WORLDWIDE: The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) warns that despite improvements in multiple fisheries, there is continued evidence that the Pacific bluefin tuna, Atlantic Ocean bigeye and Western and Central Pacific bigeye continue to be overexploited and urge stakeholders to prioritize its advocacy efforts.
In its latest report Status of the Stocks, in which ISSF compiles the scientific records of the different major tuna stocks done by each of the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), it rated Eastern Pacific bigeye tuna biomass as positive but the Atlantic Ocean bigeye tuna biomass rating changed to negative due to its increased fish mortality.
In addition, the entity informed that dolphin stock status in the Eastern Pacific Ocean becomes more uncertain in the absence of updated surveys.
The document describes that there are 23 stocks of the major commercial tuna species worldwide – 6 albacore, 4 bigeye, 4 bluefin, 5 skipjack and 4 yellowfin stocks, which are ranked using a consistent methodology in terms of three factors: Abundance, Exploitation/Management (fishing mortality) and Environmental Impact (bycatch).
In 2013, the catch of major commercial tunas was 4.6 million tonnes. Fifty-eight percent of it was skipjack tuna, followed by yellowfin (27 per cent), bigeye (9 per cent) and albacore (6 per cent). The four stocks of bluefin tuna account for only 1 per cent of the global catch. The highest volume of catch came from the skipjack tuna stock in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, at over 1.7 million tonnes.
Different fishing gears are used to catch tunas. Purse seining accounts for 63 per cent of the global tuna catch, primarily from skipjack tuna. But the relative importance of the various gears differs depending on the stock. For example, almost 100per cent of the catch of albacore in the Indian Ocean is from longlining and almost 90per cent of the skipjack catch in the western Atlantic is from pole-and-line fisheries.