Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

EspañolFrançais
Albacore - Mediterranean Sea
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
Stock status report 2011
Albacore - Mediterranean Sea
Fact Sheet Citation  
Mediterranean albacore
Owned byInternational Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) – More
Related observationsLocate in inventorydisplay tree map
 
Species:
FAO Names: en - Albacore, fr - Germon, es - Atún blanco, ru - Тунец длинноперый
Geographic extent of Albacore - Mediterranean Sea
Main Descriptors
Considered a single stock: Yes        Spatial Scale: Regional
Management unit: Yes        Reference year: 2010
 
 
Biological State and Trend
State & Trend Descriptors
PartnerFIRMS
Exploitation rateF2009/FMSY <=1Uncertain/Not assessedGray
Abundance levelB2009/BMSY= Not estimatedUncertain/Not assessed


History
 

The status of the Mediterranean albacore stock is based on the 2011 assessment using available data up to 2010. Complete information is found in the Report of the 2011 ICCAT Albacore Stock Assessment Session.
Habitat and Biology
Climatic zone: Temperate.   Horizontal distribution: Oceanic.   Vertical distribution: Pelagic.  


Albacore is a temperate tuna widely distributed throughout the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. On the basis of the biological information available for assessment purposes, the existence of three stocks is assumed: northern and southern Atlantic stocks (separated at 5ºN) and Mediterranean stock. However, some studies support the hypothesis that various sub populations of albacore exist in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. Likewise, there is likely intermingling of Indian Ocean and South Atlantic immature albacore which needs further research.

Scientific studies on albacore stocks, in the North Atlantic, North Pacific and the Mediterranean, suggest that environmental variability may have a serious potential impact on albacore stocks, affecting fisheries by changing the fishing grounds, as well as productivity levels and potential MSY of the stocks. Those unexplored aspects might explain recently observed changes in fisheries, such as the lack of availability of the resource in the Bay of Biscay in recent years, or the apparent decline in the estimated recruitment which are demanding focussed research.

The expected life-span for albacore is around 15 years. While albacore is a temperate species, spawning occurs in tropical waters. In the Mediterranean, there is a need to integrate different available studies so as to better characterize growth of Mediterranean albacore. Besides some additional recent studies on maturity, in general, there is poor knowledge about Mediterranean albacore biology and ecology.

More information on albacore biology and ecology is published in the ICCAT Manual.
Geographical Distribution
Jurisdictional distribution: Highly migratory


Albacore is a temperate tuna widely distributed throughout the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Regional

Geo References
Resource Structure
Considered a single stock: Yes


On the basis of the biological information available for assessment purposes, the existence of three stocks is assumed: northern and southern Atlantic stocks (separated at 5ºN) and Mediterranean stock (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Geographic distribution of albacore accumulated catch by major gears and decade (1960-2009). Baitboat and troll catches are aggregated by 5ºx5º degrees in the Bay of Biscay thus the spatial representation of catch is concentrated on this area. (See Figure 2 for total catch values by gear). The symbols for the 1950s information (top left) are scaled to the maximum catch observed during the 1950s, whereas the remaining plots are scaled to the maximum catch observed from 1960 to 2009.
Exploitation
 

Description of fisheries

Mediterranean
The catch series was revisited and compared to additional sources of information. This allowed identifying some catches that were not included in the ICCAT database, which requires further revisions. In 2010, the reported landings were 2,123 t, a 47% decrease from 4,021 t taken in 2009 (Table 1 ; Figure 2). The majority of the catch came from longline fisheries. EU-Italy is the main producer of Mediterranean albacore and in 2010 the Italian catch was 1,109 t, a 60% reduction from its 2009 catch.

Figure 2: Total albacore catches reported to ICCAT (Task I) by gear for the Mediterranean stock.
Assessment
 

In 2011, the first stock assessment for Mediterranean albacore was conducted, using data up until 2010. The methods used were adapted to the “data poor” category of this stock. The more data-demanding methods applied, such as a production model, gave unrealistic results.

Some CPUE series for Mediterranean fisheries became available (Figure 3). However, these series were discontinuous and highly variable, with no clear trend over the last couple of decades. Since they are mostly very short, and there is little overlap between time series, they may or may not accurately characterize biomass dynamics in Mediterranean albacore.

The results of the 2011 assessment, based on the limited information available and in simple analyses, point to a relatively stable pattern for albacore biomass in the recent past. Recent fishing mortality levels appear to have been reduced from those of the early 2000s, which were likely in excess of FMSY, and might now be at about or lower that level (Figure 4).


Figure 3: Mediterranean albacore. Set of standardized and nominal CPUEs used in the assessment of the Mediterranean albacore stock. The “Greek by-catch” indicates the probability of albacore by-catch in the swordfish fishery, practically null in some years. This series is the only one that is not included in the base case Bayesian production model.
Figure 4: Mediterranean albacore. Estimates of equilibrium fishing mortality rate relative to M (as a proxy for FMSY) based on length-converted catch curve analysis. The central solid line represents an M assumption of 0.3 with patterns resulting from an assumed M of 0.4 (lower dashed) and 0.2 (upper dashed) also depicted.
Assessment Model


Overall Assessment Results
Projection

Outlook


Due to the fact that the management advice for the Mediterranean stock was based on catch curve analysis and due to the limited quantitative information available to the SCRS, projections for this stock were not conducted. As a result, future stock status in response to management actions could not be simulated. The outlook for this stock is thus unknown.


Management
Management unit: Yes


Effects of current regulations

There are no ICCAT regulations directly aimed at managing the Mediterranean albacore stock.


Management Advice

The available information on Mediterranean albacore stock status indicates a relatively stable pattern for albacore biomass over the recent past. Unfortunately, very little quantitative information is available to SCRS for use in conducting a robust quantitative characterization on biomass status relative to Convention Objectives. While additional data to address this issue might exist at CPC levels, our ability to provide quantitative management advice will be seriously impeded until such data become available either through recovery of historical data or institution of adequate fishery monitoring data collection programs. Recent fishing mortality levels appear to have been reduced from those of the early 2000s, which were likely in excess of FMSY, and might now be at about or lower than that level. However, there is considerable uncertainty about this and for this reason, the Commission should institute management measures designed to limit increases in catch and effort directed at Mediterranean albacore.




MEDITERRANEAN ALBACORE SUMMARY

 

 

 

Current (2010) Yield

2,123 t

Maximum Sustainable Yield

Unknown

Replacement Yield (2009)

Not estimated

SSB2009/SSBMSY

Not estimated

Relative Fishing Mortality

 

F2009/FMSY

<=1 1

Management measures in effect

None

 

 

1 Estimated with length converted catch curve analysis, taking M as a proxy for FMSY.
Source of information
 
Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) . “Albacore, Executive Summary.” Madrid, Spain 3-7 October 2011. ICCAT Click to openhttp://www.iccat.int/Documents/SCRS/ExecSum/ALB_EN.pdf
powered by FIGIS  © FAO, 2019
Powered by FIGIS
crawl