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6. Global tuna purse-seine fishing capacity

The analyses presented in this paper provide estimates of fishing capacity for the tuna purse-seine fisheries of the EPO, WCPO, Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean.

Estimated total purse-seine catch, fishing capacity and excess capacity in the four regional fisheries for skipjack and for yellowfin and bigeye combined are provided in Figures 6.1-6.4 and Table 6.1. In examining these figures, it should be borne in mind that different analyses were applied in different regions due to data considerations and the fact that the estimates for the Indian and Atlantic Oceans are extreme lower-bound estimates of capacity. From the estimated global purse-seine fishing capacity for skipjack it appears that fishing capacity peaked in 1999, declined in 2000 and 2001 and then returned to 2000 levels in 2002. Excess capacity followed a similar pattern, with a significant increase in 1999, followed by declines in 2000 and 2001 of more than 50 percent and then a small increase in 2002. Excess capacity, as a percentage of the catch, also peaked in 1999, and from then until 2002 it was in continuous decline.

TABLE 6.1
Observed global purse-seine catch and estimated purse-seine fishing capacity by ocean area


1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

Eastern Pacific Ocean

Skipjack


Observed catch

139 229

256 957

197 612

134 017

155 628

Fishing capacity

292 501

404 862

279 079

206 843

227 9 079

Excess capacity

153 272 (110)

147 905 (58)

81 467 (41)

72 826 (54)

70 351 (45)

Yellowfin and bigeye


Observed catch

300 536

327 989

346 046

405 707

428 063

Fishing capacity

589 973

497 798

498 587

635 498

670 269

Excess capacity

289 437 (96)

169 809 (52)

152 541 (44)

229 791 (57)

242 206 (57)

Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Skipjack


Observed catch

947 149

794 606

869 547

842 287

962 233

Fishing capacity

1 285 674

1 328 337

1 185 505

1 037 121

1 226 691

Excess capacity

338 525 (36)

533 731 (67)

315 958 (36)

194 834 (23)

264 458 (27)

Yellowfin and bigeye


Observed catch

291 240

258 642

241 314

262 725

197 871

Fishing capacity

359 879

385 844

306 977

320 610

239 510

Excess capacity

68 639 (24)

127 202 (49)

65 663 (27)

57 885 (22)

41 639 (21)

Atlantic Ocean

Skipjack


Observed catch

56 438

76 852

64 625

60 891

47 900

Fishing capacity

83 116

76 852

76 852

83 116

76 852

Excess capacity

26 678 (47)

0 (0)

12 227 (19)

22 225 (36)

28 952 (60)

Yellowfin and bigeye


Observed catch

85 960

73 834

77 799

91 099

88 324

Fishing capacity

95 448

89 639

89 639

95 448

89 639

Excess capacity

9 488 (11)

15 805 (21)

11 840 (15)

4 349 (5)

1 315 (1)

Indian Ocean

Skipjack


Observed catch

132 073

168 950

170 793

156 929

212 173

Fishing capacity

212 248

212 369

211 624

209 919

212 173

Excess capacity

80 175 (61)

43 419 (26)

40 831 (24)

52 990 (34)

0 (0)

Yellowfin and bigeye


Observed catch

114138

155 766

156 236

133 921

157 130

Fishing capacity

192 091

189 232

181 955

181 955

178 315

Excess capacity

77 953 (68)

33 466 (21)

25 719 (16)

48 034 (36)

21 185 (13)

All Oceans

Skipjack


Observed catch

1 274 889

1 297 365

1 302 577

1 194 124

1 377 934

Fishing capacity

1 873 539

2 022 420

1 753 060

1 536 999

1 741 695

Excess capacity

598 650 (47)

725 055 (56)

450 483 (35)

342 875 (29)

363 761 (26)

Yellowfin and bigeye


Observed catch

791 874

816 231

821 395

893 452

821 3958

Fishing capacity

1 237 391

1 162 513

1 077 158

1 162 5131

1 177 733

Excess capacity

445 517 (56)

346 282 (42)

255 763 (31)

340 059 (38)

306 345 (35)

Note: Figures in brackets provide excess capacity as a percentage of observed catch.

It appears that global purse-seine fishing capacity for yellowfin and bigeye was on a downward trend between 1998 and 2000, even though observed catch levels were slowly increasing. In 2001 global purse-seine fishing capacity for yellowfin and bigeye, returned to 1998 levels and then declined again in 2002. Excess fishing capacity decreased by more than 40 percent between 1998 and 2000, and its level in 2001 was similar to that in 1999. In 2002 excess capacity was less than in 1998, 1999 and 2001, but greater than in 2000.

As stated previously, excess fishing capacity is a result of both technical inefficiency (or skipper skill) and under-utilisation of variable inputs. In other words, the catches can be increased either through an increase in the efficiency of purse-seine vessels or through an increase in the utilisation of variable inputs, such as increases in the numbers of days spent fishing and searching. In the analysis of the EPO and WCPO purse-seine fisheries, fishing capacity, purged for TE, was also estimated. In other words, it was assumed that TE (or skipper skill) remained constant and that fishing capacity could be increased only by increasing the levels of variable inputs employed. In both analyses under this assumption, there was a significant reduction in the estimated level of fishing capacity. For the EPO the estimated average excess capacity level, purged for TE, measured against observed catches for skipjack and for yellowfin and bigeye combined during 1998-2002 were around half the levels of the estimated excess capacity measured against observed catches. For the WCPO, average excess capacity level, purged for TE, measured against observed catches for skipjack and for yellowfin and bigeye combined during 1998-2002 were around 60 percent less than the levels of the estimated excess capacity measured against observed catches. These results indicate that increases in TE (or increases in skipper skill) of inefficient vessels are required if capacity output levels are to be fully achieved.

FIGURE 6.4
Yellowfin and bigeye in the global purse-seine fishery - Observed catch, fishing capacity and fishing capacity purged for technical efficiency

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