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ISSF 2018-17: A Snapshot of the Large-Scale Tropical Tuna Purse Seine Fishing Fleets as of June 2018*

Date added June 28, 2018
Downloaded 289 times
Category Technical and Meeting Reports, Technical Reports
Tags Bigeye Tuna, Capacity Management, Justel-Rubio, Purse Seine, Recio, Restrepo, RFMOs, Skipjack, Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna
Author(s) Ana Justel-Rubio, Lorenia Recio, and Victor Restrepo


Purse seine vessels account for over 60% 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 Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs).

After accounting for possible duplicate entries, we calculate that as of June 2018 there are at least 1,871 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 673 such vessels with a combined fishing capacity of over 860,000 m3. The number of these vessels decreased by about 2% during the past year.

Of those 673 large scale purse seine vessels fishing for tropical tunas, 507 are registered on the ISSF ProActive Vessel Register (PVR), which represent 75% in number and 82% in fish hold volume (FHV). About 25% of these 673 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.