A paper by Maite Pons, Trevor A Branch and others published last week in Fish and Fisheries examines the current status of tunas and billfishes, concluding that fishing mortality has declined for most of these stocks over the last decade.
According to the authors, the reason for this is the improvement in management measures by Regional Fishery Management Organisations (RFMOs). The paper states that the implementation of TACs has been the prime factor leading to rapid rebuilding of overfished tuna and billfish stocks, while measures to limit capacity, seasonal closures and minimum size regulations are also contributing factors.
‘Although TACs have been implemented by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas and the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, only recently has a TAC been set for Pacific bluefin tuna to control the intensive fishing pressure that this stock is experiencing. We hope to see signs of rebuilding for this stock in the near future,’ the authors state.
‘The main conclusion of our paper is that the current status of tunas and billfishes is influenced by many factors, but with strong management and enforcement, overfished stocks have the capacity to rebuild and many of them are already rebuilt.’
North Atlantic swordfish, Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna and Atlantic bigeye tuna are named as stocks that have grown in response to improved management measures.
Effects of biological, economic and management factors on tuna and billfish stock status is available here