Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Frigate tuna - Indian Ocean
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
Stock status report 2021
Frigate tuna - Indian Ocean
Fact Sheet Citation  
Frigate tuna Indian Ocean
Owned byIndian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) – More
Related observationsLocate in inventorydisplay tree map
FAO Names: en - Frigate tuna, fr - Auxide, es - Melva

Fishery Indicators
Production: Catch
Geographic extent of Frigate tuna - Indian Ocean
Main Descriptors
Considered a single stock: Yes        Management unit: Yes
Reference year: 2019
Biological State and Trend
State & Trend Descriptors
Exploitation rateNot assessed/Uncertain (F2019/FMSY (80% CI) = unknown)Uncertain/Not assessed
Abundance levelNot assessed/Uncertain (B2019/BMSY (80% CI) = unknown)Uncertain/Not assessed
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

No information is available on the stock structure of frigate tuna 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 3197tonnesAverage 1950 - 1959
Catch 5676tonnesAverage 1960 - 1969
Catch 10428tonnesAverage 1970 - 1979
Catch 22411tonnesAverage 1980 - 1989
Catch 44709tonnesAverage 1990 - 1999
Catch 76461tonnesAverage 2000 - 2009
Catch 102095tonnesAverage 2010 - 2019
Catch 105143tonnes2011
Catch 102548tonnes2012
Catch 106388tonnes2013
Catch 111132tonnes2014
Catch 97651tonnes2015
Catch 102281tonnes2016
Catch 96795tonnes2017
Catch 91282tonnes2018
Catch 100851tonnes2019
Catch 98875tonnes2020
Level of 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 tuna are very uncertain given the high percentage of the catches that had to be estimated due to a range of reporting issue. 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.
Assessment Model
Type:  Biomass-aggregated
Catch MSY
Scientific Advice

For assessed species of neritic tunas in the 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 frigate 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 (101,260 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 frigate 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
Source of information
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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