Orcynopsis unicolor 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Scombridae

Scientific Name: Orcynopsis unicolor (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1817)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Plain Bonito
French Bonite Plate, Palomète, Palomette
Spanish Tasarte, Tasarte Ojon
Cybium altipinne Guichenot, 1861
Cybium bonapartii Verany, 1847
Pelamys unicolor (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1817)
Scomber unicolor Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1817
Thynnus peregrinus Collett, 1879
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2015. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 7 January 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 7 January 2015).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-09-15
Assessor(s): Collette, B., Boustany, A., Carpenter, K.E., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Graves, J., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Nelson, R. & Oxenford, H.
Reviewer(s): Russell, B. & Polidoro, B.
This species is sporadically caught and reported, with fluctuating catch data. There is no directed fishery and no known specific threats. This species is listed as Least Concern.
For further information about this species, see TUNAS_SkiJumpEffect.pdf.
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Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is only found in the Atlantic Ocean. In the eastern Atlantic, its range is centered in the southern Mediterranean Sea extending to Dakar. It is not known from Madeira, the Canary Islands or Cape Verde. There is one vagrant record from Oslo (1879).
Countries occurrence:
Algeria; Croatia; Cyprus; Denmark; Egypt; France; Gambia; Gibraltar; Greece; Israel; Italy; Lebanon; Libya; Malta; Mauritania; Monaco; Morocco; Norway; Senegal; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey; Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – eastern central; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is no fishery directed at this species. It is generally only taken incidentally (Collette and Nauen 1983).

Reported worldwide landings are generally low, and range from 100 tonnes reported in 1950 to over 1,000 tonnes reported in the early 2000s (FAO 2009). Landings reported to International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in the Mediterranean in the last 10 years range from 132 tonnes in 1996 to just two tonnes in 2005. The Mediterranean countries with landings of this species were Algeria (with highest landing values), Morocco, Tunisia and Libya (ICCAT 2009).

In the Mediterranean and Black Sea, 28% of the total reported catch in the 1980–2007 are small tuna species, however several countries from this region are not reporting catches to ICCAT. It is commonly believed that catches of small tunas are strongly affected by unreported or under reported data in all areas (STECF 2009). In the 1980s there was a marked increase in reported landings of all small tuna species combined compared to previous years, reaching a peak of about 139,412 t in 1988. A preliminary estimate of the total nominal landings of small tunas in 2008 is 55,876 tonnes, which included 533 t of Plain Bonito.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a pelagic, oceanodromous and neritic species, confined primarily to temperate waters, but juveniles may be encountered in waters of up to 30°C. They form small schools at the surface, also frequently associated with birds. This species feeds on small fishes, especially sardines, anchovies, jacks, mackerel, bogue and others.

Length of maturity at 50% is 43.5cm fork length (FL) for females and 45 cm FL for males. Both sexes mature at two years in Tunisia (Hattour 2000). In Tunisia, spawning is from May to September (Hattour 2000). A female weighing 5 or 6 kg may carry some 500–600,000 eggs which are spawned in portions.
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This is a species with minor commercial importance. Landing data from Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal reach up to 1,000 tonnes/year. It is caught mainly with hook and line. It is marketed canned or frozen.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Small tunas are exploited mainly by coastal fisheries and often by artisanal fisheries, although substantial catches are also made, either as target species or as bycatch, by purse seiners, mid-water trawlers, handlines, troll lines, driftnets, surface drifting long-lines and small scale gillnets. Several recreational fisheries also target small tunas. Since 1991, the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) by tropical purse seiners may have led to an increase in fishing mortality of small tropical tuna species (STECF 2009). There is a general lack of information on the mortality of these species as bycatch, exacerbated by the confusion regarding species identification (ICCAT 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place.

Data on the catch composition, biology and trends for small tunas are now available from the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, thanks to the ICCAT/GFCM joint expert group in 2008. More information, particularly on specific fishing effort, is needed from all areas. The small tuna fishery seems to be quite important for the coastal communities, both economically and as a source of proteins. The SCRS suggests that countries be requested to submit all available data to ICCAT as soon as possible, in order to be used in future meetings. No management recommendations have been presented by ICCAT due to the lack of proper data, historical series and analyses. ICCAT/SCRS, in 2008, reiterated its recommendation to carry out studies to determine the state of these stocks and the adoption of management solutions.  ICCAT-SCRS in 2009 noted that there is an improvement in the availability of catch and biological data for small tuna species particularly in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. However, biological information, catch and effort statistics for small tunas remain incomplete for many of the coastal and industrial fishing countries. Many of these species are of high importance to coastal fishermen, especially in some developing countries, both economically and often as a primary source of proteins. Therefore the SCRS recommends that further studies be conducted on small tuna species due to the limits of information available (STECF 2009).

Citation: Collette, B., Boustany, A., Carpenter, K.E., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Graves, J., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Nelson, R. & Oxenford, H. 2011. Orcynopsis unicolor. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T170319A6746129. . Downloaded on 26 April 2018.
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