Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Bullet tuna - Indian Ocean
Fact Sheet Title  Fact Sheet
Stock status report 2021
Bullet tuna - Indian Ocean
Fact Sheet Citation  
Bullet tuna Indian Ocean
Owned byIndian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) – ownership
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Species List:
Species Ref: en - Bullet tuna, fr - Bonitou, es - Melva(=Melvera)

Fishery Indicators
Production: Catch
ident Block Bullet tuna - Indian Ocean
Aq Res
Biological Stock: Yes        Management unit: Yes
Reference year: 2019
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State TrendNot assessed/Uncertain (F2019/FMSY (80% CI) = unknown)Uncertain/Not assessed
Aq Res State TrendNot assessed/Uncertain (B2019/BMSY (80% CI) = unknown)Uncertain/Not assessed
Habitat Bio
Climatic Zone: Temperate; Tropical.   Horizontal Dist: Oceanic.   Vertical Dist: Pelagic.  

Geo Dist
Geo Dist: Highly migratory

Geo Dist
Geo Dist
Aq Res Struct
Biological Stock: Yes

No information is available on the stock structure in Indian Ocean. The IOTC coordinated Stock Structure Project, which commenced in early-2015, aims to supplement gaps in the existing knowledge on biological data, and in particular provide an insight on whether neritic tuna and tuna like species should be considered as a single Indian Ocean stock.
Fishery Indicators
TypeMeasureValueUnitTime period
ProductionCatch 159tonnesAverage 1950 - 1959
Catch 360tonnesAverage 1960 - 1969
Catch 693tonnesAverage 1970 - 1979
Catch 1390tonnesAverage 1980 - 1989
Catch 3058tonnesAverage 1990 - 1999
Catch 4545tonnesAverage 2000 - 2009
Catch 13547tonnesAverage 2010 - 2019
Catch 8303tonnes2011
Catch 8989tonnes2012
Catch 8717tonnes2013
Catch 7999tonnes2014
Catch 10322tonnes2015
Catch 11156tonnes2016
Catch 15124tonnes2017
Catch 32015tonnes2018
Catch 22903tonnes2019
Catch 32251tonnes2020
Bio Assess
Uncertainty: High

A new assessment was carried out in 2021 using the data-limited techniques (CMSY and LB-SPR), however the catch data for frigate bullet tuna are very uncertain given the high percentage of the catches that had to be estimated due to a range of reporting issues. Due to a lack of fishery data for several gears, only preliminary stock status indicators can be used. Stock status in relation to the Commission’s BMSY and FMSY reference points remains unknown.
Assess Models
Type:  Biomass-aggregated
Catch MSY
Sci Advice

For assessed species of neritic tunas in Indian Ocean (longtail tuna, kawakawa and narrow-barred Spanish mackerel), the MSY was estimated to have been reached between 2009 and 2011 and both FMSY and BMSY were breached thereafter. Therefore, in the absence of a stock assessment of bullet tuna a limit to the catches should be considered by the Commission, by ensuring that future catches do not exceed the average catches estimated between 2009 and 2011 (8,547 t). The reference period (2009-2011) was chosen based on the most recent assessments of those neritic species in the Indian Ocean for which an assessment is available under the assumption that also for bullet tuna MSY was reached between 2009 and 2011. This catch advice should be maintained until an assessment of bullet tuna is available. Considering that MSY-based reference points for assessed species can change over time, the stock should be closely monitored. Mechanisms need to be developed by the Commission to improve current statistics by encouraging CPCs to comply with their recording and reporting requirements, so as to better inform scientific advice.
Management unit: Yes
IOTC–SC23 2020. Report of the 23rd Session of the IOTC Scientific Committee. Seychelles, 7 – 11 December 2020. IOTC–2020–SC23–R[E]: 211pp.  Click to open
All references to figures, tables and bibliography in the text are found within the source of information.
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