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ISSF 2019-09: A Snapshot of the Large-Scale Tropical Tuna Purse Seine Fishing Fleets as of June 2019*

Date Added: July 3, 2019
Downloaded: 257 times
Tags: Capacity Management, Justel-Rubio, Purse Seine, Recio, RFMOs, Tuna
Authors: Justel-Rubio, Recio
Language: English
report_type: Technical Report


Purse seine vessels account for about 65% of the world’s tuna catch. However, the number of purse seiners operating in the various oceans is not available from a single source.

In this paper we estimate the number and fishing capacity of tuna purse seiners based primarily on information available from the five tuna Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs). After accounting for possible duplicate entries, we calculate that as of June 2019 there are at least 1,843 purse seiners fishing for tunas worldwide. This is surely an underestimate because many small-scale purse seiners or purse seiners operating in only one EEZ do not have to be listed on RFMO records of authorized fishing vessels.

Focusing on large-scale purse seiners (defined here as having 335 m3 fish hold volume or greater) that target tropical tunas (skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye), we calculate there are 686 such vessels with a combined fishing capacity of over 869,000 m3. The number of these vessels increased by about 2% during the past year.

Of those 686 large scale purse seine vessels fishing for tropical tunas, 515 are registered on the ISSF Pro Active Vessel Register (PVR), which represent 75% in number and 83% in fish hold volume (FHV). About 18% of these 686 large-scale vessels are authorized to fish in more than one RFMO, which should be taken into account in any efforts to manage fishing capacity at a regional level.