Report: State of Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna stocks getting worse

Published on
February 26, 2016

The state of Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna stocks is taking a turn for the worse according to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s (ISSF) latest Status of the Stocks report.

The report, which combines Regional Fisheries Management Organizations’ (RFMOs) scientific records conducted on a variety of major tuna stocks into one master document, utilizes a color system to rate a given stock’s health and environmental impact. The most striking difference between this report and the report from November 2015 was observed with Indian Ocean yellowfin stocks.

“The most notable update…is that the Indian Ocean yellowfin stock assessment indicates a decline in status,” said ISSF.

“The stock is estimated to be overfished and overfishing is occurring due to an increase in catch levels in recent years,” the report continued.

An overall 19 percent decline in catch for Indian Ocean yellowfin has been observed since 2004, when the stock set a record high haul of 530,000 metric tons. However, catch seems to be increasing for the stock again, particularly with purse seine and other fisheries.

Worldwide, there are 23 major commercial tuna species stocks including six albacore, four bigeye, four bluefin, five skipjack and four yellowfin. ISSF reviews these stocks for its Status of the Stocks report. Catch of the major tuna stocks increased by 4 percent in 2014, amassing 5 million metric tons. Of that tonnage, 57 percent was skipjack tuna, 27 percent was yellowfin, 9 percent went to bigeye and 6 percent to albacore.

According to the report, 48 percent of the world’s tuna stocks are abundant and healthy, 39 percent are overfished and 13 percent rank somewhere in between.

Access the report in full here:

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