Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Indo-Pacific sailfish - Indian Ocean
Fact Sheet Title  Fact Sheet
Stock status report 2021
Indo-Pacific sailfish - Indian Ocean
Fact Sheet Citation  
Indo-Pacific Sailfish Indian Ocean
Owned byIndian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) – ownership
ident Blockident Blockdisplay tree map
Species List:
Species Ref: en - Indo-Pacific sailfish, fr - Voilier indo-pacifique, es - Pez vela del Indo-Pacífico, ru - Парусник индо-тихоокеанский

Fishery Indicators
Production: Catch
ident Block Indo-Pacific sailfish - Indian Ocean
Aq Res
Biological Stock: Yes        Management unit: Yes
Reference year: 2017
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State TrendSubject to overfishing (F2017/FMSY (80% CI) = 1.22 (1 – 2.22))High fishing mortality
Aq Res State TrendNot overfished (B2017/BMSY (80% CI) = 1.14 (0.63 – 1.39)Intermediate abundance
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

The stock structure of Indo-Pacific sailfish in the Indian Ocean is uncertain: apparently there are local reproductively isolated stocks. At least one stock was reported in the Persian Gulf with no or very little intermixing with open Indian Ocean stocks. However outside of the Gulf no stock differentiation has been determined; thus for the purposes of assessment, one pan-ocean stock is assumed. However, spatial heterogeneity in stock indicators (catch– per–unit–effort trends) for other billfish species indicates that there is potential for localised depletion. 
Fishery Indicators
TypeMeasureValueUnitTime period
ProductionCatch 633tonnesAverage 1950 - 1959
Catch 1197tonnesAverage 1960 - 1969
Catch 1348tonnesAverage 1970 - 1979
Catch 3826tonnesAverage 1980 - 1989
Catch 11195tonnesAverage 1990 - 1999
Catch 17940tonnesAverage 2000 - 2009
Catch 27834tonnesAverage 2010 - 2019
Catch 23171tonnes2011
Catch 23697tonnes2012
Catch 27137tonnes2013
Catch 27160tonnes2014
Catch 28339tonnes2015
Catch 26919tonnes2016
Catch 32213tonnes2017
Catch 33825tonnes2018
Catch 29635tonnes2019
Catch 26887tonnes2020
Bio Assess
Uncertainty: High

No new stock assessment for Indo-Pacific sailfish was carried out in 2021, thus, the stock status is determined on the basis of the 2019 assessment using the C-MSY model. The data poor stock assessment techniques indicated that F was above FMSY (F/FMSY=1.22) and B is above BMSY (B/BMSY=1.14). Another alternative model using the Stock Reduction Analysis (SRA) techniques produced similar results. The stock appears to show a continued increase in catches which is a cause of concern (Fig. 1), indicating that fishing mortality levels may be becoming too high (Fig. 2). However, both assessment models rely on catch data only, and the catch series is highly uncertain. In addition, aspects of the biology, productivity and fisheries for this species, combined with the data poor status on which to base a more formal assessment, are also a cause for concern. On the weight-of-evidence available in 2019, the stock status cannot be assessed and is determined to be uncertain.
Assess Models
Type:  Biomass-aggregated
Catch MSY
Sci Advice

The catch limits as stipulated in Resolution 18/05 have been exceeded. The Commission should provide mechanisms to ensure that catch limits are not exceeded by all concerned fisheries. Research emphasis on further developing possible CPUE indicators from gillnet fisheries, and further exploration of stock assessment approaches for data poor fisheries are warranted. Given the limited data being reported for coastal gillnet fisheries, and the importance of sports fisheries for this species, efforts must be made to rectify these information gaps. The lack of catch records in the Persian Gulf should also be examined to evaluate the degree of localised depletion in Indian Ocean coastal areas.
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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