific anchoveta or sardina bocona (Cetengraulis mysticetus), Pacific chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus), red-eye round herring or sardina japonesa (Etrumeus teres), leatherjacket or sardina piña (Oligoplites spp.) and northern anchovy or anchoveta norteña (Engraulis mordax), Pacific jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus) and Pacific sardine or sardina monterrey (Sardinops sagax). These are retained for domestic consumption or reduction industry (Martínez-Zavala et al. 2006, Nevárez-Martínez et al. 2010). Species composition varies significantly (García Alberto and Gastelum Nava 2015)(SCS Global Services Report 2018)

Some species reportedly discarded in this fishery include (<1%) leatherjacket (Oligoplites spp.) and rayadillo (Orthopristis spp.), Pacific sierra (Scomberomorus spp.), amberjacks (Seriola spp.), skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), jumbo fluing  squid (Dosidicus gigas) and finescale triggerfish or cochito (Balistes polylepis). The volume of all of these species accounts for <0.3% of the catch of the Sonora small pelagics fishery (SCS Global Services Report 2018).

This information was obtained from an on-board observer program operating in Sonora during 2013 and 2014, however this program was discontinued and did not operate during these last two fishing seasons (2014/15 and 2015/16) (SCS Global Services Report 2018).

HABITAT

Last updated on 2 April 2018

The Gulf of California sardine fishery operates in mid-water between 10-100 meter depths and generally avoids contact with benthic habitats (INAPESCA 2014)(García Alberto and Gastelum Nava 2015).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 02 Apr 2018

Two marine protected areas have been created in the Gulf of California with the main objective of protecting the endangered cetacean “Vaquita”: 1993, Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve; 2005, Vaquita Refuge Area (SEMARNAT, 2008).

There are also seven natural protected areas (ANP) areas where fishing activities with boats is not allowed, which are the San Lorenzo Archipelago National Park, Bahia de Loreto National Park, Espiritu Santo Archipelago National Park, Cabo Pulmo National Park and the San Pedro Martir Island Biosphere Reserve. In addition, these areas no take zones. The objective of these non-fishing areas is the preservation of ecosystems in the medium and long term (Íñiguez Dávalos et al. 2014).

Another tool that is used in Mexico are the refuge areas, which are delimited in the waters of federal jurisdiction, with the primary purpose of conserving and contributing, naturally or artificially, to the development of fishery resources due to their reproduction, growth or recruitment, as well as preserve and protect the environment that surrounds it (DOF 2014). In the Gulf of California three areas were declared with fishing refuges Corredor, Puerto Libertad and San Pedro Nolasco Island (DOF 2017)(DOF 2017). In these areas, no extractive activities can be carried out.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 4 April 2018

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There are management objectives set for this stock in the management plan for small pelagics (DOF, 2012), several management measures are description in the management plan (gear specifications, minimum landing sizes, prohibition for the capture spawning organisms and closed season and areas). There is a harvest control rule (DOF 2012) but is does not seem to be implemented a priori for reducing fishing effort.

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Some but not all of the key recommendations have been implemented.

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

The stock is not managed through quotas or TACs. Minimum size limits are in place but their implementation remains doubtful especially in the artisanal sector within the jurisdiction of this fishery.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is 7.5.

This measures the SSB as a percentage of the Bmsy.

The SSB is 467 ('000 t). The Bmsy is 533 ('000 t) .

The underlying SSB/Bmsy for this index is 87.6%.

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

The harvest levels are recognizably not unsustainable. Fishing pressure is not known, as last fishing mortality estimates are considered to be underestimated (SCS, 2018)

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. There is a harvest control rule in the management plan, however, F at low biomass is not defined (DOF 2012), thus Management Strategy score was qualitative assigned.
  2. The stock is not managed through quotas, therefore qualitative scores was assigned for Managers Compliance and Fishers Compliance scores.
  3. Fishing mortality estimates from last stock assessment (Nevarez-Martinez et al. 2015) were considered underestimated (SCS Global Services Report 2018), thus these were not used to calculate Future Health score, and a qualitative score was assigned. 

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

Small Pelagics Fishery in Sonora, Gulf of California

STATUS

MSC Recertified on 21 July 2011

SCORES

Principle Level Scores:

Principle Pacific sardines Thread herring
Principle 1 – Target Species 82.5 81.9
Principle 2 – Ecosystem 80.0
Principle 3 – Management System 85.3

Certification Type: Silver

Sources

Credits

SFP is grateful to Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C. for contributing to the development of this fishery profile.

  1. Hill, K.T., Crone, P.R., Lo, N.C.H., Macewicz, B.J., Dorval, E., McDaniel, J.D., Gu, Y. 2011. Assessment of the Pacific Sardine Resource in 2011 for U.S. Management in 2012, Pacific Fishery Management Council, SAFE Document June 2011, Appendix C: Pacific Sardine stock Assessment, 265 pages.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2011_CPS_SAFE_Sardine_assessment_Appendix_C.pdf

  2. Hill K.T., N.C.H. Lo, B.J. Macewicz, P.R. Crone., R. Felix-Uraga. 2010. Assessment of the Pacific Sardine Resource in 2009 for U.S. Management in 2010. Report to the Pacific Fishery Management Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Pl., Suite 101; Portland Or, 97220.http://swfsc.noaa.gov/uploadedFiles/Divisions/FRD/Small_Pelagics/Sardine/Document2.pdf

  3. Instituto Nacional de la Pesca, 2006. Sustentabilidad y Pesca Responsable en México. Evaluación y Manejo, SAGARPA, 544 p.http://www.inapesca.gob.mx/portal/documentos/publicaciones/pelagicos/libro_Rojo.pdf

  4. Lluch-Cota, S.E., D. Lluch-Cota, M.O. Nevárez-Martínez, D. Lluch-Belda, A. Parés-Sierra., S. Hernández-Vázquez. 1999. Variability of sardine catch as related to enrichment, concentration, and retention process in the central Gulf of California. CALCOFI Rep. 40: 184-190.http://calcofi.org/publications/calcofireports/v40/Vol_40_Lluch-Cota_etal.pdf

  5. Morgan, S. and Flores, C. A., 2013. Gulf of California Mexican Sardine. 2nd Year MSC Surveillance Audit Report. Scientific Certification Systems, August 2013. 44pphttp://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/gulf-of_california-mexico-sardine/assessment-downloads-1/20130813_SR_SAR52.pdf

  6. Morgan, S., Flores, C.A., 2014. Third Annual MSC Surveillance Audit Report. Gulf of California Mexican Sardine Fishery. SCS Global Services, September 2014. 81pphttp://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/gulf-of_california-mexico-sardine/assessment-downloads-1/20140923_SR_SAR52.pdf

  7. PFMC. 2010a. Status of the Pacific Coast coastal pelagic species fishery and recommended acceptable biological catches. Stock assessment and fishery evaluation- 2010, Pacific Fishery Management Council, 79 pages.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2010_CPS_SAFE_Text_Final.pdf

  8. PFMC. 2010b. Status of the Pacific Coast coastal pelagic species fishery and recommended acceptable biological catches. Stock assessment and fishery evaluation- 2010 (Tables - Appendix), Pacific Fishery Management Council, 60 pages.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2010_CPS_SAFE_Tables_Final.pdf

  9. Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), 2011. MSC Public Certification Report - Pacific Sardine Fishery, Gulf of California, Mexico, Version 5, July 2011, 176 pages. http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/gulf-of_california-mexico-sardine/assessment-downloads-1/SS-FISH_RPT_Sardine_PCR__REPORT_July_2011.pdf

  10. Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), 2012. Gulf of California Mexican Sardine, 1st Year MSC Surveillance Audit Report, 71 pages. http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/gulf-of_california-mexico-sardine/assessment-downloads-1/20120508_SR.pdf

  11. Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT). 2008. Action program for the conservation of the species: Vaquita (Phocaena sinus). Comprehensive Strategy for Sustainable Management of Marine and Coastal Resources in the Upper Gulf of California. United Mexican States Federal Government. 76 pp.http://www.iucn-csg.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/PACE-vaquita-english.pdf

  12. Sustainability and Responsable Fisheries in Mexico - assessment and management, SAGARPA, National Fisheries Institute of Mexico, 2006 http://www.inapesca.gob.mx/portal/documentos/publicaciones/pelagicos/libro_Rojo.pdf

  13. WWF, 2011. "Gulf of California Species". World Wildlife Foundation Website.http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/gulfofca/species.html

References

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