Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Swordfish - Indian Ocean
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
Stock status report 2016
Swordfish - Indian Ocean
Fact Sheet Citation  
Swordfish Indian Ocean
Owned byIndian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) – More
Related observationsLocate in inventorydisplay tree map
FAO Names: en - Swordfish, fr - Espadon, es - Pez espada, ru - Меч-рыба

Fishery Indicators
Production: Catch
Geographic extent of Swordfish - Indian Ocean
Main Descriptors
Considered a single stock: Yes        Management unit: Yes
Reference year: 2013
Biological State and Trend
State & Trend Descriptors
Exploitation rateNot subject to overfishing (F2013/FMSY (80% CI) = 0.34 (0.28–0.40))No or low fishing mortality
Abundance levelNot overfished (SB2013/SBMSY (80% CI) = 3.10 (2.44–3.75))Pre-exploitation biomass or high abundance
Habitat and Biology
Climatic zone: Temperate; Tropical.   Horizontal distribution: Oceanic.   Vertical distribution: Pelagic.  

Geographical Distribution
Jurisdictional distribution: Highly migratory

Water Area Overview
Geo References
Resource Structure
Considered a single stock: Yes

 A recent genetic study did not reveal any structure within the Indian Ocean with the markers used, however the hypothesis of a population structuring at the regional level cannot be discarded and needs to be investigated using different markers or approaches. Results obtained from the markers used may simply be a matter of the resolving power of the markers used, which may simply have been insufficient for detecting population subdivision. Spatial heterogeneity in stock indicators (catch–per–unit–effort trends) indicates the potential for localised depletion of swordfish in the Indian Ocean.
Fishery Indicators
TypeMeasureValueUnitTime period
ProductionCatch 297tonnesAverage 1950 - 1959
Catch 1340tonnesAverage 1960 - 1969
Catch 2106tonnesAverage 1970 - 1979
Catch 5130tonnesAverage 1980 - 1989
Catch 26521tonnesAverage 1990 - 1999
Catch 32689tonnesAverage 2000 - 2009
Catch 33108tonnes2006
Catch 29928tonnes2007
Catch 24427tonnes2008
Catch 24466tonnes2009
Catch 24483tonnes2010
Catch 21370tonnes2011
Catch 29177tonnes2012
Catch 30349tonnes2013
Catch 36842tonnes2014
Catch 41760tonnes2015

No new assessment was undertaken in 2016. Thus, stock status is based on the previous assessment undertaken in 2014, as well as indicators available in 2015. The SS3 model, used for stock status advice, indicated that MSY-based reference points were not exceeded for the Indian Ocean population as a whole. All other models applied to swordfish also indicated that the stock was above a biomass level that would produce MSY.
Assessment Model
Type:  Age-structured
Stock Synthesis III (SS3)
Scientific Advice

The most recent catches (41760 t in 2015) are 2360 t above the MSY level (39400 t). Hence catches in 2017 should be reduced to less than MSY (39400 t). As the updated stock assessment is scheduled in 2017, more concrete advice after 2018 should be developed next year.
Management unit: Yes
Source of information
IOTC–WPB14 2016. Report of the 14thSession of the IOTC Working Party on Billfish. Victoria, Seychelles, 2016. IOTC–2016–WPB14–R[E]: 94 pp.  Click to open
Swordfish supporting information for the 14th Session of the IOTC Working Party on Billfish. 2016.  Click to open
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