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SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

Last updated on 12 January 2018

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), but the most recent investigation, based on microsatellite markers, revealed the existence of significant genetic differentiation between samples from Oman and Indian coastline; and within the indian coastline significant genetic differentiation was found between samples from Mumbai & Mangalore vs. other regions in the southwestern and eastern coast of India. This 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 where purse seining for oil sardine mostly operates (Pravin and Meenakumari 2016) and populations of oil sardine and normally assessed separately for each State. Major catches (>13000 tons/year; representing >98.5% of the total catches in India including all gears) in the last years occurred off Maharasthra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, whereas catches off Gujarat, Pondichery, Odisha and West Bengal were much less important (<4000 tons/year; representing <1.5% of the total catches in India including all gears). Oil sardine is captured in India mainly with purse seines but also with gillnets and trawls (Rohit and Bhat 2003) (Andrews 2013).

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, Kelara, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Rapid stock assessments are conducted frequently for all coastal states by the Central Fisheries Marine Institute of India
  • 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.
  • Stock status has not been updated since 2015
  • Presently no clearly stated long-term objectives are established for this fishery. Oil sardine in India is not managed through quotas or TACs. 
  • 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 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 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 4 years. Besides, catch data of oil sardine is not split by fishing gear
  • 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
Options
  • Conduct further research on the biological stock structure
  • Conduct stock assessment at the appropriate spatial scale once the stock structure is defined.
  • Set minimum landing size for oil sardine as advised by the scientific bodies.
  • State Marine Fishing Regulation Acts should be translated into local languages along with a summary version for stakeholders, such as fishers, to facilitate compliance.

FishSource Scores

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

DATA DEFICIENT

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 6

Future Health:

DATA DEFICIENT


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Support further research to better define the biological stock structure and the potential environmental impacts of the fishery (especially with regard to bycatch of ETP species).
  • Ask managers to conduct stock assessment(s) at the appropriate spatial scale once the stock structure has been defined.
  • Encourage managers to develop and agree on long-term objectives for the fishery, and develop a related management plan, including a harvest strategy and harvest control rule, for each stock.
  • Support and encourage enhanced surveillance and enforcement to reduce identified IUU fishing (including use of unregistered boats, use of non-permitted gears, misreporting, and non-compliance with minimum landing size requirements and closed areas or times).
  • Support current improvement efforts and encourage development of a formal, national, Indian oil sardine fishery FIP.

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 Purse seines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Strengths
  • Rapid stock assessments are conducted frequently for all coastal states by the Central Fisheries Marine Institute of India
  • 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.
  • Stock status has not been updated since 2015
  • Presently no clearly stated long-term objectives are established for this fishery. Oil sardine in India is not managed through quotas or TACs. 
  • 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 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 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 4 years. Besides, catch data of oil sardine is not split by fishing gear
  • 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
Options
  • Conduct further research on the biological stock structure
  • Conduct stock assessment at the appropriate spatial scale once the stock structure is defined.
  • Set minimum landing size for oil sardine as advised by the scientific bodies.
  • State Marine Fishing Regulation Acts should be translated into local languages along with a summary version for stakeholders, such as fishers, to facilitate compliance.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 21 December 2017

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Support further research to better define the biological stock structure and the potential environmental impacts of the fishery (especially with regard to bycatch of ETP species).
  • Ask managers to conduct stock assessment(s) at the appropriate spatial scale once the stock structure has been defined.
  • Encourage managers to develop and agree on long-term objectives for the fishery, and develop a related management plan, including a harvest strategy and harvest control rule, for each stock.
  • Support and encourage enhanced surveillance and enforcement to reduce identified IUU fishing (including use of unregistered boats, use of non-permitted gears, misreporting, and non-compliance with minimum landing size requirements and closed areas or times).
  • Support current improvement efforts and encourage development of a formal, national, Indian oil sardine fishery FIP.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 13 November 2017

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 quality of the assessment.

Considering the last five CMFRI Annual Reports (comprising the period 2012-2016), rapid stock assessment results for oil sardine off Tamil Nadu were published in the CMFRI 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 Annual Reports.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 13 November 2017

No catch limits or TACs are 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, 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.

REFERENCE POINTS

Last updated on 13 November 2017

There are currently no reference points in place for oil sardine in India.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 13 November 2017

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 catches have experienced a drop after 2013, they have been relatively stable in the last 3 yr, and the populations have been recognized as "abundant" both in 2014 (CMFRI 2015) and 2015 (CMFRI 2016). Catches in recent years have been at historical (last 14 years) average levels. Note that catches refer to all gears pooled (purse seines, gill nets and trawls).

Catches 2016 (all gears; tons)

80,957

Historic maximum (2002-2015; tons)

143,168

Recent average (2013-2015; tons)

115,522

Stock condition (2015)

Abundant

TRENDS

Last updated on 13 November 2017

Catch data of oil sardine from all gears (purse seines, gill nets and trawls) for the last 4 yr off Tamil Nadu are as follows. In the last 4 yr no population measures other than those presented under the Current status section are available for the populations off Tamil Nadu.

Year

Catches (tons)

2013

182,427

2014

78,570

2015

87,553

2016

80,957

 

The percentage of those catches that correspond to purse seines was 50% both in 2012 and 2013. This information is not available for the other years.

According to CMFRI, the status of the populations off Tami Nadu was considered to be “abundant” in 2014 and 2015 (CMFRI 2015)(CMFRI 2016), and catches have been relatively stable in the last years.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGERS' DECISIONS

Last updated on 13 November 2017

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

According to the Constitution of India, 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 purse seining for oil sardine mostly operates (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.

MFRA of Tamil Nadu was adopted in 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 (recently extended to 61 days; 15th April to 14th June) and in territorial waters, Tamil Nadu Government has recently adopted an extended 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 (e.g. Environment Protection Act 1986, Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972, The Biological Diversity Act 2002).

RECOVERY PLANS

Last updated on 13 November 2017

There are no recovery plans in place for oil sardine in any State of India

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 13 November 2017

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).

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 seize among others.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

ETP SPECIES

Last updated on 13 November 2017

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 TARGET AND BYCATCH SPECIES

Last updated on 13 November 2017

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 13 November 2017

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

Last updated on 13 November 2017

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 14 March 2018

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2017 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 2017 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, the State Government has recently 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 2017.

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

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Although catches have experienced a drop after 2013, the populations have been recognized as "abundant" in 2015 (CMFRI 2015-2016 Annual Report). Catches in recent years have been at historical (last 15 years) average levels.

As determined for 2015.

The oil sardine population off Tamil Nadu ​is considered to be in an abundant state in 2015 (CMFRI 2015-2016 Annual Report), ​but ​there is no​t​ enough information on current mortality levels to conclude if ​it is sustainable and to forecast if the population will be healthy in the future. For these reasons, no score is given

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE RISK

High Medium Low

This indicates the potential risk of human rights abuses for all fisheries operating within this stock or assessment unit. If there are more than on risk level noted, individual fisheries have different levels. Click on the "Select Scores" drop-down list for your fisheries of interest.

No data available for biomass
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for recruitment
DATA NOTES
  • Catch data used in this profile correspond to catch estimates for the last four years (2013-2016) and for each state, 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
  • Catches of oil sardine by purse seiners only is not available for this state so catches for all gears pooled (purse seines, gill nets and trawls) are used in this profile.
  • 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.
  • Score about current health of the stock is based on data from 2014 (CMFRI 2014-2015 Annual Report) and 2015 (CMFRI 2015-2016 Annual Report)
  • Score about future health fo the stock is considered data deficient because there is no enough information on current mortality levels to conclude if they are sustainable and to forecast if the populations will be healthy in the future

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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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