Last updated on 27 March 2018

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Auxis thazard

SPECIES NAME(s)

Frigate tuna

The stock structure of frigate tuna in Eastern Pacific is not known, but management in Ecuadorian waters is conducted by the Subsecretary of Fishery Resources (Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries).


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Catches have been increasing in recent years.
  • Fishing of small pelagic fishes is banned two months per year to allow the recovery of the species.
  • The first mile from coast is closed to fishing to protect the reproduction of aquatic species.
  • Marine habitats and bottom types have been identified an mapped.
  • There is a national plan for the conservation of sea turtles and a national plan for the conservation of sharks. 
Weaknesses
  • There is no information on stock structure of Auxis thazard in the Eastern Pacific Ocean so there is no evidence of the existence of a stock off Ecuador.
  • There is no formal link between scientific advise and management.
  • Specific technical measures such as a minimum landing size have not been established in spite of being repeatedly advised by the National Institute of Fisheries of Ecuador. 
  • Frigate tuna are not managed by any Regional Fishery Management Organization in the region.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

DATA DEFICIENT

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

DATA DEFICIENT

Future Health:

DATA DEFICIENT


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

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

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 27 March 2018

Strengths
  • Catches have been increasing in recent years.
  • Fishing of small pelagic fishes is banned two months per year to allow the recovery of the species.
  • The first mile from coast is closed to fishing to protect the reproduction of aquatic species.
  • Marine habitats and bottom types have been identified an mapped.
  • There is a national plan for the conservation of sea turtles and a national plan for the conservation of sharks. 
Weaknesses
  • There is no information on stock structure of Auxis thazard in the Eastern Pacific Ocean so there is no evidence of the existence of a stock off Ecuador.
  • There is no formal link between scientific advise and management.
  • Specific technical measures such as a minimum landing size have not been established in spite of being repeatedly advised by the National Institute of Fisheries of Ecuador. 
  • Frigate tuna are not managed by any Regional Fishery Management Organization in the region.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 27 March 2018

No stock assessment of Auxis thazard off Ecuador has been conducted and there is currently no information on the stock status. 

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 27 March 2018

The monitoring and analysis of fisheries and landings involving the harvesting of small pelagic fishes conducted by the purse seine fleet of Ecuador was started in 1981 by the National Institute of Fisheries of Ecuador (INP) through the Small Pelagic Fishes Program. The limited resources of this Institution, however, has prevented conducting regular scientific surveys, and advice is therefore provided based on sampling at fish markets and estimation of effort based on the information provided by the vessels and harbor records. Advice is provided in the Annual Reports of the Fishery for Small Pelagics produced by INP. These Reports include a summary of the catches (not only biomass but also size structure or sex ratio for some species) but are not considered stock assessments. The most recent advice  (González et al. 2008)(Prado España 2009)  included technical measures such as the establishment of minimum landing sizes for small pelagic fishes in Ecuador (it was reported that for some species most of the individuals captured are below the size at 50% maturity); mesh size regulation (although no specific advice was provided for frigate tuna); the establishment of temporal closures in the spawning season (for all small pelagic fish); and the regulation or ban of the use of lights for fishing which attract undersized individuals and non-target species. 

Reference Points

Last updated on 27 Mar 2018

There are no reference points in place for frigate tuna in Ecuador. 

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 27 March 2018

The status of frigate tuna in Ecuador is unknown and the only available information is landings data provided by the vessels. The last data on frigate tuna landings is 64,532.8 tons caught in 2015 (FAO 2018). Frigate tuna are the second most important species in terms of biomass in the Ecuadorian Fishery for Small Pelagic Fishes. 

Trends

Last updated on 27 Mar 2018

There are no historical data on frigate tuna status off Ecuador. The only information available is landing data from the period 1998-2015 (FAO 2018). During 1998-2005, there was great interannual variability in the landings with low values <10,000 tons followed by high values (e.g. 1999 and 2003) with landings >35,000 tons. During the period 2006-2015, landings were characterized by a steady increase from ~13,000 tons in 2006 to 64,532 tons in 2015, the highest value in the series (http://www.institutopesca.gob.ec/estadisticas-pesqueras/).

In the past some authors have raised concern about the possibility that the monitoring of Ecuadorian fisheries has not been comprehensive and that the statistics are questionable and under-reported (Patterson et al. 1993) (Alava et al. 2005) although there is no information to conclude if this issue may still persist at present. 

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 27 March 2018

The Law of Fisheries and Fisheries Development (Gobierno de Ecuador 1974) is the Law that regulates fishing activities in Ecuador. Management of the Fishery for Small Pelagics  (including frigate tuna) occurring in Ecuadorian national waters is conducted by the Subsecretary of Fishery Resources (Subsecretaria de Recursos Pesqueros) which belongs to the Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries (MAP). A new Law of Fisheries and Aquaculture is in draft stage (August 2017). When this Law is approved, the Fishing Authority will be the entity responsible for management of Ecuadorian fisheries and aquaculture activities.

Frigate tuna in Ecuador is not managed through TACs or catch quotas. Management has adopted some, but not all, of the technical measures proposed by the INP in the last years. Minimum landing sizes have not been established in spite of the INP repeatedly reporting high percentage of catches of several small pelagic species being smaller than the size at 50% maturity (González et al. 2008). Management of frigate tuna in Ecuador consist of temporal closures ( historically in March and September each year; (MAGAP 2010) but recently adjusted to March and 24 October – 23 November 2018 (MAP 2018)), spatial closures (fishing is not allowed within the first mile from the shoreline; (MAP 2003) and (MAP 2007); first eight miles from coast are reserved for artisanal fisheries; (MAP 1990)) and a minimum mesh size of 1,5 inches for purse seiners targeting frigate tuna and other small pelagic species in Ecuador (MAP 2010). Bycatch by purse seiners targeting small pelagic species in Ecuador cannot exceed 20% (MAGAP 2011). In addition, the use of artificial lights ("pantallas") for fisheries purposes is banned (MAGAP 2011). A fisheries observer program is in place covering at least 30% of the fishing trips (MAGAP 2010).

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

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 27 Mar 2018

No recovery plans are in place for frigate tuna in Ecuador. 

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 27 March 2018

There are no TAC or quotas set for the frigate tuna fishery in Ecuador. Fishing activities in Ecuadorian national waters are regulated by the Law of Fisheries and Fisheries Development  (Gobierno de Ecuador 1974), which set the penalties for violations of the regulations and acts included in that Law and which includes economic fines, withdrawal of fishing permits or imprisonment. Compliance with regulations is enforced through inspections at harbors and directly on board of commercial vessels by fisheries observers. The new Law of Fisheries and Aquaculture which is in draft stage (August 2017) will set the new legal framework for compliance and enforcement in Ecuadorian fisheries, including a wide array of penalties such as withdrawal of fishing license, confiscation of fishing products, economic fines and immobilization of the vessel. This new Law also specifies that compliance will be enforced through VMS monitoring, on-board observers, inspection of landings, image recording systems among others. 

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 27 March 2018

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

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

Other Species

Last updated on 27 March 2018

The Fishery for Small Pelagics in Ecuador is a multispecific fishery. The list of main target species varies depending on the source but main species according to the National Institute of Fisheries of Ecuador are: Scomber japonicus (chub mackerel), Ophistonema spp. (thread herring), Cetengraulis mysticetus (Pacific Anchoveta), Sardinops sagax (South American pilchard) and Etrumeus sardina (red-eye round herring). Other small pelagic species like Decapterus macrosoma (shortfin scad), Selene oerstedii (Mexican moonfish), Chloroscombrus orqueta (Pacific bumper), Peprilus medius (Pacific harvestfish),  Engraulis ringens (Anchoveta), Auxis thazard (frigate tuna) and Trachurus murphy (Chilean jack mackerel) are considered bycatch.

In the last years, however, some of the small pelagic species considered as secondary or bycatch have shown a marked increase in catches. For instance, frigate tuna was the second most important species in terms of captured biomass in 2014 and 2015. Catch data statistics from 2014 and 2015 (MAGAP 2017) revealed that main target species represented 52.2% (2014) and 60.1% (2015) while secondary species accounted for the rest.

There are no reference points for any bycatch species of the Fishery for Small Pelagic Fishes of Ecuador. 

HABITAT

Last updated on 23 April 2018

Coastal marine habitats have been mapped by the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador (Terán et al. 2006). In addition, the Ministry of the Environment has develop an interactive map that provides detailed information on the location and extension of some priority marine habitats such as coral reefs and mangroves. Purse seiners make no contact with the seabed and are supossed to have little or no impact on vulnerable habitats although there are no specific studies on the impact of Ecuadorian purse seiners targeting small pelagic fish on bottom habitats. 

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 23 Apr 2018

The Fishery for Small Pelagic Fishes in Ecuador is subject to temporal and spatial closures. Fishing of small pelagic fishes is banned two months per year (March and September;(MAGAP 2010)). Besides, the first mile from coast is closed to fishing to protect the reproduction of aquatic species (MAP 2007), although some exceptions apply (e.g. recreational fishing is allowed). The first eight miles from coast are reserved for artisanal fishing and industrial activities are prohibited (MAP 1990). Besides there are a total of 21 marine and coastal areas with some degree of protection (from National Parks to Areas of Recreation), where fishing activities are regulated, restricted and/or banned (Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador 2017).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 30 July 2018

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is < 6.

There are no management objectives for the stock. Frigate tuna is not managed through TACs or fish quotas in Ecuador.

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Some but not all the management recommendations made by the National Institute of Fisheries of Ecuador (INP) have been adopted by the management entity. For instance, there is a regulation on mesh size and some spatial protection measures have been adopted to protect reproductive phases, as advised. Minimum landing sizes, however, have not been implemented in spite of being one of the recommendations of the INP.

As determined for 2016.

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

STOCK HEALTH:

As determined for 2016.

Landings of Auxis thazard have increased in the last years and they are the above average level in the time series but there is no information on current stock status because stock assessment has not been recently conducted.

As determined for 2016.

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

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE RISK

High Medium Low
No data available for biomass
No data available for biomass
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for stock status
No data available for stock status
DATA NOTES

Last updated on 23 April 2018

  • The only data available is landings data for the period 1998-2015, provided by the National Institute for Fisheries of Ecuador. Data for the year 2016 is available from the FAO website (FAO 2018).
  • Lack of quantitative information prevents calculation of quantitative scores, so qualitative scores are provided. Scores about fisheries compliance, current health and future health of the stock are data deficient (DD) for the reasons below.
    • Fisheries compliace: the magnitude of IUU fishing and compliance to current fishing regulations (such as seasonal and spatial closures) are currently unknown.
    • Current health: landings of Auxis thazard have increased in the last years and they are above average levels in the time series but there is no information on current stock status because stock assessment has not been recently conducted.
    • Future health: although harvest levels have not been recognized as unsustainable, a stock assessment of Auxis thazard in this region has never been conducted. It is not possible to know if current harvest levels are sustainable and what will be the stock health in the future. 

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

References

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