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FAO Statistical Area 71

by Purwito Martosubroto *


This FAO Statistical Area (Figure B12.1) covers 33.9million km2. It extends from the seas of the Southeast Asian countries down to north and east Australia and further eastwards to some of the smaller island countries of the South Pacific (as discussed in the regional review of the South Pacific Islands). The area is dominated by a large continental shelf area (6.6 million km2), which is bordered in the north by Southeast Asian countries and in the south-east by Indonesia and Australia. The majority of this shelf area lies within the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of Southeast Asian countries, and this is reflected in the major contribution these countries make to the total production of Area 71. The shelf areas are rich in demersal resources, including penaeid shrimps, and small pelagic resources, while the oceanic waters of the Pacific have rich tuna resources.

Figure B12.1 - The Western Central Pacific (Area 71)

Figure B12.1

Total catches of the region have increased steadily since 1950, to reach more than 10 million tonnes in 2002, with the majority being consumed locally by the large population in bordering countries. Shrimp and tuna are the main export commodities.

Despite the rapid and continued development of fisheries in this region, knowledge of the status of resources is insufficient. Many management decisions have been made on an ad hoc basis and only in some cases have management measures been based on scientific advice and analyses. Gear and area restrictions (zoning according to gear) are common measures, and limited-entry schemes have started to be used in Indonesia and Malaysia. In the southern part of the region, scientific advice has been an integral part of the management process in most of the Australian fisheries for some time.

Figure B12.2 - Annual nominal catches ('000 t) by ISSCAAP species groups in the Western Central Pacific (Area 71)

Figure B12.2

Source FAO

The offshore waters of the Western Central Pacific are rich in tuna resources. Thirteen small island states depend strongly on these resources, however total catch of the small island group account for only 2.3 percent of total catch of the region. By and large the small island states developed fishing arrangement with distant-water fishing nations through licensing scheme under the umbrella of Fisheries Forum Agency (FFA). Distant water fleets fishing in this region include Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan Province of China, and the United States. Lately, China has also sent their distant water fishing fleets to this area, but their catches are less than those of the other countries mentioned above. In total, catches by distant-water fishing nations contribute to 9.1 percent of the total production of the Western Central Pacific.

Figure B12.3 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 36, Western Central Pacific (Area 71)

Figure B12.3

Source FAO

Figure B12.4 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 35, Western Central Pacific (Area 71)

Figure B12.4

Source FAO

Figure B12.5 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 33, Western Central Pacific (Area 71)

Figure B12.5

Source FAO


The catches increased steadily from 530 000t in 1950 to 10.5 million tonnes in 2002 (Figure B12.2 and Table D 12). The five countries in Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and VietNam contributed more than 87 percent of the total in 2002. These are largely tropical multispecies fisheries dominated by the marine fishes not identified (ISSCAP group 39) whose contribution to the total exceeded 40 percent during the 1960s but has declined irregularly afterwards to about 24 percent of the total in 2002. However, production of this group has continuously increased and it is still alarmingly high with 2.6 million tonnes of fish reported under this category in 2002, this amount ranks higher than the reported catches of the second top producer country in the area - Thailand with 1.9million tonnes of production in 2002. The high proportion of unidentified fish in total production inevitably leads to considerable underestimate of the real production of individual species. Tunas, bonitos and billfishes (ISSCAAP group 36) have been the second most important group since the early 1980s and contributed around 22 percent to the 2002 total. The main catches were skipjack and yellowfin tuna (Figure B12.3).

Tunas and billfishes form an important export commodity in many countries in the region, in addition to shrimp. Indonesia and the Philippines are the main tuna fishing countries in the Western Central Pacific. The next important groups are the miscellaneous pelagic fishes, i.e. the jack, scads, mackerels (ISSCAAP group 37), followed by the herring, sardine, anchovies (ISSCAAP group 35). Among those, Stolephorus spp. and Sardinella gibbosa demonstrated no trend in the last seven years (Figure B12.4). Other important groups are those of coastal fishes including croackers (Scianidae), slipmouth (Leiognathidae) and catfish (Ariidae). Members of the group showed increasing trend of catch up to the late 1990s and a tendency to stabilize production during the last five years(Figure B12.5).

Contribution of the shrimp group was only fivepercent to the total catches, however, due to their high value, the group is one of the main export commodities. Large part of the demersal and small pelagic groups are consumed locally by the large population of Southeast Asia.

High seas

Catches from the distant-water fleets fishing in this region had been declining from a maximum of 1 million tonnes in 1994 down to 800 000t in 1997, but they increased again to almost 1 million tonnes in 1998 before declining to 860 000t in 2002 (Figure B12.6). The catches of Japan peaked at 350 000t in 1986 and declined steeply to about 210 000t in 1997, then fluctuated and increased to 225 000t in 2002. The catch of Taiwan Province of China, shows a steep increase in the 1980s and early 1990s and reached 380 000t in 2002. The catch of the Republic of Korea showed a steady increase until 1991 to a peak of 256 000t and fluctuating after to reach 225 000t in 2002. Another important contribution was by the United States fleets whose catch showed fluctuation around 150 000t, then a sharp increase to 188 000t in 1999 before finally declining to 114 000t in 2002. The US catch ranked fourth after the three main Asian distant-water fishing fleets. The catch of the former USSR had been relatively low, the highest was about 17 000t in 1987 prior to the collapse of the centralized government. China started deploying its fleet to fish in the region in 1988, the catch has been relatively low and reached the highest level of 14 000t in 1994.


Some of the coastal resources, especially shrimp, such as those in the coastal waters surrounding the Gulf of Thailand and some parts of the national waters of Indonesia (north coast of Java) and the Philippines (the Manila Bay) are heavily exploited. The catches were dominated by penaeid shrimp of the genera, Penaeus and Metapenaeus (Figure B12.7). The increased fishing pressure has been associated with the increasing number of fishermen and the increased use of efficient gears. Development of trawl fishing in the Gulf of Thailand has resulted in the overexploitation of demersal resources (ICLARM, 2001; FISHCODE, 2001). Recent study indicates that current catch per unit effort of trawl is between 1/10 to 1/15 of the CPUE when trawl fishing started in early 1960s.

In the southern part of the region there are important shrimp fisheries, in the south of Irian Jaya exploited by Indonesia and by Australia off its northern territory. Shrimp fisheries in the Arafura Sea exploits various species of penaeid shrimp but the major species includes banana shrimp (Penaeus merguiensis) and various species of the genus Metapenaeus, particularly M. endeavour and M. ensis. The fisheries were started by joint-venture enterprises of Indonesian fishing companies and Japanese companies in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They developed quickly and by now the joint venture companies have become national companies. The fisheries contributed about 10000 to 15 000t per year. The recent development of trawl fishing using small vessels of 20–30 GT based in the Aru island contributed to the decline of the shrimp stock in the western part of the Arafura Sea.

Figure B12.6 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of distant countries fleets, Western Central Pacific (Area 71)

Figure B12.6

Source FAO

Figure B12.7 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 45, Western Central Pacific (Area 71)

Figure B12.7

Source FAO

The shrimp fisheries in the northern territory of Australia exploits banana shrimp (P.merguiensis ), white shrimp (P. indicus ), brown tiger (P. esculentus ), grooved tiger (P.semisulcatus ), giant tiger (P. monodon ), blue endeavour (M. endeavour ), red endeavour (M.ensis ), western king (P. latisulcatus ), and red spot king (P. longistylus ). Recent study indicates that tiger prawn is biologically overfished, as does also the brown and grooved tiger prawn (Caton, 2000). Another important fishery in this region is the prawn and rock lobster fishery in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea. The brown tiger and blue endeavour are the main target species of trawling, while the rock lobster (Panulirus ornatus) are the target of spear fishing or direct collection through diving. The prawn fishery contributed A$21.8m, while lobster fishery A$5m both in 2000.

Fisheries Management

Various management measures have been operational in most countries to curb the ever increasing fishing pressure. The strength of the fishery management institutions is variable in the northern part of the area (Menasveta, 1997). Among the developing countries in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is relatively more advanced in the area of fisheries management having recently put great efforts in strengthening their monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) which has become well established in the region. Although there are many regional bodies dealing with fishery issues in the Western Central Pacific (WFC, SEAFDEC, ASEAN Fisheries WG, APEC Fisheries WG), none of them have the mandate for regional fisheries management. The FAO Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) has promoted various components of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Under the UN initiative, some countries in this region and those of the Eastern Central Pacific as well as some distant water fishing nations have engaged in various meetings to address issues relating to regional fisheries organization responsible for fisheries management. There has been four sessions of the Preparatory Conference (PrepCon) for the Establishment of the Commission of the Central Western Pacific Tuna Convention for which the fourth one was convened in Manila, 15–22 November 2002.

Common management measures in the northern region includes zoning by fishing gear, closed season, closed area and mesh size limit. Trawl ban is done by Indonesia for the western part of its region and the Philippines for their inshore area. It has been mandatory for shrimp trawling in the Arafura Sea to use bycatch reduction device (BRD) since 1982. Such kind of regulation has also been introduced by the authorities in the Northern Territory of Australia since April 2000 in addition to the use of turtle exclusion device (TED) (AFMA, 2002). A special forum has been established to address fisheries issues in Arafura Sea and Timor Sea where experts from Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste participated. The initiative was a response to commitments made during the WSSD in Johannesburg on capacity building.

The management of fisheries in Australia is well developed compared to those countries in the northern part of the Western Central Pacific. Few countries in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand) have recently received technical assistance to develop fishery management plans through FAO projects supported by Norway (FISHCODE or GCP/INT/648/NOR). Those include the sardine fisheries of the Bali Strait, the small pelagic fisheries of the west coast of Malaysia and the anchovy fisheries of the Gulf of Thailand. A similar workshop scheduled for 1–3 July 2003 in Indonesia aims at developing a management plan for Tomini Bay fisheries.


Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). 2002. AFMA Annual Reports 2000–2001., last accessed 10/02/03.

Caton, A. (ed). 2000 : Fishery Status Reports 2000–2001. Resources Assessments of Australian Commonwealth Fisheries. Bureau of Rural Sciences, Dep. of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: 252p.

FISHCODE. 2001. Report of the bio-economic modelling workshop and a policy dialogue meeting on the Thai demersal fisheries in the Gulf of Thailand, 31 May–9 June 2000. FI/GCP/INT/648/NOR: Field Report F.16 (En), Rome, FAO: 104p.

ICLARM. 2001. Sustainable Management of Coastal Fish Stocks in Asia. Final Report. ADB/RETA 5766: 34p.

Menasveta, D. 1997. Fisheries Management Frameworks of the Countries bordering the South China Sea. FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok. RAP Publ. 1997/33. 151p.

* FAO, Marine Resources Service, Fishery Resources Division

FAO Statistical Area 77

by Jorge Csirke and Merete Tandstad *


This Statistical Area located off the western coastline of the Americas covers a total surface of 48.90 million km2and has an estimated total shelf area of 0.81 million km2. It extends from 40°00'N and 40°30'N off northern California, USA, to 05°00'N off southern Panama and 25°00'S off South America farther offshore in the mid Pacific (Figure B13.1). Most of the continental shelf is narrow and fairly steep, with the bottom reaching extreme ocean depths very near to the coast. The continental shelf hardly extends more than 20 km from the coastline, except for some areas off San Francisco Bay, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the Gulf of Panama, where it widens to as much as 60 km. The bottom tends to be heterogeneous, with several areas suitable for trawling, although there is not much trawl fishing except for shrimps. Trawling for coastal demersals is limited, and deep-water trawling is almost non existent. There are a few small coastal islands off southern California and Panama, and other island groups in oceanic waters. These island chains, of which the largest one is Hawaii, also have very narrow continental shelves.

Figure B13.1 - The Eastern Central Pacific (Area 77)

Figure B13.1

The Area is influenced by two major surface current systems. In the north the California Current system that extends from northern California to Baja California (Parrish et al., 1983), and further south the great trans-Pacific equatorial surface current system, consisting of the westward flowing North and South Equatorial Currents and, in the region between them, the eastward flowing Equatorial Countercurrent (Bakun et al., 1999). The interaction between these currents, the topography and the differences in wind stress generate major upwellings along the coast of California, Baja California and the Gulf of Panama. Some smaller upwellings along the Central American coast and offshore in the Costa Rica Dome are also generated.

Figure B13.2 - Annual nominal catches ('000 t) by ISSCAAP species groups in the Eastern Central Pacific (Area 77)

Figure B13.2

Source FAO

The coastal upwelling, driven by equatorward winds blowing parallel to the cost is the most important source of coastal water nutrient enrichment in the northern, more temperate sub-tropical part of the area off the Californias, while the more tropical areas off Central America are enriched from more varying sources. Coastal upwelling driven by southeast trade winds and coastal runoffs are the most important sources of enrichment for biological productivity in the coastal equatorial zone, while towards the open ocean the Costa Rica Dome appears to be an important source of upwelling and nutrient enrichment (Wyrtky, 1964; Bakun et al., 1999).

The differences in climate, the interaction of complex wind and water circulation patterns and the varying enrichment processes strongly influence the distribution and abundance of fishery resources, and fishing activities in the area. Fishing for small and large pelagics is particularly important at or around the major upwelling areas, and fishing for shrimps and, to a lesser extent, for coastal demersals sustain major local fisheries in the more tropical areas off Mexico, Central America and Panama. Fishing for squids is also important in the richest areas off California and Mexico. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon is responsible for large interannual fluctuations in the conditions affecting marine populations in this area, and can cause natural perturbations that may take many years to dissipate (Bakun, 1993). Some if not most of the mid- to long-term fluctuations in annual catches of certain key species in the area seem to be associated with these large interannual changes in natural conditions.


Capture fish production from the eastern central Pacific area comes mostly from small and large pelagics, followed by squids, shrimps, coastal demersals and other fish species (Figure B13.2, Table D13). Pelagic fisheries are particularly important off southern California, Baja California, the Costa Rica Dome and the Gulf of Panama. Although shrimp catches are limited, their high unit value makes shrimp fishing the other major commercial fishery in the area, and the most important one in most of the coastal countries there.

Marine capture fisheries had a relatively early start in this area. Major fisheries developments mostly triggered by an emerging fish canning industry caused catches to increase rapidly already at the beginning of the twentieth century. Fairly high catches were obtained in the 1930s and early 1940s, with catch totals peaking at around 900 000t per year in the mid 1930s. Total catches then dropped sharply, to 690 000t in 1950 and to a record low of 320 000t in 1953. Most of this was caused by the bloom and collapse of the California pilchard (or sardine) (Sardinops caeruleus ) fisheries off the USA, which built up more or less steadily from less than 2 000t in 1915 to over 700 000t in 1936, to then decline to virtually zero by 1968 (Murphy, 1966; Gulland, 1970; Troadec, Clark and Gulland, 1980). Fishing for tunas also expanded steadily during the first half of the past century and by 1950 the total catch of tunas (mostly skipjack and yellowfin) was already 170 000t and remained at more or less stable until 1960 when further increases occurred.

After the low in 1953, total catches for the whole area had a period of sustained increase to peak at 1.9million tonnes in 1981. Since then total catches and catches by major species groups have fluctuated between a minimum of 1.2 million in 1983, 1984 and 1993 and maximum of over 2.0 million tonnes in 2002, the highest catches on record (Figure B13.2, Table D13).

As for the early 1900s, most of the year-to-year fluctuations in total production has been due to the changes in the abundance and overall production of small pelagics, although the strong 1983–84 “El Niño” caused a severe drop in total catches of both the small and larger pelagics, as well as some other species groups. The more recent 1997–98 El Niño also influenced catches in the area, and those of squids in particular.

From the total resource base point of view, the collapse of the California pilchard (sardine) fishery off California in the late 1940s was partly compensated by an increase in the abundance of Californian anchovy (Engraulis mordax) in the same general location, although no substantial fishery for this species developed until much later (MacCall, 1983). It was only by the 1970s that Mexico developed a major industrial fishery for California pilchard and Californian anchovy, which contributed to increase the total production of small pelagics in ISSCAAP Group 35 from the record low of 36 000t in 1952, to a peak of almost 900 000t in 1980 (Figure B13.3, Table D13). Total catch of small pelagics in this ISSCAAP Group then remained in the range of 400 000t to 525 000t during 1990–1999, to increase to a record high of 907 000t in 2002.

Most of these higher catches are due to the increase of California pilchard, which in 2002 peaked at 683 000t, the highest catch in half a century. The long term fluctuations in the abundance and resulting catches of California pilchard seem to be associated to long term changes in air and water temperature in the northern hemisphere and until the early 1990s the California pilchard followed the same trend as other co-generic species in the Pacific (Bakun, 1997, Csirke and Vasconcellos, this volume). However, it has also been noted that while the catches of the other two Sardinops species in the Pacific have declined continuously after peaking in 1985 and 1988, catches of California pilchard also declined until 1993 (to 273 000t) to then increase to the high 683 000t in 2002 in this area.

Californian anchovy yielded fairly high catches throughout the 1970s and 1980s, with a peak catch of 424 000t in 1981 (Figure B13.3). Other important small pelagics of ISSCAAP Group 35 in this area are the Pacific anchoveta (Cetengraulis mysticetus) and the Pacific thread herring (Opisthonema libertate ), caught mostly off Panama. Catches of these two species are also highly variable. The maximum recorded catch of Pacific anchoveta was 241 000t in 1985. Since then catches have been lower and highly variable, fluctuating between the record lows of 39 000t in 1988 and 27 000t in 1999 and the high catches of 121 000t in 1989, 108 000t in 1998 and 160 000t in 2002. The catch of Pacific thread herring have been varying between 21 000t and 64 000t in the last decade (Table D13).

The main mid-size pelagic species in this area are the chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus) and the Pacific jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus) in the miscellaneous pelagic fishes ISSCAAP Group 37. These two resources have sustained important fisheries off the USA and Mexico since the beginning of the twentieth century, with chub mackerel yielding peak catches of 67 000t in 1935 and Pacific jack mackerel starting later and peaking at 66 000t in 1952 (Leet et al., 2001). Since then, catches of both species have been highly variable. Catches of Pacific jack mackerel have a clear decreasing trend with only 1 000t in 2002, while catches of chub mackerel have an overall increasing trend with more prolonged periods of high and low catches, with only 14 000t in 2002 after peaking at 78 000t in 1999 (Figure B13.4). The severe decline in catches of Pacific jack mackerel seems to be due mostly to lack of commercial interest in this species.

Tunas and other large pelagics in ISSCAAP Group 36 are important, have an extended distribution and yield high catches in the area. Catches of tunas also started to increase already in the early 1900s, long before FAO started to gather global fish catch statistics and had a sustained and faster increase from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s. Total catches then tended to level off after peaking at 482 000t in 1976. Total tuna catch declined and increased again in 1983 and 1984, probably as a result of the strong ElNiño 1982–83, to reach a new high at 500 000t in 1986 to then level off at a lower catches. Catches started to increase again in 2001 reaching a new record high of 556 000t in 2002 (Figure B13.5). The main species of tuna caught in this area are the yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares ), bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus ), skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) and albacore (Thunnus alalunga ). The main nations fishing for tunas in the area are Mexico and USA, followed by Venezuela, Japan, Rep. of Korea, Spain and other Asian countries. Other large pelagics in this ISSCAAP Group being exploited in this area are the swordfish (Xiphias gladius ), the striped, black and blue swordfish (Tetrapturus audax, Makaira indica and M. mazara) and the Pacific sierra (Scomberomorus sierra) that all together yield 30 to 40t per year.

Figure B13.3 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 35, Eastern Central Pacific (Area 77)

Figure B13.3

Source FAO

Figure B13.4 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 37, Eastern Central Pacific (Area 77)

Figure B13.4

Source FAO

Shrimps and prawns sustain particularly valuable and important fisheries throughout the area. Total shrimp (ISSCAAP Group 45) catches were already at 50 000t per year by 1950, when FAO catch records started. Then reached a maximum of 86 000t in 1961, 1962 and 1963, to decline and remain fluctuating in the 45000 to 80 000t range, with a recent decline from 73 000t in 1995–1997 to 51 000t in 2002. It is noteworthy, however, that these catches represent the accumulated catches of a large number of stocks and more than 15 species (mostly from the genus Penaeus but also Xiphopenaeus, Trachypenaeus, Heterocarpus, Pandalus, Pandalopsis and others) that individually tend to be more variable and there are indications that some species have fluctuated more widely, even if most of the official catch statistics fail to identify them to species.

Figure B13.5 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 36, Eastern Central Pacific (Area 77)

Figure B13.5

Source FAO

Figure B13.6 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Groups 45, 57, Eastern Central Pacific (Area 77)

Figure B13.6

Source FAO

Catches of squids in ISSCAAP Group 57 have also been abundant and highly variable, while catches of octopus are almost negligible (no catch reported prior to 1985 and around 1 000t per year since then). Catches of squids, representing most of ISSCAAP Group 57, increased gradually from 3 000t in 1950 to 31 000t in 1980, then rapidly with large year to year fluctuations to peak at 212 000t in 1997 before declining to 30 000t in 1998. The most abundant squid species in the area is the jumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas ). There was a first pulse fishing of this species with catches peaking at 19 000t in 1980, followed by another pulse reaching 9 000t in 1992, with two other major peaks at 141 000t in 1997 and 116 000t in 2002 (Figure B13.6).

There is also a large proportion of squid catches that are reported as “Various squids nei” (or non-identified squids) in the current FAO statistics (FAO, 2003), suggesting that catches have not been identified to species. Catches of these other, mostly non-identified squids have also been large and highly variable in this area, with peak catches at 57 000t in 1990. Catches of non-identified squids have varied between 0 and 6 000t in recent years. Most of these are listed as US catches in the current FAO statistics, with Japan, Korea Rep. and more recently China contributing with varying but lower volumes to this “Various squids nei” category. However, it is noteworthy that most if not all the squid reported as non-identified in the current FAO statistics (now in the process of being corrected) actually correspond to the market squid or opalescent inshore squid (Loligo opalescens) that is particularly abundant off California and is caught by the USA (Figure B13.6) and possibly by other countries in the past, but without identifying catches to species.

The market squid or opalescent inshore squid (L.opalescens ) has been the basis of an important commercial fishery in California since the 1850s and had a significant expansion in southern California waters during the 1980s and 1990s. To the point that this fishery emerged as one of the most important in the US state of California, ranking as the largest California commercial fishery by volume in six years of the 1990s decade (Leet et al., 2001). The US reported catches of market squid (Leet et al., 2001; California Department of Fish and Game, 2003 and NMFS, Fisheries Statistics and Economics Division, Silver Spring, MD, USA: match almost exactly those reported in the current FAO statistics as US non-identified squid catches. In 1981 the NMFS reported a total US catch of market squid of 24 000t, and since then US catches of this species have been increasing while being highly variable. Peak catches of 37 000t were reported in 1988, 41 000t in 1989, 80 000t in 1996 and 119 000t in 2000, with 73 000t in 2002.

There is not much of an ongoing deeper water trawl fishery in the area and the catch of flatfishes, hakes and other deep-water demersals in ISSCAAP Groups 31, 32 and 34 is very low. Most of the reported catches of other, more coastal demersals (in ISSCAAP Group 33), such as croakers, groupers, snappers, etc., that globally have been fairly stable in recent years and totalled 64 000t in 2002 are taken by small local fleets that target them, but are often also taken as by-catch in the shrimp fisheries.


Tunas and other highly migratory species are exploited both by local fleets as well as by Distant Water Fleets Fisheries. Most of these tunas and other highly migratory species are assessed and managed through multinational efforts, mostly though the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC, while fisheries for other species groups are mostly assessed and managed nationally, although there are or have been some bilateral or regional research initiatives of particular relevance in the area.

The IATTC was established in 1950 and is responsible for the conservation and management of fisheries for tunas and other species taken by tuna-fishing vessels in the eastern Pacific Ocean. IATTC is based in La Jolla, California, and has a long standing tradition and experience in the resource assessment, monitoring and management of fisheries of the main tuna and other associated highly migratory species in the area. All main coastal states in the area are members of this regional organization.

Of particular relevance in the fisheries research context is the California Cooperative Ocean Fisheries Investigation Program (CalCOFI, established in 1949. The program is composed of scientists and technicians from the US Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Coastal Fisheries Resources Division of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center of NOAA/NMFS, and the California Department of Fish and Game. It aims at establishing and analyzing long time series of land based and sea going observations to monitor the physics, chemistry, biology, and meteorology of the California Current ecosystem. It does so in partnership with several Mexican institutions (including CICESE, UABC, CICIMAR, INP, CIBNOR, UNAM) grouped under an inter-institutional project on Mexican Research of the California Current (IMECOCAL, that complements and extends the CalCOFI type of investigations to the southern part of the California current system.

There have also been a series of regional research activities covering fish stocks and fisheries further south, off Central America and Panama. Several of these activities were conducted with the technical and/or financial assistance of one or more international, regional or sub-regional organizations, such as EC, FAO, NORAD, OLDEPESCA, PRADEPESCA and UNDP. While some scientific progress has been achieved through these regional fisheries research and assessment programmes, more still needs to be accomplished, particularly in terms of fisheries management. Being aware of the need to strengthen regional cooperation in these and other related fields, on 18 December 1995 in San Salvador all the Central American States and Panama created a new regional fisheries organization, the Central American Organization for the Fisheries and Water Resources Sector (OSPESCA, Organización del Sector Pesquero y Acuícola del Istmo Centroamericano). This regional organization that has the development and management of fisheries in Central America as one of its main objectives, joined in November 1999 the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SG-SICA, Secretaría General del Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana,

The knowledge and available information on the status of the main fish stocks in the area varies widely, and this to some extent is related to the importance of the fisheries involved and the research means and facilities locally available. Most fisheries are subject to some kind of fisheries management regulation, which may include one or more of the traditional management measures, such as limited access, catch limits or total allowable catch (TAC), area or seasonal closures, minimum size limits (of fish caught), etc. This has contributed to the healthy maintenance and in some cases to the rebuilding of some key stocks in the area, although in some other cases poor management and loose enforcement has contributed to the overexploitation and depletion of some important fish stocks, particularly some local shrimp stocks.

More detailed and comprehensive information on the state of some main fish stocks and fisheries management options in the area can be found in the IATTC assessment reports (IATTC, 2002), particularly with respect to tunas and tuna-like fishes (also reviewed in Majkowski, this volume), and for these and other species, in the California Department of Fish and Game, Living Marine Resources status reports (Leet et al., 2001) and the Mexican stock assessment fisheries management reports (SEMARNAP-INP 2000 and 2003). These, however, mostly provide updated information on selected species in the northern part of the area, while far less is available covering the southern part. A brief summary by stock or species groups for the whole area based on these published reports and other information available is included in this section and in Table D13.

As already noted fishing for deeper water demersals is limited and almost non existent in parts of the area. Also, and although resources assessment research has not been as active on these species groups, all seem to indicate that deeper water demersals in ISSCAAP Groups 32 and 34 including hakes, rockfishes scorpionfishes, etc., are not particularly abundant and while some stocks remain very lightly or even non exploited, other local stocks particulary some rockfishes in ISSCAAP Group 34 are heavily fished and the abundance of some of them have been severely reduced due to overfishing.

Most coastal demersals in ISSCAAP Group 33 (Miscellaneous coastal fishes) are in most cases moderately exploited if one considers their directed fisheries, but indirectly tend to be heavily to overexploited by the shrimp fisheries, where demersal fish (particularly juveniles) frequently represent a large portion of the bycatch.

It has already been reported that small pelagic species in ISSCAAP Group 35 (herrings, sardines, anchovies, etc.) are highly variable and subject to large environmentaly driven fluctuations in abundance. The overall abundance and resulting catches of Californian pilchard (sardine) has been increasing with some fluctuations since the mid-1970s. There are clear indications that the Californian pilchard (sardine) population has recovered from a biomass well below 100 000t in the early 1960s to a total biomass (of age 1+) estimated at 1.7 million tonnes in 1998 and 1999. More recently Conser et al. (2002) estimated the total biomass (age 1+) of the Californian pilchard (sardine) at a more conservative but still high population size of onemillion tonnes and suggested that the population biomass might have reached a plateau at this level. Considering its life history characteristics, it could be expected that under the right conditions this population might still have some growth potential beyond the current stock size, but the impact of future environmental conditions are difficult to anticipate. At present this stock is considered to be fully recovered from its previous depletions in the 1950s and 1960s and under the present circumstances is considered to be moderately to fully exploited.

Californian anchovy is seriously depleted partly due to heavy fishing but also as a consequence of adverse environmental conditions that are known to determine natural long-term fluctuations in stock abundance. In the recent past it has been fully to heavily exploited off Mexico and moderately to almost underexploited off the USA. At present there are some signs of biomass increase in the Gulf of California, while the northern and central sub-populations are thought to be stable at very modest biomass. Given the environmentally induced low and overall stable population size and the low catches, this stock is considered to be moderately exploited.

The Pacific anchoveta stock has also been very variable, as reflected by the annual catches by Panama, where it sustains a major industrial fishery. At the present exploitation (160 000t in 2002), this stock is probably fully exploited.

Pacific thread herring is only reported in substantial quantities by Panama, where there is a directed fishery for this species. In the past, a small fleet from Costa Rica used to also target on Pacific thread herring, but except for Panama this species now mostly shows up in incidental catches throughout the area. Pacific thread herring is probably fully exploited off Panama and underexploited elsewhere in its distribution range.

The status of tuna, bonitos, billfishes, etc. (ISSCAAP Group 36) is reviewed in another section (Majkowski, this volume) considering their wider distribution in the Pacific Ocean. However, on the overall, these stocks are considered to be moderately to fully exploited in this area.

Among the miscellaneous pelagic fishes (ISSCAAP Group 37) the chub mackerel has recovered slightly although remaining at very low biomass after collapsing in the late 1960s. While the biomass still remains very low there are some indications of slightly higher year class abundance in 2000 and 2001 (Hill, Bergen and Crone, 2002) which should allow a slightly more optimistic prognosis relative to the past years. At present the stock is moderately to fully exploited. There are no recent biomass estimates for Pacific jack mackerel for the area, but there are some indications that total biomass have declined substantially over the last 20 years, most likely due to natural environmental causes. This species has presently very low commercial value and minimum or no fishing effort is exerted on this stock. Given the low catches reported, it is most likely that the stock is moderately and even underexploited, although its biomass is low.

Amongst the invertebrates, there are some deepwater shrimps (mostly Galatheidae) within ISSCAAP Group 44 which are virtually unexploited, while most, if not all, the main wild stocks of crabs and sea spiders (ISSCAAP Group 42) and particularly shrimps and prawns (in ISSCAAP Group 45) are either fully or overexploited, with several local stocks giving signs of depletion. Still within the invertebrates, squids (ISSCAAP Group 57) are also relatively abundant in the area, particularly the jumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas ) and the opalescens squid (Loligo opalescens) which are more likely moderately to fully exploited.


Bakun, A. 1993. The California current, Benguela current, and Southwestern Atlantic Shelf ecosystems: a comparative approach to identifying factors regulating biomass yields. In K. Sherman, L.M. Alexander & B.D. Gold, eds. Large Marine Ecosystems, Stress, Mitigation and Sustainability, pp. 199–222. Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Bakun, A. 1997. Global synchrony in fish population variations. In FAO, Marine Resources Service, Fishery Resources Division. Review of the state of world fishery resources: marine fisheries, pp. 134–135. FAO Fisheries Circular, No. 920: 173 pp.

Bakun, A., Csirke, J., Lluch-Belda, D. & Steer-Ruiz, R. 1999. The Pacific Central American Coastal LME. In K. Sherman & Q. Tang, eds. Large Marine Ecosystems of the Pacific Rim, pp. 268–280. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Science.

California Department of Fish and Game. 2002. Review of some California fisheries for 2001: market squid, sea urchin, dungeness crab, lobster, prawn, abalone, groundfish, swordfish and shark, coastal pelagic finfish, ocean salmon, nearshore live-fish, pacific herring, white seabass, and kelp. Fisheries Review CalCOFI Rep., Vol. 43: 18 pp.

Conser, R.J., Hill, K.T., Crone, P.R. Lo, N.C.H. & Bergen, D. 2002. Stock assessment of Pacific sardine with management recommendations for 2003. Executive summary. October 2002. Submitted to the Pacific Fishery Management Council. California Department of Fish and Game and NOAA/NMFS. 11 pp.

Csirke, J. & Vasconcellos, M. 2003. Fisheries and long-term climate variability (this volume).

FAO. 2003. FAO yearbook. Fishery statistics. Capture production 2001, Vol. 92/1.

Gulland, J.A. (ed.) 1970. The fish resources of the ocean. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper, No 97: 425 p.

Hill, K.T., Bergen, D.R. & Crone, P.R. 2002. Stock assessment of Pacific mackerel with recommendations for the 2002–2003 management season. Executive summary. 31 May 2002. Submitted to the Pacific Fishery Management Council. California Department of Fish and Game and NOAA/NMFS. 13 pp.

IATTC. 2002. Status of the tuna and billfish stocks in 2001. Stock Assessment Report No. 3. IATTC (available at /StockAssessmentReportsENG.htm).

Leet, W.S. Dewees, C.M., Klingbeil, R. & Larson, E.J. (eds). 2001. California's Living Marine Resources: A Status Report. The Resources Agency. The California Department of Fish and Game. University of California. Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication SG 01–11: 594pp. (available at /mrd/status).

MacCall, A.D. 1983. Variability of pelagic fish stocks off California. In G.D. Sharp & J.Csirke, eds. Proceedings of the Expert Consultation to examine changes in abundance and species of neritic fish resources. San José, Costa, Rica, 18–29 April 1983, pp. 101–112. FAO Fisheries Report, No.291(2): 553 pp.

Majkowski, J. 2003. Tuna and tuna-like species (this volume).

Murphy, G. 1966. Population biology of the Pacific sardine (Sardinops caerulea ). Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci., 34(1): 1–84.

Parrish, R.H., Bakun, A., Husby, D.M. & Nelson, C.S. 1983. Comparative climatology of selected environmental processes in relation to eastern boundary current pelagic fish reproduction. In G.D. Sharp & J.Csirke, eds. Proceedings of the Expert Consultation to examine changes in abundance and species of neritic fish resources. San José, Costa, Rica, 18–29 April 1983, pp. 731–778. FAO Fisheries Report, No. 291(3): 557–1224.

SEMARNAP-INP. 2000. Sustentabilidad y pesca responsible en México. Evaluación y Manejo. 1997–1998. Secretaría de Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y Pesca-INP. 691pp.

SEMARNAP-INP. 2003. Sustentabilidad y pesca responsible en México. Evaluación y Manejo. 1999–2000. Secretaría de Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y Pesca-INP. 1112pp. (available at

Troadec, J.-P., Clark, W.G. & Gulland, J.A. 1980. A review of some pelagic fish stocks in other areas. Rapp. P.-v. Réun. Cons. Int. Explor. Mer, 177: 252–277.

Wyrtky, K. 1964. Upwelling in the Costa Rica Dome. Fish. Bull. US, 63: 355–372

* FAO, Marine Resources Service, Fishery Resources Division

FAO Statistical Area 81

by Ross Shotton *


This area includes the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean from the 150°E to the 120°E meridians (Figure B14.1). The total surface area is 27.7 million km2with only 0.4 million km2of shelf area. In the Tasman Sea the well-defined East Australian Current flows south along the East Coast of Australia but becomes weaker and diffused south of Sydney. Part of this current system turns eastward after coming in contact with the more southerly West Wind Drift along the northern edges of the Southern Oceans and southern margin of the Tasman Sea. It then turns northward along the two coasts of the South Island of New Zealand. On the east coast of New Zealand, this current encounters the south-flowing East Cape Current and where the two meet, they merge moving offshore forming the Wairarapa Gyre as they do so, which is situated above the Chatham Rise, a raised part of the sea bed extending to the Chatham Islands further eastward.

Figure B14.1 - The Southwest Pacific (Area 81)

Figure B14.1

The region in general is characterized by deepwaters with many seamounts about which mesopelagic fish resources, e.g. orange roughy and oreos, are exploited. To the Southeast of New Zealand there is an extensive raised area, the Campbell Plateau, of around 200 m depth. Another more shallow area extends from the centre of New Zealand in a north-westerly direction, the Lord Howe Rise, continuing to the eponymous mid-Tasman Sea islands.

Figure B14.2 - Annual nominal catches ('000 t) by ISSCAAP species groups in the Southwest Pacific (Area 81)

Figure B14.2

Source FAO

The types of habitats that are exploited in this area are most varied and support also most varied types of fisheries, from coastal continental to deepwater seamount fisheries. In fact, New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, Australia have been pioneers in developing profitable and continuing deepwater (>600m) trawl fisheries. The fisheries resources consist of the coastal species of the Australian States of New South Wales, Northern Victoria and offshore Tasmania, and of New Zealand, the pelagic resources of the South Western Pacific and the mesopelagic species (of which the most important are orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus) and hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae) associated with the sea bottom rises of the Tasman Sea, to the south and east of New Zealand and the deep water west of the South Island.

Figure B14.3 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 32, Southwest Pacific (Area 81)

Figure B14.3

Source FAO

Figure B14.4 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Groups 34 & 37, Southwest Pacific (Area 81)

Figure B14.4

Source FAO

Figure B14.5 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 57, Southwest Pacific (Area 81)

Figure B14.5

Source FAO


Nominal catches from the Southwest Pacific increased from less than 50 000t in 1950 to 917 000t in 1992 and then gradually declined to 740 000t in 2002 (Figure B14.2 and Table D14). The Southwest Pacific has regularly been producing the smallest catches of all FAO Statistical Area since 1950. Four taxonomic groups account for 78.8 percent of the catches: gadids (40.4 percent), miscellaneous demersal fishes (19.2 percent), Miscellaneous pelagic fishes (8.2 percent) and squids, cuttlefishes, octopuses (10.6 percent), (Figures B14.2, 3 and 4). Highlights on catch trends and major changes in the area follow, together with a brief summary review of the status of the main fish stocks extracted from published material and other available information. In this context, of particular relevance are the fishery status reports of the Australia Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry ( au) and the status of stocks of the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries ( Table D.4 summarizes further the information on catch and trends and stock status.


The South East Fishery supplies most of the fresh fish to New South Wales, Victorian and Tasmanian markets. The fishery takes more than 100 commercial species, but 17 species or species groups provide the bulk (>80 percent) of trawl landings and are limited to total allowable catches (TACs) allocated as individual transferable quotas (ITQs). The 1999 and 2000 TACs for eastern gemfish were reduced to 250t and 200t, respectively, which allowed for bycatch only. Blue warehou (Seriolella brama) and orange roughy (southern management zone) TACs for 1999 and 2000 were also reduced. The 1999 TAC for school whiting (Sillago spp.) was reduced, whereas those for ling (Genypterus blacodes) and spotted warehou (Seriolella punctata) were increased. The 2000 TACs for jackass morwong (Nemadactylus macropterus) and orange roughy (western management zone) were reduced. All other TACs remained the same as in 1998. The number of active trawlers has decreased since 1992, but the total fleet capacity and horsepower have increased, and the annual fishing effort (hours fished) has almost doubled. Discarding of some species at sea, particularly in shelf waters, remains a major issue, but the total discarded weight of quota species has fallen by about three-quarters between 1998 and 2000. Four species, lue warehou, eastern gemfish, orange roughy (except Cascade Plateau) and redfish are considered overfished; four, blue grenadier, jackass morwong, tiger flathead (Neoplatycephalus richardsoni) and ocean perch (Helicolenus spp.) are probably fully fished; and the status of nine (blue-eye trevally (Hyperoglyphe antarctica ), eastern school whiting (Sillago spp.), John dory (Zeus faber ), ling, mirror dory (Zenopsis nebulosus ), royal red prawn (Penaeidae), silver trevally (Pseudocaranx dentex ), spotted warehou and western gemfish (Rexea solandri) is uncertain (http://www.affa.

Individual transferable quotas were introduced for school shark (Galeorhinus galeus) and gummy shark (Mustelus spp.) in the Southern Shark Fishery from January 2001. Quotas also apply to school and gummy shark bycatch in the South East Trawl and Great Australian Bight Trawl fisheries. The 2001 total allowable catches were 432t for school shark and 2 159t for gummy shark. School shark are considered overfished and quotas for this species are in accordance with a harvest strategy intended to rebuild the adult biomass. Current gummy shark catches are likely to be sustainable. Recruitment of gummy shark to the fishery in Bass Strait appears to have been stable over the last 20 years. Although quotas are the primary management tool for the fishery, some input controls have been retained (http://

The South Tasman Rise is a large plateau rising to less than 1000 m from the surface south of Tasmania. Fishing has so far been on grounds shallower than 1200 m, in an area straddling the Australia Fishing Zone (AFZ). The principal target species are orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus ), smooth oreo (Pseudocyttus maculatus) and spiky oreo (Neocyttus rhomboidalis ). These species form spawning aggregations in winter, which makes them vulnerable to fishing. Although there has been some exploratory trawling on the South Tasman Rise since the mid-1980s, catches were generally small, but in September 1997 significant aggregations of orange roughy were discovered and the fishery rapidly increased. As the bulk of these fish were taken outside the AFZ, the fishery attracted New Zealand vessels and during 1997 the two fleets made a total catch of over 2 000t of orange roughy and about 1 100t of oreos. Concern was expressed that uncontrolled fishing by both fleets would decimate the orange roughy population(s) of the rise. Fisheries officials agreed in late 1997 to establish a precautionary TAC for orange roughy within a proclaimed area of international waters encompassing the known fishery split between the two countries, 80 percent to Australia and 20 percent to New Zealand.

In February 1998, the orange roughy fishery expanded dramatically and 2 052t were landed by Australian vessels before either the Australa-New Zealand agreement or the TAC took effect. Australia's allocation of the orange roughy TAC under the terms of the MOU was 1 669t; New Zealand's was 431t. Subsequent landings by Australian and New Zealand vessels fishing within the 1998–99 TAC period totalled 1 194t and 404t, respectively. A further 346t were caught during research cruises so that close to 4 000t of orange roughy were taken in 1998. Management of this fishery was further complicated by the appearance of vessels from other states.

The status of the South Tasman Rise Trawl Fishery is uncertain. The size and extent of the orange roughy and oreo resources are currently unquantified and it is not known whether the “precautionary” TAC is sustainable. Despite considerable searching and fishing effort on the South Tasman Rise during the 2000–01 fishing year, only 830t of orange roughy and 290t of oreos were landed. This decline in landings could be influenced by environmental factors and it could also reflect a decline in resource size. The combined activities during 1999 of the Australian and New Zealand vessels and the four foreign freezer-trawlers may have had a significant impact on the fishery. The 2001–02 South Tasman Rise catch was only 188t of orange roughy and 25t of oreos, one-fifth of the catch in 2000–01. Fishing effort also declined markedly from 1 100 to 150 shots. The global TAC was reduced from 2 400t to 1 800t. Overall, with the closure of eastern fishing grounds, roughy landings from this Subarea collapsed, from 3 129t in 1997 to 28, 26, and 16t in the three following years.

New Zealand

New Zealand catches from FAO Area 81 have increased many fold, from 58 400t in 1970 to a peak of 637 880t in 1998, followed by a small reduction to 556 844t in 2002, representing 129 species for which separate landing statistics are maintained. The major development in New Zealand's commercial fisheries has been the continuing expansion of landings of hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae ). In 2002, this species represented 34.6 percent of landings, an order of magnitude larger than the following species, the Wellington Flying squid Nototodarus sloani with 8.9 percent and southern blue whiting (Micromesistius australis) with 7.6 percent. Other important species are oreos (Pseudocyttus maculatus, Allocyttus niger, and Neocyttus rhomboidalis ), Carangids Trachurus spp., snoek Thyrsites atun and ling Genypterus blacodes . In terms of the domestic markets, the species in main demand are snapper Pagrus auratus and tarakihi Nemadactylus macropterus, with catches in 2002 of 6 571t and 6 149t, respectively.


Hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae) are widely distributed throughout New Zealand waters from 34°S to 54°S, from depths of 10 m to over 900m, with greatest abundance between 200 and 600m( Large adult fish are generally found deeper than 400 m, while juveniles are more abundant in shallower water. Hoki migrate to spawning grounds in Cook Strait, the west coast of the south Island and the Puysegur areas in winter. Throughout the rest of the year the adults are dispersed around the edge of the Stewart and Snares shelf, over large areas of the Southern Plateau and Chatham Rise and the North Island. Juvenile fish (2–4 years) are found on the Chatham Rise throughout the year. Hoki spawn from late June to mid-September and have moderately high fecundity. Not all adult hoki spawn in a given year and winter surveys have found large hoki with no gonad development, at times when spawning occurs in other areas.

The main spawning ground is centred on the Hokitika Canyon. The planktonic eggs and larvae are dispersed north and south with the result that 0+ and one year old fish can be found in most coastal areas of the South Island. However the major nursery ground for juvenile hoki aged 2–4 years is along the Chatham Rise, in depths of 200 to 600m. The older fish disperse to deeper water and are widely distributed on both the Southern Plateau and Chatham Rise. Growth is fairly rapid; juveniles reach about 27–30cm total length at the end of their first year.

The hoki fishery was developed by Japanese and Soviet Union vessels in the early 1970s. Catches peaked at 100 000t in 1977, but dropped to less than 20 000t in 1978 when the EEZ was declared and quota limits were introduced. From 1979 on, the hoki catch increased to about 50 000t until an increased TACC (Total Allowable Commercial Catch) from 1986 to 1990 saw the fishery expand to a maximum catch in the 1987–88 fishing year of about 255 000t. The annual catch ranged from 175 000t to 215 000t during 1988–89 to 1995–96 fishing years but increased to 246 000t in 1996–97. The total catch for 1997–98 was estimated to be the highest ever at 269 000t, but the total catch decreased to 192 482t in 2002. The pattern of fishing has changed since 1987–88 when over 90 percent of the total catch was taken in the west coast South Island spawning fishery. The catch from this fishery declined from 1988–89 to 1996–97 while the catch from Cook Strait and Chatham Rise increased.

Historically, the main fishery for hoki has been in winter on the west coast of the South Island where they spawn. The aggregations concentrate in depths of 300–700 m around the Hokitika Canyon. Since 1988 another fishery has developed in Cook Strait, where spawning also occurs. Outside the spawning season, hoki disperse to their feeding grounds and substantial fisheries have developed on the Chatham Rise and in the Subantarctic in depths of 400–800m. While the catch for the 1997–98 season was estimated to be the highest on record (269 000t), recent catches have been less than the total allowable commercial catch which is 250 000t.

A study of potential links between hoki recruitment and climate variation found a strong negative correlation between year class strength of the western stock and the Southern Oscillation Index in autumn. Year class strength in the eastern stock and south west weather patterns were strongly correlated. The results support suggestions that cooler conditions and negative SOI or “El Niño” conditions favour hoki recruitment.

In the most recent assessment of hoki stocks (Annala et al., 2002a), it was concluded that the status of the two stocks was uncertain. The results that had been obtained were strongly influenced by the model assumptions and it was concluded that there was a need to explore a wider range of model assumptions. The current spawning biomass is estimated to be between 30 percent and 48 percent B0for the Eastern stock and between 36 percent and 56 percent B0for the western stock. Estimated maximum constant yield MCY, (defined as “the maximum constant catch that is estimated to be sustainable, with an acceptable level of risk, at all probable future levels of biomass”) for the two stocks lies between 186 000t and 238 000t and current annual yield estimates for 2002/03 are between 177 000t and 384 000t. The assessment group concluded that the eastern stock may not be at a low level.

It is of note that the Hoki fishery is one of the few large volume fisheries that have been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (certified in March 2001).

Southern blue whiting

Southern blue whiting (Micromesistius australis) is a schooling species that is almost entirely restricted to sub-Antarctic waters where they are dispersed throughout the Campbell Plateau and Bounty Platform for much of the year ( During late winter they spawn near the Campbell Islands, on Pukaki Rise, on Bounty Platform, and near Auckland Islands over depths of 250–600m.

There was a USSR fishery during the 1970s and early 1980s, and catches peaking at almost 50 000t in 1973 and again at almost 30 000t in 1979. The Japanese surimi vessels entered the fishery in 1986 and catches gradually increased to a peak of 76 000t in 1991–92. A catch limit of 32 000t, with area sub-limits, was introduced for the 1992–93 fishing year. Landings have averaged 58 200t in the last five years; the majority of the catch is currently taken by chartered Japanese surimi and Russian vessels.

The catch limits have not been reached on most grounds and in most years since their introduction. This appears to reflect the low economic value of the fish and difficulties in timing experienced by operators in this fishery rather than low stock sizes. On the Bounty Platform the amount of fishing effort in any season depends largely on the timing of the west coast hoki fishery. If there is a delayed hoki season then the vessels remain longer on the hoki grounds and miss the peak fishing season on the Bounty Platform. On the Pukaki Rise operators tend to have a small allocation and find it difficult to locate large aggregations of fish. On the Campbell Island Rise catches have increased over the past three seasons but are still lower than the catch limit. In the past 4 years fishing has extended into October and the reported catch by fishing year is different to that for the fishing season.

The fish are reaching a length of about 20cm FL after one year and 30cm FL after two years. Individual fish may reach an age of 25 years. The majority of females matures at age 3 or 4 at a length of 35–42cm. Ageing studies have shown that this synchronized batch spawners have high recruitment variability. Four spawning areas have been identified on Bounty Platform, Pukaki Rise, Auckland Islands Shelf, and Campbell Island Rise. Spawning appears to occur at night, in midwater, over depths of 400–500m on Campbell Island Rise but shallower elsewhere. It is assumed that there are four stocks of southern blue whiting: the Bounty Platform stock, the Pukaki Rise stock, the Auckland Islands stock, and the Campbell Island stock.

Updated estimates of biomass and yield have been made for the Bounty and Pukaki stock based on analysis of catch at age and acoustic survey data. But, no new assessments are available for the Campbell Island Rise stock. No assessment has been made of Auckland Island Shelf stock. In the case of the Bounty Platform stock, the current annual yield is, based on one set of modelling assumptions, estimated to be 2 000t with a range of 700–4 300t. Annala et al. (2002b) note that stock biomass has declined since 1993 with poor recruitment to the stock. Recent catches have been lower than the total allowable commercial catch of 8 000t, though the high estimate was accepted as more likely by the assessment working group. It was noted that stock recovery will depend on future good recruitment.


New Zealand undertakes commercial fisheries for black oreo Allocyttus niger, smooth oreo Neocyttus rhomboidalis and some spiky oreo Pseudocyttus maculatus, (http :// The Chatham Rise is the main fishing area, but other fisheries occur off Southland on the east coast of the South Island, in the Puysegur-Snares-Macquarie Ridge area south of the South Island and in the Bounty/Pukaki area. Smooth oreo occurs from 650 to about 1500 m and black oreo from 600 to 1300m depth. Oreos appear to be southern species and are abundant on the south Chatham Rise, along the east coast of the South Island, the north and east slope of Pukaki Rise, the Bounty Platform, the Snares slope, Puysegur Bank and the northern end of the Macquarie Ridge. They probably occur right round the slope of the Campbell Plateau.

Total oreo catch was 18 000t in 2002 compared with 21 614t in 1990–01. Catches from the Puysegur fishery declined markedly in 1994–95 and remained low in 1995–96 and 1996–97, however, by 2000–01 there had been a substantial recovery to 48 562t.

The increased use of the generic species code OEO (Oreos) as the target species in catch effort data is potentially a problem in analysing these data for standardized CPUE analyses. Dumping of unwanted or small fish and accidental loss of fish (lost codends, ripped codends, etc.) were features of oreo fisheries in the early years. This source of mortality was probably substantial in early years but is now thought to be small.

Spawning of smooth oreo is widespread on the south Chatham Rise and appears to take place in small aggregations. Mean total length at maturity for females, estimated from Chatham Rise trawl surveys (1986–87, 1990, 1991–93) using macroscopic gonad staging, is 40cm for smooth oreo and 34cm for black oreo. These species appear to have a pelagic juvenile phase, of which little is known. The pelagic phase may last for 5–6 years to total lengths of 16–19cm for smooth oreo Neocyttus rhomboidalis and 4–5 years to lengths of 21–26cm for black oreo Allocyttus niger . Ageing indicates that oreos are slow growing; the estimated maximum age of Smooth oreo is 86 years (51.3cm); for black oreo, the maximum estimated age is 153 years (45.5cm fish).

The three species of oreos (black oreo, smooth oreo and spiky oreo) are managed as if they were one stock though each species could be managed separately as they have different depth and geographical distributions, different stock sizes, rates of growth and productivity.



Management of Australia's fisheries is a complex mix of Commonwealth and State responsibility with the States managing the fisheries out to 3nautical miles from shore and the Commonwealth managing those beyond that to the 200 mile limit. Under the Offshore Constitutional Settlement, agreement has been reached to place many fisheries under single jurisdiction, either Commonwealth, State or Territory. Commonwealth Fisheries are managed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 and the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 (Caton, McLoughlin and Staples, 1997), ( /plans/afmapercent20annualpercent20operationalpercent20planpercent202001–2002/default.php).

The Annual Operational Plan has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of Section 77 of the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 and specified Government legislation and guidelines including the provisions of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Orders for the Report of Operations to which AFMA is subject under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 . This Plan describes how the AFMA will pursue its objectives for the 2001–2002 year and specific actions that the Authority proposes to take to achieve the longer term directions contained in AFMA's Corporate Plan for 2000–2005. The Plan also contains performance information and details of AFMA's budget, resourcing policies and internal performance improvement program and proposes action to implement AFMA's Strategic Human Resource Development Plan. Both the Corporate Plan and the Operational Plan are based upon the legislative objectives set out in the Administration Act and the Fisheries Management Act 1991 and provide the information against which AFMA's performance may be measured and reported through the Annual Report. AFMA's focus for 2001–2002 continues to be on developing, implementing and refining the management arrangements, systems, policies and processes that underpin the sustainable, economically efficient and cost-effective management of Australia's Commonwealth fisheries.

Australian fisheries are undertaken within a comprehensive Oceans Policy ( that sets in place the framework for integrated and ecosystem-based planning and management for all of Australia's marine jurisdictions. It includes a vision, a series of goals and principles and policy guidance for a national Oceans Policy. Building on existing effective sectoral and jurisdictional mechanisms, it promotes ecologically sustainable development of the resources of the oceans and the encouragement of internationally competitive marine industries, while ensuring the protection of marine biological diversity.

At the core of the Oceans Policy is the development of Regional Marine Plans, based on large marine ecosystems, which will be binding on all Commonwealth agencies. The first Regional Marine Plan will be developed for the south-eastern region of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone. Broadly, this will include waters off Victoria, Tasmania, southern New South Wales and eastern South Australia.

A major new initiative for marine research in Australia has recently been announced ( This programme, noting that Australia's marine jurisdiction is likely to be the world's largest under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (70 percent of Australian territory) is aimed at bringing together science and industry to tackle key challenges in this vital field.

New Zealand

Fisheries management in New Zealand is undertaken within a Strategic Framework that seeks the achievement of sustainable fisheries in a healthy aquatic ecosystem ( The Fisheries Act 1996 restates and enhances sustainability policies within New Zealand's fisheries waters and provides for more explicit environmental standards and gives further opportunities for the users of the fisheries to accept increasing responsibility for management. From the Fisheries Act 1996, “ensuring sustainability” means (a) maintaining the potential of fisheries resources to meet the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations and (b) avoiding, remedying, or mitigating any adverse effects of fishing on the aquatic environment. The Fisheries Act 1996 also requires that in utilization of fisheries resources (a) associated or dependent species should be maintained above a level that ensures their long-term viability; (b) biological diversity of the aquatic environment should be maintained and (c) habitat of particular significance for fisheries management should be protected.

The 1996 Fisheries Act and the Government's Environment 2010 Strategy are the twin foundation stones of the Ministry of Fisheries long-term strategic focus as articulated in Changing Course - Towards Fisheries 2010. Changing Course sets out the framework for developing the strategy to manage fisheries into the future. It identifies several requirements: (a) Inter-generational equity; (b) biodiversity; (c) environmental bottom lines; (d) the precautionary principle; (e) research, science and technology; (f) protecting international competitiveness; (g) sustainable property rights; (h) least-cost policy tools; (j) pricing of infrastructure; (k) internalization of external environmental costs; (l) defining the limits of fishery resource use and substitution and (m) social costs and benefits.

In 1986, New Zealand introduced a comprehensive quota management system (QMS) to manage and conserve the major commercial fisheries within the New Zealand 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The primary objectives of the quota management system are to ensure sustainable catches over the long term while providing for these to be harvested efficiently and with maximum benefit to New Zealand.

Within the quota management system, Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) have been issued for 42 species, or groups of species, covering 257 separate fish stocks. ITQs provide the owner with an ongoing property right to a portion of the annual harvest of a fish stock, which can be traded, leased or caught. The quota management system has successfully replaced traditional fisheries management methods (using input controls) and has facilitated the rationalization of investment in vessels and onshore plants by providing quota owners with the incentives to minimize costs and maximize product values. New Zealand's Seafood Industry is paying full costs for Government services of management and research and receiving no subsidies.

Total Allowable Catches (TACs) are set for each fish stock to maintain the population size at, or above, that which can produce the maximum sustainable yield (BMSY). Determination of a TAC under the MSY objective relies on estimation of the current biomass and of the productivity of the stocks to determine either the Maximum Constant Yield (MCY) or the Maximum Average Yield (MAY). Maximum constant yield is based on taking the same catch from the fishery year after year and is defined as “the maximum constant catch that is estimated to be sustainable, with an acceptable level of risk, at all probable future levels of biomass” . A maximum average yield strategy is based on the estimation of the Current Annual Yield (CAY), recognizing that population sizes change from year to year, independent of fishing mortality. Current annual yield is obtained by applying a reference fishing mortality to an estimate of next year's fishable biomass. Over time, a current average yield strategy allows the estimation of the Maximum Average Yield (MAY), which is used to interpret MSY.

Stock assessments for each of the major fisheries are reviewed annually. The Ministry of Fisheries holds annual consultations to determine fisheries research requirements and to review the results of stock assessments for advice to the Minister. Research projects, to assess the status of fisheries, are let by tender by the Ministry of Fisheries. Stakeholders, including the Seafood Industry, Maori, recreation and conservation interests, are actively involved in the research planning, stock assessment and management review processes. However, still by 1997, the status of 64 percent of the 149 stocks in the Quota Management System was unknown. While the initial TACs in 1986 were set below the historical catch to promote stock rebuilding inshore finfish species, the extent to which stock rebuilding has occurred for many of these species is unknown.

Management by quota of the major species in New Zealand fisheries has enhanced the fish stocks and economics of New Zealand fisheries over the last twelve years, a period when the resources and economics of similar fisheries have been depleted in other countries. The Seafood Industry is paying the full costs for fisheries management, enforcement and research, an annual investment of 3 percent of gross returns. Government investment in fisheries related research is very low compared with its investments in other primary sectors.

Recent developments by the Government have included an Independent Review of the Fisheries Act 1996 which resulted in recommendations that: (1)the roles of Government and fisheries stakeholders be fundamentally realigned; (2)transparent, integrated consultation and decision making processes be implemented; (3)the Quota Management System be simplified and made less prescriptive and (4)some responsibility for fisheries management be handed to fisheries rights holders.

The Government accepted the recommendations and began introducing legislation to bring the fisheries management regime into line with the recommendations. The key features of the amendment are: (1)providing for integration of fisheries management, including approval of fisheries plans; (2)a new catch balancing regime based primarily on civil, rather than criminal, penalties; (3)a new cost recovery regime and (4)allowing commercial fisheries administrative functions to be devolved to private organizations

Other amendments include provisions such as: (1)enabling certain by-catch stocks to be managed below maximum sustainable yield; (2)enabling fishers to carry forward into the next fishing year up to 10 per cent of any annual catch entitlement that has not been fully caught; and (3)enabling a new non-Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) fishing permit to be issued to a relative of a permit holder who has died, despite the moratorium.

The Fisheries Act 1996 (No. 2) Amendment Act 1999 has enabled New Zealand to control the fishing activities of New Zealand-flagged vessels and nationals on the high seas.

In the last year, there was been a major enquiry into the allocation of quotas, prompted by concerns as to how rights were obtained in the recently-developed scampi (Metanephrops challengeri) fisheries. A major milestone has been the finalization of a proposal for allocation of catch rights to indigenous fishermen.


Annala, J.H., Sullivan, K.J., O'Brien, C.J., Smith, N.W.McL. & Varian, S.J.A. 2002a. Report from the Fishery Assessment Plenary, May 2002: stock assessments and yield estimates. Part 1: Albacore to Ling. Ministry of Fisheries. 640pp.

Annala, J.H., Sullivan, K.J., O'Brien, C.J., Smith, N.W.McL. & Varian, S.J.A. 2002b. Report from the Fishery Assessment Plenary, May 2002: stock assessments and yield estimates. Part 2: Orange roughy to Yellow-eyed mullet. Ministry of Fisheries. 640pp.

Caton, A., McLoughlin, K. & Staples, D. (eds.) 1997. Fishery Status Reports 1997. Resource Assessments of Australian Commonwealth Fisheries. DPIE, Bureau of Resource Sciences. 139p

* FAO, Marine Resources Service, Fishery Resources Division

FAO Statistical Area 87

by Jorge Csirke *


This Statistical Area has a total surface of 30.02 million km2off the western coast of South America, from northern Colombia to southern Chile, and includes a total continental shelf surface of approximately 0.5 million km2(Figure B15.1). The continental shelf is narrow with a steep slope throughout most of the area, except for some limited zones off southern Ecuador, northern Peru and central and southern Chile, where the shelf can reach a maximum width of 130 km; south of 41°S the shelf can extend for several hundred kilometres. The main oceanic islands in this area are the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador and Juan Fernandez off Chile. Areas suitable for bottom trawling can be found off northern Colombia, Ecuador, northern Peru and central and southern Chile, with the best and most productive areas in northern Peru and southern Chile. The coastline presents two main notable features: the Gulf of Guayaquil, at 3°S in Ecuador, and the zone of fjords south of 41°S in Chile.

Figure B15.1 The Southeast Pacific (Area 87)

Figure B15.1

The northern part of the area, off Colombia and Ecuador, has a tropical climate typical of low latitudes, with relatively low productivity, mean sea surface temperatures around 28°C and salinity of 33 or lower during the rainy season and near the coast. The area is under the influence of surface equatorial currents that flow parallel to the equatorial line. Further south, off Peru and northern and central Chile, the coastal areas are dominated by the Humboldt-Peru eastern boundary current system, which generates the cold nutrient-rich coastal upwelling, a seasonal process that makes this region highly productive. Even nearthe Equator, water masses close to these coastal upwelling areas have low sea surface temperature, usually ranging from 14 to 20°C, with surface salinity in the order of 35. These features associated to the Andes Mountain Ridge that runs parallel and close to the coastlines along Peru and Chile, strongly influencing the air and water circulation in the area, contribute to a notably dry climate, particularly at low latitudes. Further south, off southern Chile, water masses are much colder and turbulent but still highly productive, with sea surface temperatures well below 14°C and salinity around 34, with the coastal area influenced by the freshwater inflow in the fjords (Schweigger, 1964; Jordán, 1979; Guillén, 1983; Bernal, Robles and Rojas, 1983; Strub et al., 1998).

Figure B15.2 - Annual nominal catches ('000 t) by ISSCAAP species groups in the Southeast Pacific (Area 87)

Figure B15.2

Source FAO

The distribution and abundance of fishery resources and the development of fisheries are strongly influenced by the local topography and prevailing environmental conditions. While shrimps, small coastal pelagics and large tropical migratory pelagics sustain the main fisheries off Colombia and Ecuador, small pelagics are by far the dominant species off Peru and northern and central Chile, with demersals and benthic invertebrates supporting the most important fisheries further south.

The impacts of changing environmental conditions are of particular relevance in this area: they are known to cause large year-to-year fluctuations as well as longer term changes in fish abundance and total production of the main exploited species (Csirke, 1995; Jordán, 1983; Zuta, Tsukayama and Villanueva, 1983; Serra, 1983). The adverse effects of the “El Niño” event on the once depleted and now recovering largest single-species fishery of the world and on the distribution, recruitment success and abundance of the Peruvian anchoveta (Engraulis ringens) are well known (Csirke, 1980, 1989; Valdivia, 1978). Well known are also the effects on other fish populations as well as sea birds and mammals. The impact of the “El Niño” events are not always negative on other marine populations, including other small pelagics, hakes, shrimps, cephalopods and shellfish (Arntz, Landa and Tarazona, 1985; Arntz and Fahrbach, 1996).

The area is under the influence of two phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle (known as “El Niño” and “La Niña”). These are the main source of interannual variability, having noticeable regional and extra-regional impacts on climate, and on the state of fishery resources and related fishery productivity, particularly when the warm phase or “El Niño” occurs with variable degrees of intensity every 3 to 7 years (Rasmusson and Carpenter, 1982; Arntz and Fahrbach, 1996). More subtle longer term environmental changes have also been proposed as a source of variability, contributing to explain some inter-decadal regional shifts observed in the availability and abundance of some living resources in the area (Alheit and Bernal, 1999; Chavez et al., 2003; Lluch-Belda et al., 1989, 1992; Yañez, Barbieri and Silva, 2003; Klyashtorin, 2001; Csirke and Vasconcellos, this volume).

Recent resource changes of particular relevance in this area are the severe depletion of the South American sardine (or pilchard) (Sardinops sagax sagax) and the impressive recovery of the Peruvian anchoveta. Catches of Chilean jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus murphy ) have also declined significantly off Chile although a slight increase was observed off Peru and catches of jumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas) declined sharply in 1995–1998, but have increased continuously thereafter.


There have been wide fluctuations in the total catches from the southeast Pacific over the past five decades, with major changes in catch volumes and species composition caused by changes in fishing effort and the effects of natural factors, including the results of short-term (ENSO) and long-term (inter-decadal) climatic signals. During the 1960s total catches increased rapidly, peaking at 13.9 million tonnes in 1970. Catches were mainly based on Peruvian anchoveta, until the sudden decline of this fishery in the early 1970s. In the mid-1970s catches became more multispecific although small pelagics continued to dominate, but with a wider array of species including anchovies, sardines, herrings, jack mackerel and chub mackerels (Figure B15.2 and Table D15). By the mid-1980s the Peruvian anchoveta became again the dominant species while catches of other species diminished. Noticeable changes have also occurred in other species groups, particularly hakes, other demersals and more recently squids (i.e. jumbo flying squid). All this has contributed to an overall increase, with total nominal catches peaking to a new record high of 20.4 million tonnes in 1994, probably reaching the upper limit of the yield range for the area.

The high catch variability in this area is strongly influenced by the Peruvian anchoveta, a major component of ISSCAAP Group 35 (herrings, sardines, anchovies, etc.). After reaching 13.1 million tonnes in 1970, the total catch of Peruvian anchoveta fell to 1.7 million tonnes in 1973 and to a record low of only 94 000t in 1984. Since then catches of this species have generally recovered, albeit with a major decrease during El Niño 1997–1998 and a subsequent very fast recovery to 7–11 million tonnes per year in recent years (Figure B15.3).

Other small pelagics, such as the South American sardine, the Chilean jack mackerel, and the chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus) (Figure B15.4), that previously were producing negligible catches (a few ten thousand tonnes per year), started to increase following the Peruvian anchoveta fishery collapse in 1972–1973, and became major contributors to the total fish production in this area with catches of severalmillion tonnes per year. The South American sardine has now almost disappeared while the Chilean jack mackerel and the chub mackerel continue to maintain relatively high catches in the area.

Figure B15.3 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 35, Southeast Pacific (Area 87)

Figure B15.3

Source FAO

Figure B15.4 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 37, Southeast Pacific (Area 87)

Figure B15.4

Source FAO

The South American sardine (pilchard) used to be the second contributor to the total production of ISSCAAP Group 35 after the Peruvian anchoveta (Figure B15.3). Catches of the South American sardine increased from less than 10 000t per year prior to 1970 to a maximum of 6.5 million tonnes in 1985. Then catches declined continuously, to only 28 000t in 2002. This sharp decline was apparently a consequence of heavy fishing over almost two decades, coinciding with the onset of the declining phase of an environmentally driven long-term “regime change” in abundance (Kawasaki, 1983; Lluch-Belda et al., 1989, 1992; Schwartzlosse et al., 1999).

Other main species in ISSCAAP Group 35 are the Araucanian herring (Strangomera benticki ) and the Pacific thread herring (Ophisthonema libertate ). Catches of these species have also been highly variable. The Araucanian herring is fished mainly between 34°S and 40°S and had two distinguishable periods of high production. One from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, with peak catches of 159 000t and 183 000t in 1971 and 1974, and a second period that started in 1989 with a high catch of 584000 tonnes in 1991 and a record high catch of 782 000t in 1999, decreasing to 347 000t in 2002. The Pacific thread herring is mostly fished to the north of 6°S. The highest recorded catches are 90 000t in 1989, with 20 000t or less in recent years. Also worth mentioning is the Pacific anchoveta (Cetengraulis mysticetus ), a small pelagic associated with estuarial waters, mainly fished off Colombia and Ecuador with catches varying without a clear trend between 20 000 and 120 000t per year in the last two decades, with 43 000t in 2002.

Prior to 1970 there was no evidence that the stock of Chilean jack mackerel (ISSCAAP Group 37) was so abundant with annual catches hardly over 30 000t per year (Figure B15.4). However, in the early 1970s this species started to appear consistently as bycatch in local artisanal and industrial fisheries, and then more specialized Chilean, Peruvian and former USSR fishing fleets began targeting on it during the mid-1970s and 1980s. Total catches continued to increase to peak at nearly fivemillion tonnes in 1995 (90 percent off Chile) and then declined to 1.4 million tonnes in 1999, to increase slightly to 2.5 million in 2001 and 1.9 million in 2002. Contrary to the declining trend observed off Chile, a fluctuating increasing trend although at a much lower level is observed off Peru since 1995. Another important small pelagic in ISSCAAP Group 37 is the chub mackerel (Figure B15.4). Catches of this species show two main periods of higher catches. One from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s with a maximum catch of 836 000t in 1978 (65 percent off Ecuador), and the other from the mid-1990s onwards, with a maximum catch of 676 000t in 1999 (78 percent off Peru) and 393 000t (90 percent off Chile) in 2002.

Grouped here with the larger highly migratory tunas within ISSCAAP Group 36 (Figure B15.5 and Table D.5), the eastern Pacific bonito (Sarda chiliensis) used to support an important coastal small pelagic fishery in the area, mainly off Peru. Catches of this species were in the order of 60 000t per year in the 1950s and 1960s, with a record high of 109 000t in 1961. Following the collapse of the Peruvian anchoveta (its main food source), catches of eastern Pacific bonito dropped to 4 300t in 1976, recovering thereafter to almost 40 000t in 1990. Catches again lowered drastically to 5 700t in 1998 and to only 500t in 2000 and 875t in 2002. Catches of tunas show an increasing trend, particularly since the mid-1990s, with yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) peaking at 174 000t in 2001, bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) peaking at 67 000t in 2000 and skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) at 206 000t in 1999.

The main species amongst the demersals in ISSCAAP Group 32 (Figure B15.6) are the South Pacific hake (Merluccius gayi ), with two subpopulations (one off Peru and the other off Chile), the southern (Patagonian) hake (Merluccius australis = polylepis) and the Patagonian grenadier (Macruronus magellanicus ). Catches of this ISSCAAP Group have been generally high and variable since 1985, with a maximum of 751 000t in 1996 and diminishing to 342 000t in 2002. Catches from the Peruvian stock of South Pacific hake have been very variable, with more than 300 000t in 1978 and 235 000t in 1996, and declining to 42 000t in 2002. The 2002 sudden decline lead to the establishment of an almost complete ban on fishing for South Pacific hake off Peru that so far has lasted almost two years. Catches of the Chilean stock of South Pacific hake have been less variable, with maximum recorded catches of 128 000t in 1968 and 116 000t in 2002. Catches of miscellanoeus coastal species in ISSCAAP Group 33 varies around 55 000t per year without noticeable changes in the group totals but with some major changes in the catches of individual species.

Figure B15.5 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 36, Southeast Pacific (Area 87)

Figure B15.5

Source FAO

Figure B15.6 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Groups 32 & 33 Southeast Pacific (Area 87)

Figure B15.6

Source FAO

Figure B15.7 - Annual nominal catches ('000t) of selected species in ISSCAAP Group 57, Southeast Pacific (Area 87)

Figure B15.7

Source FAO

A first major increase in the total catches of squids (mostly jumbo flying squid) in ISSCAAP Group 57 (Figure B15.7) in the early 1990s was short lived. After reaching a record high of 200 000t in 1994 (mainly off Peru) catches dropped to only 11 000t in 1998. However squid catches increased notably with a new record high of 306 000t in 2002. Most catches (95 percent in 2002) are of jumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas ).

* FAO, Marine Resources Service, Fishery Resources Division

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