Profile updated on 28 June 2019

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Sardinella longiceps

SPECIES NAME(s)

Indian oil sardine

Indian oil sardine is distributed on the entire west coast of India from Gujarat to Kerala, and also on Tamil Nadu, Pondichery, Andhra Pradesh and Orisha in the Indian east coast, but the highest abundance is observed off Kerala and Karnataka coasts. The stock structure of the oil sardine in India has been the subject of different studies in the last years. Results varied depending on the method used (Sukumaran et al. 2016) (Mohandas 1997) (Venkita Krishnan 1993). Recent research suggests the presence of two stocks in India but the geographical limits of these stocks are not clear. In addition the possible presence of other distinct populations in some regions (especially in the southwestern coast) was evident in the analyses which needs to be confirmed further using more widespread sampling design and powerful markers (Sebastian et al. 2017).  In India, the State (Provincial) governments have jurisdiction over fisheries in the territorial waters and populations of oil sardine and normally assessed separately for each State. 

Due to the lack of certainty in the precise number and geographical limits of the biological stocks of oil sardine in India, one profile at the assessment unit level is defined for each of the six coastal states that account for major catches in India: Maharasthra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Rapid stock assessments are conducted frequently for all coastal states by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute of India (CMFRI). 
  • Information about the fishery in Maharashtra is considerably more complete than for other states in the CMFRI Annual Reports.
  • The monsoon fishing ban in territorial waters has been recently extended in duration (from 45 to 61 days) and includes all vessels except traditional non-motorized units.
  • Managements measures include prohibitions on certain fishing gear, regulations on mesh size, establishment of closed seasons and areas, demarcations of zones for no-trawling.
Weaknesses
  • Assessment is not conducted at the stock level since the number and geographical limits of oil sardine stocks in India is not clearly understood. 
  • The quality of the rapid stock assessments conducted by CMFRI cannot be evaluated based on the information provided by the CMFRI.
  • There is no up-to-date stock status information available (last assessment is from 2014).
  • Presently no clearly stated long-term objectives are established for this fishery. Oil sardine in India is not managed through quotas or total allowable catches. 
  • There are no formal or routine arrangements in place to create a link between scientific findings and the management regime for this fishery and reference points have not been set.
  • There is a high proportion of juveniles in catches (54.3% in 2017-2018) which may increase the risk for the populations especially in years of unfavorable environmental conditions for the reproduction of the species.
  • There are concerns in all the country that if the level of fishing effort remains unchecked, the fleet may grow to exceed sustainable levels.
  • There is very little information on the environmental impact of the oil sardine fishery in India in terms of bycatch and ecosystem effects.
  •  Although there is not recent information on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing related to the oil sardine fishery in India, IUU fishing was flagged as a major issue in the past including a range of illicit activities: fishing without permission or out of season; using outlawed types of fishing gear; non-reporting or underreporting of catch, etc.
  • A minimum landing size for oil sardine has not been set in spite of recent scientific recommendations suggesting that this would be advisable in all Indian maritime States.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

DATA DEFICIENT

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

DATA DEFICIENT

Future Health:

DATA DEFICIENT


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Support current improvement efforts and encourage the development of a formal, national, Indian oil sardine fishery improvement project (FIP) covering all stocks including the following activities.
    • Encourage regulators to commission research to better define the biological stock structure.
    • Ask regulators to conduct and fully publish standardized stock assessments at the appropriate spatial scale.
    • Ask managers to publish historic annual catch data, including percentages of juvenile catch, by gear type for each state.
    • Work with managers to develop and agree on long-term objectives for the fishery, and develop a management plan, including biological reference points, a harvest strategy, and a harvest control rule for each stock.
    • Push managers to prevent further growth in effort in these fisheries until adequate stock assessments are available and stock status relative to reference points is known.
    • Encourage managers to immediately implement management measures for each state to monitor and prevent or reduce the capture of juvenile fish, as advised by relevant scientific bodies, as done in Kerala.
    • Work with scientists to research the environmental impacts of the fishery, especially with regard to effective monitoring of the incidental capture of endangered, threatened, and protected species.
    • Support and encourage enhanced surveillance and enforcement to reduce illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

FIPS

  • Indian Oil Sardine:

    Stage 3, Progress Rating C

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
Maharashtra Maharashtra India Purse seines
Semipelagic trawls

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 28 June 2019

Strengths
  • Rapid stock assessments are conducted frequently for all coastal states by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute of India (CMFRI). 
  • Information about the fishery in Maharashtra is considerably more complete than for other states in the CMFRI Annual Reports.
  • The monsoon fishing ban in territorial waters has been recently extended in duration (from 45 to 61 days) and includes all vessels except traditional non-motorized units.
  • Managements measures include prohibitions on certain fishing gear, regulations on mesh size, establishment of closed seasons and areas, demarcations of zones for no-trawling.
Weaknesses
  • Assessment is not conducted at the stock level since the number and geographical limits of oil sardine stocks in India is not clearly understood. 
  • The quality of the rapid stock assessments conducted by CMFRI cannot be evaluated based on the information provided by the CMFRI.
  • There is no up-to-date stock status information available (last assessment is from 2014).
  • Presently no clearly stated long-term objectives are established for this fishery. Oil sardine in India is not managed through quotas or total allowable catches. 
  • There are no formal or routine arrangements in place to create a link between scientific findings and the management regime for this fishery and reference points have not been set.
  • There is a high proportion of juveniles in catches (54.3% in 2017-2018) which may increase the risk for the populations especially in years of unfavorable environmental conditions for the reproduction of the species.
  • There are concerns in all the country that if the level of fishing effort remains unchecked, the fleet may grow to exceed sustainable levels.
  • There is very little information on the environmental impact of the oil sardine fishery in India in terms of bycatch and ecosystem effects.
  •  Although there is not recent information on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing related to the oil sardine fishery in India, IUU fishing was flagged as a major issue in the past including a range of illicit activities: fishing without permission or out of season; using outlawed types of fishing gear; non-reporting or underreporting of catch, etc.
  • A minimum landing size for oil sardine has not been set in spite of recent scientific recommendations suggesting that this would be advisable in all Indian maritime States.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 8 August 2019

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Support current improvement efforts and encourage the development of a formal, national, Indian oil sardine fishery improvement project (FIP) covering all stocks including the following activities.
    • Encourage regulators to commission research to better define the biological stock structure.
    • Ask regulators to conduct and fully publish standardized stock assessments at the appropriate spatial scale.
    • Ask managers to publish historic annual catch data, including percentages of juvenile catch, by gear type for each state.
    • Work with managers to develop and agree on long-term objectives for the fishery, and develop a management plan, including biological reference points, a harvest strategy, and a harvest control rule for each stock.
    • Push managers to prevent further growth in effort in these fisheries until adequate stock assessments are available and stock status relative to reference points is known.
    • Encourage managers to immediately implement management measures for each state to monitor and prevent or reduce the capture of juvenile fish, as advised by relevant scientific bodies, as done in Kerala.
    • Work with scientists to research the environmental impacts of the fishery, especially with regard to effective monitoring of the incidental capture of endangered, threatened, and protected species.
    • Support and encourage enhanced surveillance and enforcement to reduce illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 28 June 2019

In India, both the Fishery Survey of India and The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) conduct fisheries stock assessment and provide advice for management. Stock assessment of oil sardine is normally conducted at the State level and results are made available in scientific papers (Rohit and Bhat 2003) or in the CMFRI Annual Reports. However, most of the studies conducted by CMFRI are confined to providing information on length-weight relationships, size at first maturity, spawning season, etc.  Stock assessments are patchy at best and not conducted on a regular basis in all coastal states, and information provided in the Annual Reports is not enough to evaluate the type or quality of the assessment. 

Considering the last six CMFRI Annual Reports (comprising the period 2012-2013 to 2017-2018), rapid stock assessment results for oil sardine off Maharashtra were published in the CMFRI 2013-2014 (CMFRI 2014) and 2014-2015 (CMFRI 2015) Annual Reports.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 28 June 2019

No catch limits or TACs have been advised for oil sardine in India. The "Report of the Technical Committee to Review the Duration of the Ban Period and to Suggest Further Measures to Strengthen the Conservation and Management Aspects" (Government of India 2014), commissioned by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (Ministry of Agriculture) and published in 2014 recommended to increase the duration of the seasonal fishing closure in the monsoon season from 41 days to 61 days in all coastal States (1st June to 31st July in the western coast of India including Maharashtra; from 15th April to 14th June along the East Coast); proposed that the ban should include purse and ring seiners (but not traditional non-motorized vessels); suggested to control effort of purse and ring seiners and recommended the creation of marine protected areas to enhance habitat conservation. This Report also recommended that regulatory measures such as minimum/maximum legal size at capture, mesh size regulations, licensing, regulation of operation of mechanized and motorized boats and capping the number of different categories of boats should be strictly implemented in all states. There are currently no reference points in place for oil sardine in India.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 28 June 2019

Recent catch data estimates for each coastal state are available at the CMFRI website. Some extra population and biological parameters are provided in the CMFRI Annual Reports. 

The populations off Maharashtra were recognized as "underexploited" in 2014 (CMFRI 2015). However, since 2014 catches have steadily decreased but the stock status has not been updated (CMFRI 2018). These are the last catch data and parameters available for the populations of oil sardine off Maharashtra. Note that catches are from 2017 whereas populations parameters refer to 2014, and that catches refer to all gears pooled: purse seines, gillnets and trawls. Note also that information on stock status (evaluation date is 2015) is considered outdated according to the generation time of the species (1 yr).

Catches 2017 (all gears; tonnes)

8,325

Z (2014; year-1)

2.7

M (2014; year-1)

2.0

F (2014; year-1)

0.7

Exploitation rate (2014)

0.26

Maximum exploitation rate (2014)

0.6

Stock condition (2014)

Underexploited

The last CMFRI Annual Report flags that a high proportion (54.3%) of the catch of oil sardine in Maharasthra is composed by juveniles (CMFRI 2018).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 28 June 2019

There are no catch limits or quotas for oil sardine in India. 

According to the Constitution of India (Government of India 1950), the Central (Federal) government has jurisdiction over the fisheries in the EEZ, while the State (Provincial) governments have jurisdiction over fisheries in the territorial waters, where oil sardine is mostly captured (Pravin and Meenakumari 2016)(Abdussamad et al. 2015).

Fisheries within the 12-mile territorial limits are managed under the Marine Fishing Regulation Acts (MFRA) of the maritime States of India. The Act is based on a model piece of legislation prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, in 1979, in response to demand from fishers operating unpowered fishing vessels to protect their fishing space and equipment from bottom trawlers. Some of the important management measures adopted under the MFRA are prohibitions on certain fishing gear, regulations on mesh size, establishment of closed seasons and areas, demarcations of zones for no-trawling, besides other measures such as use of turtle excluder devices, and designation of no-fishing areas.

The MFRA of Maharashtra was adopted in 1981 (Government of Maharashtra 1981). The area reserved for traditional craft is between 5 and 10 fathoms depending on the district. Following scientific recommendations, and in order to match the duration of the fishing ban in the Indian EEZ (extended in 2015 from 47 to 61 days; 1st June to 31st July) and in territorial waters, Maharashtra Government has extended the fishing ban in State waters from 47 to 61 days (from 1st June to 31st July) in territorial waters, where this fishery operates.

Besides MFRAs there is other important legislation relevant for fisheries and fishing communities promulgated at the Central (Federal) level such as the Environment Protection Act 1986 (Government of India 1986), Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (Government of India 1972) or the The Biological Diversity Act 2002 (Ministry of Law and Justice of India 2002).

There are no recovery plans in place for oil sardine in any maritime state of India.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 28 June 2019

There are no quotas or TACs set for Indian oil sardine or any other fishery in India as it is deemed of difficult implementation due to the multi-specific and multi-gear nature of Indian fisheries (Government of India 2014). Implementation, enforcement and compliance of management measures in the Marine Fisheries Regulation Acts (MFRAs) other than seasonal closures was flagged as weak in the past (Government of India 2014) (Mohamed, 2015(Pramod 2010) (Pramod 2012)

Enforcement of the fishing ban is also difficult due to the absence of patrol vessels in most coastal states, but is supported by the Federal Coast Guard (Pramod 2010).

In the past, the absence of a uniform ban period throughout the coastline has led to fishing trawlers (that catch oil sardine as bycatch) of several States using this legal technicality to fish where fishing ban exists and land in an adjacent State where there is no ban (Pramod 2010). The recent expansion and uniformity of the fishing ban in all coastal states (except Kerala) will likely reduce conflicts between fishermen of neighboring States to a great extent (Government of India 2014).  

Penalties for violation vary among states and are described in the MFRAs. Penalties include fines, vessel impoundment and fish seizure among others.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 29 August 2018

The Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India, published in 2011 a list of the Critical Endangered Animal Species of India. The list included the following marine species: 

  • The Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) found in tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
  • The Pondicherry Shark (Carcharhinus hemiodon). Indian Ocean - from Gulf of Oman to Pakistan, India and possibly Sri Lanka
  • The Ganges Shark (Glyphis gangeticus) that occurs in the turbid waters of the Ganga river and the Bay of Bengal
  • The Knife-tooth Sawfish (Anoxypristis cuspidata), widespread in western part of the Indo-Pacific region
  • The Large-tooth Sawfish (Pristis microdon), in the western part of the Indo-Pacific (East Africa to New Guinea, Philippines and Vietnam to Australia)
  • The Long-comb Sawfish or Narrow-snout Sawfish (Pristis zijsron), in the Indo-Pacific region including Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • The Fire corals (Millepora boschmai), living in Indonesia, Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama Pacific Province but possibly extinct from India

Besides the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 provides protection to more than 1800 marine species in India, including 11 elasmobranches species and 5 sea turtles.

India
Purse seines

The interaction between the oil sardine purse seine fishery and ETP species is poorly understood (only opportunistic data is available) and it has been recognized as a priority for further improvement of the fishery (Andrews 2013).

An individual of Rhincodon typus (whale shark) measuring 6 m and weighing approximately 1.5 t was accidentally caught by a purse seine unit off Ratnagiri coast on 30 May 2015. This shark is listed as endangered by the IUCN red list, and included in Appendix II of CITES

Other Species

Last updated on 29 August 2018

Catch composition of purse seiners off Ratnagiri include, besides oil sardine (28.6%), cat fish (24.3%), Indian mackerel (14.7%), lesser sardines (14.4%), horse mackerel (9.5%) and tuna (4.4%) (Kamble et al. 2017)

HABITAT

Last updated on 29 August 2018

Purse seines used to capture oil sardine are considered to cause little to no impact on bottom habitats (Government of India 2014) although no specific studies have been conducted for this fishery in this State.

Marine Reserves 

 

There is a temporal fishing ban for mechanized vessels in all territorial waters of Maharashtra from 1st June to 31st July. There are two marine protected areas in Maharashtra (Malvan Marine and Thane Creek Flamingo) but they are not considered fisheries MPA or fish refuge therefore providing no protection to fish stocks. Besides 16 coastal and marine sites have been identified and prioritized as Important Coastal and Marine Areas (ICMBAs) by the Wildlife Institute of India in Maharashtra.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 21 July 2019

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2019 data.

The score is < 6.

Fisheries within the 12-mile territorial limits are managed under the Marine Fishing Regulation Acts (MFRA) of the maritime States of India, that include prohibitions on certain fishing gear, regulations on mesh size, establishment of closed seasons and areas, demarcations of zones for no-trawling. However, there are presently no clearly stated long-term objectives for this fishery (Andrews, 2013).

As calculated for 2019 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

There are no formal or routine arrangements in place to create a link between scientific findings and the management regime for this fishery. Oil sardine in India is not managed through quotas or TACs. However, since 2017 the State Government has extended the duration of the monsoon fishing ban from 45 to 61 days to all motorized vessels following scientific recommendations, in order to increase protection of the spawning individuals (GOI, 2014).

As determined for 2019.

Although IUU fishing has been recognized as a general problem for Indian fisheries (Pramod, 2010, 2012) there is no specific information on the degree of compliance of this fishery.

STOCK HEALTH:

As determined for 2019.

The last evaluation date for this stock (2015) which refers to stock status in 2014 (information date) is older than 1 generation time (1 yr according to Fishbase), and thus the current stock status cannot be determined. Besides, the quality of that assessment however couldn't be evaluated based on the information provided by the CMFRI and the stock structure of oil sardine along the Indian coast is not clear which may hinder the interpretation of the stock assessment results.

As determined for 2019.

The last evaluation date for this stock (2015) which refers to stock status in 2014 (information date) is older than 1 generation time (1 yr according to Fishbase), and thus the current stock status cannot be determined. Besides, the quality of that assessment however couldn't be evaluated based on the information provided by the CMFRI and the stock structure of oil sardine along the Indian coast is not clear which may hinder the interpretation of the stock assessment results. The future health of the populations off Maharashtra cannot be evaluated as there is no information on harvest levels or reference points.

ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS

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Bycatch Subscores

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

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Habitat Subscores

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

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Ecosystem Subscores

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

No data available for biomass
No data available for biomass
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No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
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To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.
DATA NOTES
  • Catch data used in this profile correspond to catch estimates for the last six years (2012-2017) available at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) website. Longer time series of catch data at the state level are not publicly available, although some opportunistic catch data for older years can be found at the CMFRI Annual Reports (but not for all states and not in a regular basis). 
  • Longer time series of oil sardine catches are available at FAO, but FAO catches are pooled for all maritime states of India, and there are some inconsistencies with CMFRI catch data. Therefore this source of information is not used in this profile.
  • Catch data correspond to catches by all fishing gears pooled. However, CMFRI Annual Reports often include information on separate catches by the different fishing gears in this state, or at least the percentage of catches taken by seines which is the most important fishing gear targeting indian oil sardine. An exception is 2017 when catches were reported pooled. During the period 2012-2016 seines captured on average 79% of the total amount of oil sardine. Information for other gears is not consistently reported but for instance catches by trawls ranged between 4% and 6% during the same period, and catches by gillnets were only reported once (2015) and corresponded to 2.3% of the catches (CMFRI 2016)
  • Lack of quantitative data prevents scores' calculation so qualitative scores, based on the most current and publicly available information, were assigned instead.
  • There is not enough information to know the degree of compliance in this fishery therefore the score for fishers compliance is considered data deficient.
  • The last evaluation date for this stock (2015) is older than 1 generation time (1 yr according to Fishbase), and thus the current health and future health of the stock cannot be determined and those scores are considered data deficient.
  • Ecosystem impact scores and narratives were not updated in 2019.

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

SELECT FIP

Access FIP Public Report

Progress Rating: C
Evaluation Start Date: 1 Feb 2018
Type: Basic

Comments:

FIP reported activitities in the workplan underway in the last 12 months. FIP rating is now C. 

1.
FIP Development
Jan 18
2.
FIP Launch
Mar 18
Mar 18
3.
FIP Implementation
Jul 19
4.
Improvements in Fishing Practices and Fishery Management
Verifiable improvement in policy/management and fishing practices
5.
Improvements on the Water
Verifiable improvement on the water
6.
MSC certification (optional)
MSC certificate made public

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

References

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