Last updated on 6 March 2018

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Octopus vulgaris

SPECIES NAME(s)

Common octopus

Distributed worldwide with stock structure unknown however 6 stocks may be appropriate (Leow 2017). In the Western Atlantic this species ranges from Northern Canada to Sourhern Argentina including throughout the Carribean and Gulf of Mexico; again no separate stocks are proposed (SAGARPA 2014).

Globally found to 400m depth, in the Gulf of Mexico they are found to depths of 91m (SAGARPA 2012).

Both Mexican four-eyed octopus and common octopus have highly changeable body shape and colour, occupy similar habitats and are of similar size, causing the species to be difficult to discriminate by eye, which can lead to misidentification. Both species are proescuted by the same multispecies fishery using baited lines on poles.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Managers tend to heed scientific advice and are actively working to improve monitoring and enforcement. A raft of improved legislation has been introduced since 2013 which should address many of the problems within the fishery.
  • A closed season operates through half of the year. 
  • The management plan in place establishes several action measures to achieve a sustainable octopus fishery by 2022 in terms of biomass and recruitment.
  • This fishery method is not known to impact the environment and there is no bycatch concern for this fishery.
Weaknesses
  • No catch quotas are in place. Scientific assessment focuses on the Mexican four-eyed octopus, with little information collected for the common octopus, including abundance assessments.
  • There is no management strategy in place. 
  • Catch data are unavailable after 2013.
  • Enforcement and data collection has historically been weak.
  • Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has historically been a problem for the octopus fishery.
  • Traditional biological points are not available and a full stock assessment hasn't been conducted.
  • The blue crab primarily used as bait is fully exploited, suggesting the octopus fishery could be putting the sustainability of that species at risk.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

< 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

DATA DEFICIENT

Future Health:

DATA DEFICIENT


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Conduct scientific studies to define the stock structures of both species of octopus (Octopus maya and O. vulgaris) caught by this fishery, to enable or improve stock assessments.
  • Encourage managers, scientists and the fishery to improve data collection and public availability of information by fishing method (e.g. catch, effort and fleet size,) and biological data (including size, sex, age and size/age-at-maturity) to support stock assessment development.
  • Work with managers to improve the current management plan to cover both species, including stock specific harvest strategies and harvest control rules suitable for short-lived species.
  • Estimate the scope of illegal fishing and under-reporting, and implement effective monitoring, control, and surveillance measures.
  • Improve the quantitative data on bait use and avoid using the overexploited blue crab as bait to reduce impacts on this species.
  • Ensure your supply chain is represented in SFP’s Global Octopus Supply Chain Roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.

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
Mexico Gulf of Mexico Mexico Pole-lines hand operated

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 6 March 2018

Strengths
  • Managers tend to heed scientific advice and are actively working to improve monitoring and enforcement. A raft of improved legislation has been introduced since 2013 which should address many of the problems within the fishery.
  • A closed season operates through half of the year. 
  • The management plan in place establishes several action measures to achieve a sustainable octopus fishery by 2022 in terms of biomass and recruitment.
  • This fishery method is not known to impact the environment and there is no bycatch concern for this fishery.
Weaknesses
  • No catch quotas are in place. Scientific assessment focuses on the Mexican four-eyed octopus, with little information collected for the common octopus, including abundance assessments.
  • There is no management strategy in place. 
  • Catch data are unavailable after 2013.
  • Enforcement and data collection has historically been weak.
  • Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has historically been a problem for the octopus fishery.
  • Traditional biological points are not available and a full stock assessment hasn't been conducted.
  • The blue crab primarily used as bait is fully exploited, suggesting the octopus fishery could be putting the sustainability of that species at risk.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 16 October 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Conduct scientific studies to define the stock structures of both species of octopus (Octopus maya and O. vulgaris) caught by this fishery, to enable or improve stock assessments.
  • Encourage managers, scientists and the fishery to improve data collection and public availability of information by fishing method (e.g. catch, effort and fleet size,) and biological data (including size, sex, age and size/age-at-maturity) to support stock assessment development.
  • Work with managers to improve the current management plan to cover both species, including stock specific harvest strategies and harvest control rules suitable for short-lived species.
  • Estimate the scope of illegal fishing and under-reporting, and implement effective monitoring, control, and surveillance measures.
  • Improve the quantitative data on bait use and avoid using the overexploited blue crab as bait to reduce impacts on this species.
  • Ensure your supply chain is represented in SFP’s Global Octopus Supply Chain Roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 6 March 2018

A formal stock assessment has not been conducted and as of 2013 abundance surveys are not known to be conducted. However this is described as a research priority in the current management plan (SAGARPA 2014).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 6 March 2018

Managers are advised to perform surveys and evaluate of new catch areas of common octopus that would provide the technical basis for the establishment of catch quotas, and establish the minimum catch size in accordance with its reproductive cycle (SAGARPA 2012). Monthly monitoring catches and abundance is recommended (SAGARPA 2007), and scientists advocate collecting estimates of population and biomass, the scale of environmental impacts and illegal fishing (SAGARPA 2014).

Reference Points

Last updated on 06 Mar 2018

There aren't any reference points defined.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 6 March 2018

The status is unknown, there aren't biomass estimates available but only catch trends.

Trends

Last updated on 06 Mar 2018

Catches are highly variable but the overall trend is a gradual rise from 5,000 to 6,000t from 1998 to 2013 (SAGARPA 2014).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 6 March 2018

A management plan has been created for the octopus fishery, to jointly manage common and Mexican four-eyed octopus, though disparities in data availiability means the two species have differing levels of management available, e.g. Mexican four-eyed octopus has a quota allocation whereas common octopus doesn't (SAGARPA 2014).

DOF 12/21/93 establishes a minimum catch size of 110 mm of mantle length for both species in the Yucatan Peninsula. The use of hooks, snoops and harpoons is prohibited. INAPESCA has determined for the PNSAV a minimum size of 110 mm for the male common octopus and 140 mm for the females.

The current fishing effort should be maintained, in terms of permits and authorized vessels (SAGARPA 2012).

A closed season is in effect from December 16th to July 31st (SAGARPA 2014) which applies to both common and Mexican four-eyed octopus.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 06 Mar 2018

There is no recovery plan in place.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 6 March 2018

Enforcement of regulations has been weak and some illegal fishing is possible to occur but the magnitude is unknown (SAGARPA 2014).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 6 March 2018

There is a total of 90 marine species protected by law in Mexico, including 18 invertebrates, 44 mammals, 17 fish (including five species of elasmobranchs), 7 reptiles and four plant species (DOF 2010).

Mexico
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 6 March 2018

There is no concern expected on protected species bycatch for this fishery method however there aren't known specific studies on the matter.

Other Species

Last updated on 6 March 2018

Red grouper prey on octopus, which in turn prey on lobster; both species are therefore connected to the octopus fishery and its management (Lasseter 2006).

Mexico
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 5 February 2018

There is no bycatch concern for this fishery method, but the blue crab primarily used as bait is fully exploited, suggesting the octopus fishery could be putting the sustainability of that species at risk (CONAPESCA-SAGARPA 2008). Discarding information is not collected, although high gear selectivity suggests this should not be a problem. No bycatch monitoring is known to be in place.

HABITAT

Last updated on 6 March 2018

Primary habitat types are well known (seagrass, reefs and rocks) and their locations well established by fishermen and managers (SAGARPA 2014).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 06 Mar 2018

A total of 105 marine Priority Areas for the Conservation of the Biodiversity were identified in Mexico based on biotic and abiotic variables (CONABIO-CONANP-TNC-PRONATURA. 2007). Part of these areas (~20% of the surface) are protected by law through a federal net of 182 Natural Protected Areas (ANPs), 68 of them protecting marine areas. Some of those ANPs are also recognized as conservation areas by International organizations (RAMSAR, RAMPAN, etc…). Maps and information on Mexican ANPs are available in an interactive map. Fishing is banned in some of them (detailed information and management plan of each individual ANP can be found here). An MPA network exists (Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano) but compliance has been flagged as an issue to be addressed in the management plan. No measures are in place or known to be planned for the non-MPA regions of potential concern, i.e. coral reefs (SAGARPA 2014).

Due to DOF 04/03/94 a closed season was established for octopuses in the Yucatan Peninsula, from December 16 to July 31 of each year, except when altered to protect fishing profits.

Mexico
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 6 March 2018

This fishery method is not anticipated to impact the environment in any meaningful way. Lines snagged on sensitive reefs may cause minimal damage but this is not presumede to occur with high regularity given the risk to the fishermen of losing gear. However, the total impact is not known (SAGARPA 2014).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 6 March 2018

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is < 6.

There is no harvest control rule or fishing quotas established for this fishery. The management plan in place establishes several action measures to achieve a sustainable octopus fishery by 2022 in terms of biomass and recruitment (SAGARPA, 2014).

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Stock not managed through catch limits but scientific recommendations to increase gathering and compliance have been codified into the latest management plan (SAGARPA 2014).

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is < 6.

Enforcement of regulations has been weak and some illegal fishing is possible to occur (SAGARPA 2014).

STOCK HEALTH:

As determined for 2014.

Abundance surveys are not conducted for this species. The status of the resource is not currently known.

As determined for 2014.

Harvest levels are unknown. The status of the resource is not currently known.

ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS

Click on the score to see subscore

Click on the score to see subscore

Click on the score to see subscore

×

Bycatch Subscores

No official bycatch monitoring appears to be in place, likely due to the excellently discriminatory selectivity of the gear type, whereby bycatch does not occur (SAGARPA 2014).

There is no byctch therefore no ETP bycatch (SAGARPA 2014).

There is no bycatch (SAGARPA 2014).

No management measures are in place, but there is no bycatch to mitigate or manage (SAGARPA 2014).

×

Habitat Subscores

Daily and seasonal temporal and spatial fishing patterns are quite well understood. When fishing over sensitive coral reef habitats there is the opporunity for the gear to cause light damage; while this is anticipated to be minimal and counter to the interes of the fishermen (chance of snagging lines), the total impact is not known (SAGARPA 2014).

Priority habitat types are well known (seagrass, reefs and rocks) and their locations well established by fishermen and managers. Comprehensive assessment of their status is not carried out, despite impacts by the fisheries anticipated to be low (SAGARPA 2014).

Impact on habitats is understood to be minimal, although a full dedicated assessment has not been carried out and regular monitoring is not in place (SAGARPA 2014).

An MPA network exists (Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano) but compliance has been flagged as an issue to be addressed in the management plan. No measures are in place or known to be planned for the non-MPA regions of potential concern, i.e. coral reefs (SAGARPA 2014).

×

Ecosystem Subscores

Octopuses are not thought to play a substantial role in the ecosystem but specific studies into the size and nature of their role in the Southern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem have not been conducted (SAGARPA 2014); a recent study in the Northern GoM is likely to be highly relevant however (Sagarese et al. 2017). The selective nature of the fishery restricts impacts to the target species and their bait (crab).

A recent study mapped the ecosystem in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, which is very similar, and includes cephalopods (Sagarese et al. 2017). This assessment can serve as a baseline in the absence of a directed localised study.

The fishery is not anticipated to disrupt key elements of the ecosystem structure or function owing to its selectivity and targeting a relatively minor element of the system (SAGARPA 2014), however dedicated studies are required to remove uncertainty surrounding this.

No measures are in place to manage the potential impacts of the fishery on the ecosystem (SAGARPA 2014).

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
Mexico
Pole-lines hand operated

Last updated on 6 March 2018

  • Unavailability of quantitative data and qualitative information prevents the determination of scores about the status of the stock (Current and Future health). 
  • Only catch trends are available (SAGARPA 2014). Qualitative scores for Management strategy, Managers compliance and Fishers compliance were determined according to the available information (please mouse-over for further details). 

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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    Common octopus - Mexico

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