Marine fisheries production, although stagnating over the last two decades, has been contributing 55% of global fish production. Increased awareness of fish as a unique nutrient-rich health food, as well as source of quality animal protein, has stimulated the demand for fish in general and marine fish in particular. Over the last two decades, the Asia-Pacific region witnessed a spurt in fishing effort, resulting in dwindling fish catches. Although species richness, high fecundity and varied spawning peaks helped tropical marine fisheries overcome the challenges of higher fishing pressure, high exploitation of commercially important groups has caused serious sustainability concern. Climate change will also likely have considerable impact on fisheries sustainability. For marine harvests to keep growing, mariculture must also receive increased emphasis. Accessing extensive and reliable information on these vast and dynamic oceanic resources remains a challenging task. In this endeavour, the Asian Fisheries Society’s efforts, with support of partners, through the formation of AsiaPacific-FishWatch has been exemplary in generating and disseminating a wealth of information on the region's marine resources. While this comprehensive information base has been helping in drawing up strategic management plans for responsible fisheries by different countries in this region, I sincerely wish that the AsiaPacific-FishWatch will expand its scope and horizon in coming years by associating with more stakeholders involved with the sector.

- Dr. J. K. Jena, President, Asian Fisheries Society


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Friday, 22 February 2019 11:20

Number of certified skipjack and yellowfin tuna fisheries increased in last year

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GA 010 Alita-cropAsiaPacific-FishWatch's Sustainability pages for 6 Western and Central Pacific and Indian Ocean tuna species – covering 12 stocks – have been updated. By current assessments, the outlooks, tempered by management measures being taken, show:

  • Skipjack tuna: outlook remains unchanged since previous reviews. Compared to our update last year which showed 5 skipjack fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, now 8 fisheries have become certified, including some of the previously certified fisheries achieving re-certification. LINK
  • Yellowfin tuna: The status of both stocks is unchanged with Indian Ocean stocks overfished and overfishing occurring. Although the Western and Central Pacific stock is not overfished, concern is expressed over fishing pressure and bycatch by some fishing gears. The number of certified yellowfin tuna fisheries has risen from 5 last year to 11 presently. LINK
  • Bigeye tuna: Although not yet considered overfished, the latest assessment for the Western and Central Pacific Ocean stock continue to express concern that the stock is in a more depleted state than other stocks in this region, and bycatch is a problem with some gear. No bigeye fishery has been certified, but one combination yellowfin and bigeye tuna longline fishery was certified in late 2018. LINK
  • Albacore tuna: None of the three stocks (Northern Pacific Ocean, Southern Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean) are considered overfished but concern is expressed at the fishing pressure on the Northern Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean stocks. One additional fishery on the Southern Pacific Albacore stock was certified in 2018, bringing the total certified certified fisheries to 9 for all three fish stocks. LINK
  • Longtail tuna: Stock assessments and catch data remain incomplete. Recent Indian Ocean assessments consider the stocks overfished and that overfishing is occurring. This species is within the management mandate of the IOTC but not the WCPFC. LINK
  • Pacific bluefin tuna: This stock is considered overfished and overfishing is occurring. The rebuilding plan will be kept under more constant review from 2019. A slow recovery is underway but the stock is still near an historically low level. LINK

These updates owe a big debt to the stock assessment experts and reviewers associated with regional fisheries management and technical organisations (SPC, WCPFC, IOTC, ISC, IATTC and the national body members of committees) and to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation for its regularly updated overviews of stock status (see the latest Stock Status Report at:

Victoria Jolland is thanked for pulling together all the information for the 6 species Sustainability and Quick Facts updates.

Photo: Man weighing yellowfin tuna while woman does the recording, General Santos City tuna port. Source: Alita Roxas, Mindanao State University- Iligan Institute of Technology, Philippines and USAID-Oceans project.

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