Euthynnus alletteratus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Scombridae

Scientific Name: Euthynnus alletteratus (Rafinesque, 1810)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Little Tunny, Atlantic Little Tuna, Atlantic Little Tunny, Bonito, False Albacore, Little Tuna
French Bonite, Bonite queue Raide, Ravil, Thonine, Thonine Commune
Spanish Atuncito, Bacoreta, Bacorète, Bonito, Cabaña Pintada, Carachana, Carachana Pintada, Comevíveres
Euthinnus alletteratus (Rafinesque, 1810)
Euthynnus alletteratus alletteratus (Rafinesque, 1810)
Euthynnus alletteratus aurolitoralis Fraser-Brunner, 1949
Euthynnus alliteratus (Rafinesque, 1810)
Euthynnus allitteratus (Rafinesque, 1810)
Euthynnus quadripunctatus (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1817)
Euthynnus thunina (Cuvier, 1829)
Euthynnus alleteratus (Rafinesque, 1810)
Gymnosarda alleterata (Rafinesque, 1810)
Gymnosarda alletterata (Rafinesque, 1810)
Gymnosarda alliterata (Rafinesque, 1810)
Orcynus thunnina (Cuvier, 1829)
Pelamys alleterata (Rafinesque, 1810)
Scomber alletteratus Rafinesque, 1810
Scomber alletteratus Rafinesque, 1810
Scomber quadripunctatus Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1817
Scomber quadripunctatus Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 1817
Thynnichthys brevipinnis (Cuvier, 1832)
Thynnichthys thunnina (Cuvier, 1829)
Thynnus brasiliensis Cuvier, 1832
Thynnus brasiliensis Cuvier, 1832
Thynnus brevipinnis Cuvier, 1832
Thynnus brevipinnis Cuvier, 1832
Thynnus leachianus Risso, 1827
Thynnus leachianus Risso, 1827
Thynnus thunina Cuvier, 1829
Thynnus thunina Cuvier, 1829
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: 2010-09-17
Assessor(s): Collette, B., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Teixeira Lessa, R.P. & Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E.
Reviewer(s): Russell, B. & Polidoro, B.
This is a widespread species in the Atlantic. There is no direct fishery but it is routinely taken by a variety of gears including seines and gill nets in commercial, artisanal and recreational fisheries. Although worldwide catches are relatively stable, there are likely regional declines. Based on available data, this species is listed as Least Concern.  However, close monitoring of catches should continue.
For further information about this species, see TUNAS_SkiJumpEffect.pdf.
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Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is present in the Atlantic Ocean in tropical and subtropical waters, including the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Guinea and west Africa.

Oray and Karakulak (2005) observed in the eastern Mediterranean basin zone high concentrations of E. alletteratus larvae. It is found at least to 10°S in Brazil (Lessa pers comm. 2010), and to the border of Argentina (Figueiredo and Menezes 2000).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Angola; Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Belgium; Belize; Benin; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Costa Rica; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cuba; Curaçao; Cyprus; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; France; French Guiana; Gabon; Gambia; Germany; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Israel; Italy; Jamaica; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Malta; Mauritania; Mexico; Monaco; Montserrat; Morocco; Namibia; Netherlands; Nicaragua; Nigeria; Panama; Portugal; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sao Tomé and Principe; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Slovenia; Spain; Suriname; Syrian Arab Republic; Togo; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Turks and Caicos Islands; United Kingdom; United States; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – southwest; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):150
Upper depth limit (metres):1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is caught in relatively small quantities throughout its range. Reported worldwide landings range from 3,592 t in 1950, to 10,308 t in 2006, with a peak of over 26,000 t reported in 1983 and in 1990 (FAO 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. Reported landings for the 1989–1995 period decreased to approximately 92,637 t, and since then values have oscillated, with a minimum of 69,895 t in 1993 and a maximum of 123,600 t in 2005. Declared catches were 79,228 t in 2006 and 74,087 t in 2007. A preliminary estimate of the total nominal landings of small tunas in 2008 is 55,876 t. The 2008 preliminary catch of small tuna amounted to 55,876 t, of which 11,552 t was Euthynnus alletteratus (STECF 2009). There are more than 10 species of small tunas, but only five of these account for about 88% of the total reported catch by weight. These five species are: Atlantic Bonito (Sarda sarda); Frigate Tuna (Auxis thazard), which may include some catches of Bullet Tuna (Auxis rochei); Little Tunny (Euthynnus alletteratus); King Mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla); and Atlantic Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus) (ICCAT 2009).

In the Mediterranean, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) statistics are very weak for this species with many countries not reporting catches for many years. Landings reported for the period of 1997–2002 fluctuated around 2,500 t. This species is sporadically caught and larger specimens are becoming more available in recent years (Di Natale pers. comm 2008).

In the Caribbean, landings for this species are aggregated as small tuna (Oxenford pers. comm. 2010, Mahon 1996). This species is caught in small quantities in Brazil by several artisanal fisheries in northeast Brazil (Lessa et al. 2009). In northeast Brazil, this species comprised 59.4% of total catch in a survey in Ceara state; 16.4% in Piaui and (15.6%) norte da Bahia (Norbrega et al. 2009).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a reef-associated and oceanodromous species found in neritic waters close inshore (Cervigón 1994). It is found in surface waters, mainly on the continental shelf. Less migratory than Katsuwonus pelamis or other tunas, it is usually found in coastal areas with swift currents, near shoals and offshore islands. In the Mediterranean it is also found far offshore. This schooling species is an opportunistic predator which feeds on primarily on fishes (mainly clupeoid), but also on crustaceans, squids, hyperiid amphipods, heteropods and tunicates (Bahou et al. 2007, Falautano et al. 2007).  Eggs are shed in several batches when the water is warmest.

Little Tunny spawns extensively, both geographically and temporally, throughout its respective range (Schaefer 2001). Eggs are shed in several batches when the water is warmest. Although spawning distributions of all three Euthynnus species have been reported to be restricted primarily to peripheral areas and around islands within their respective ocean basins (Yoshida 1979, Nishikawa et al. 1985), spawning in the eastern tropical Pacific has been shown to be widely distributed from coastal to oceanic waters (Schaefer 1987).

In Tunisia, the sex ratio is 57.77% females (Hajjej et al. 2011). GSI indicated spawning June–Sept. Size at first maturity 43.13 cm fork length (FL) for females, 42.12 for males. Length-weight Wt = 0.0329.FL2.8101 for females, 0.0368.FL2.7832 for males.

This species has an estimated longevity of between eight and 10 years (Cayre and Diouf 1983, Landau 1965), with an estimated age of first maturity of two or three years (Landau 1965, Hattour 2000, Kahraman et al. 2008). Generation length is therefore estimated to be approximately four years.

Maximum size is 100 cm FL. The all-tackle gamefish record is a 16.32 kg fish taken in Washington Canyon, New Jersey in 2006 (IGFA 2011).
Generation Length (years):4
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This is a commercial fish species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This is a commercial species that is part of a multispecies fishery. In open waters it is fished with purse seines and trolling lines; juveniles are also taken with beach seines.

Almost all the commercial catches (99%) are taken by purse-seiners (2,067 t retained and 1,434 t discarded) (STECF 2009). Specialized traps (madragues) are used in Tunisia and Morocco. This species is caught in the artisanal gillnet fishery in northeast Brazil (Nobrega et al. 2009). It is an important resource in Venezuela where they are caught in beach nets, hook and line (Ramirez-Arredondo 1990). Because of its abundance in inshore waters it is a popular sportfish on light tackle, commonly taken by trolling feather jigs, spoons, or strip bait. It is also popular and very effective as live bait for sailfish.

Overall trends in the small tuna catch may mask declining trends for individual species because annual landings are often dominated by the landings of a single species. These fluctuations seem to be partly related to unreported catches, as these species generally comprise part of the bycatch and are often discarded, and therefore do not reflect the real catch. The ICCAT Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) pointed out the relative importance of small tuna fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, which account for 28% of the total reported catch from 1980–2007. Several countries from the Mediterranean and Black Sea are not reporting catches to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). It is commonly believed that catches of small tunas are strongly affected by unreported or underreported data in all areas. 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: It is a highly migratory species listed under Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (FAO Fisheries Department 1994). In Turkey there is a minimum landing size of 45 cm.

Data on the catch composition, biology and trends are now available from the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)/General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) joint expert group 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. No management recommendations have been presented by ICCAT due to the lack of proper data, historical series and analyses. In 2008, the ICCAT Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) 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 Black Sea. However, biological information, catch and effort statistics for small tunas remain incomplete for many of the coastal and industrial fishing countries. Given that, 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., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Teixeira Lessa, R.P. & Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E. 2011. Euthynnus alletteratus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T170345A6759394. . Downloaded on 26 April 2018.
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