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 (Mohandas 1997) (Venkita Krishnan 1993) (Sukumaran et al. 2016). Recent research suggests the existence 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 quite freqeuntly for all coastal states by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute of India (CMFRI). 
  • 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.
  • Compliance and enforcement of the fishing ban is better than in other maritime states of India.
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.
  • Information provided in the CMFRI Annual Reports is not consistent among states and years, and typically not enough to fully understand the fishery in Tamil Nadu, e.g. there is no regular information on the percentage of catches captured by each fishing gear, or the percentage of juveniles in the catches.
  • Stock status has not been updated since 2016.
  • 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 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 no 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.
  • Long time series of state-wise catch data are not publicly available, and the CMFRI website provides catch data only for the last 5 years. 
  • 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

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

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

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu India Gillnets and entangling nets
Purse seines
Semipelagic trawls

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 28 June 2019

Strengths
  • Rapid stock assessments are conducted quite freqeuntly for all coastal states by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute of India (CMFRI). 
  • 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.
  • Compliance and enforcement of the fishing ban is better than in other maritime states of India.
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.
  • Information provided in the CMFRI Annual Reports is not consistent among states and years, and typically not enough to fully understand the fishery in Tamil Nadu, e.g. there is no regular information on the percentage of catches captured by each fishing gear, or the percentage of juveniles in the catches.
  • Stock status has not been updated since 2016.
  • 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 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 no 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.
  • Long time series of state-wise catch data are not publicly available, and the CMFRI website provides catch data only for the last 5 years. 
  • 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 CMFRI 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 Tamil Nadu were published in the CMFRI 2014-2015 (CMFRI 2015) and 2015-2016 (CMFRI 2016) 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; from 15th April to 14th June along the East Coast including Tamil Nadu); 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., although status of oil sardine in Tamil Nadu was not updated in the last report (CMFRI 2018).

Catches have experienced a drop after 2013 and since then they are in a decreasing trend with the last value from 2017 (51,716 tonnes) being the lowest from the time series (2013-2017). All catches in 2017 correspond to trawls as there was a failure in catches with ring seines in 2017 (Sivadas et al. 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 Tamil Nadu was adopted in 1983 (Government of Tamil Nadu 1983). The area reserved for traditional craft is 3 nautical miles from the coast, whereas mechanized vessels can operate beyond 3 nm. 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; 15th April to 14th June) and in territorial waters, Tamil Nadu Government has extended since 2017 fishing ban of 61 days (from 15th April to 14th June) 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).

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)

The seasonal fishing ban seems to be particularly well implemented in Tamil Nadu as compared to other maritime states due to close coordination between mechanized boat owners associations and the Fisheries Department (Pramod 2012) although this information may now be outdated. In fact, a more recent publication reports that fishers operate pair trawls to catch Indian oil sardine every year despite being explicitly prohibited in the Tamil Nadu MFRA "as the profits earned through pair trawling is huge and adequately compensates the fines imposed" (Surya et al. 2016). However it is not know if this bad-practice is still taking place at present.

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 Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata).  In India they are found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the coast of Tamil Nadu and Orissa
  • 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).

Other Species

Last updated on 29 August 2018

Currently there is no available information on the bycatch of purse seines targeting oil sardine in this assessment unit, and bycatch it is not regularly or sporadically monitored in the state of Tamil Nadu. 

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 Tamil Nadu Pradesh from 15th April to 14th June. There are three marine protected areas in Tamil Nadu (Gulf of Mannar Marine, Point Calimere and Pulicat Lake) but they are not considered fisheries MPA or fish refuge therefore providing no protection to fish stocks. Besides 14 coastal and marine sites have been identified and prioritized as Important Coastal and Marine Areas (ICMBAs) by the Wildlife Institute of India in Tamil Nadu.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 22 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 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. In 2016 it was reported that pair trawlers were catching oil sardine in spite of being explicitly prohibited by the Marine Fishing Regulation Act of Tamil Nadu (Surya et al., 2016). However there is no information to know if this is still happening.

STOCK HEALTH:

As determined for 2019.

The evaluation date for this stock (2016) that refers to stock status in 2015 (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 stock assessment cannot be evaluated based on the information provided in the CMFRI report. In addition, the stock structure of oil sardine along the Indian coast is not clear which may hinder our interpretation of the stock assessment results. No update of stock status has been provided since 2016.

As determined for 2019.

The evaluation date for this stock (2016) that refers to stock status in 2015 (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 stock assessment cannot be evaluated based on the information provided in the CMFRI report. In addition, the stock structure of oil sardine along the Indian coast is not clear which may hinder our interpretation of the stock assessment results. No update of stock status has been provided since 2016. There is no information on harvest levels or reference points that may enable a prediction on the future health of the stock.

ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS

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Bycatch Subscores

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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.

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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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DATA NOTES
  • Catch data used in this profile correspond to catch estimates for the last five years (2013-2017) 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 on 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
  • Catches used in this profile represent pooled catches by all gears targeting oil sardine. As in the other states, seines take most of the catches (50% in 2012, 57% in 2014 and 2015) but trawls represent a more important fraction of the fishery as compared to other states (31% in 2014 and 2015 and 100% in 2017). Gillnets have been also reported to catch oil sardine in this state (4% in both 2014 and 2015).
  • Lack of quantitative data prevents scores' calculation so qualitative scores, based on the most current and publicly available information, were assigned instead.
  • Score about fisheries compliance is based on old reports (Pramod 2010)(Pramod 2012) (Surya et al. 2016). Information is considered outdated and therefore a data deficient score is assigned.
  • Score about current health and future health fo the stock are considered data deficient because the last evaluation date of the fishery is older that 1 generation time of the species, there is no information on harvest intensity and there are no reference points for the fishery.
  • Ecosystem impact scores and narratives were not updated in 2019.

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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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    Indian oil sardine - Tamil Nadu

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