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Auxis rochei

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES SCOMBRIDAE

Scientific Name: Auxis rochei
Species Authority: (Risso, 1810)
Common Name(s):
English Bullet Tuna, Bullet Mackerel, Firgate Tuna, Frigate Mackerel, Frigate Tuna, Long Corseletted Frigate Mackerel, Bullet-tuna
French Bonitou, Auxide
Spanish Barrilete Negro, Bonito, Botellita, Melva, Melva Aleticorto, Melvera, Sanguzo
Synonym(s):
Auxis maru Kishinouye, 1915
Auxis ramsayi Castelnau, 1879
Auxis thynnoides Bleeker, 1855
Auxis vulgaris Cuvier, 1832
Scomber bisus Rafinesque, 1810
Scomber rochei Risso, 1810
Thynnus rocheanus Risso, 1827
Taxonomic Notes: Before 1960, many researchers thought that there was only one world-wide species in the genus Auxis, which was recorded as Auxis thazard.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-09-17
Assessor(s): Collette, B., Acero, A., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Cardenas, G., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Guzman-Mora, A., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Salas, E., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Teixeira Lessa, R.P., Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E.
Reviewer(s): Russell, B. & Polidoro, B.
Justification:
This species is widespread and is abundant in many parts of its range. It is important in artisanal fisheries and is caught as bycatch in commercial fisheries, but landings are often mixed with Auxis thazard. Auxis larvae are the most abundant of all the tuna larvae. It 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 cosmopolitan in warm waters and is present in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans, including the Mediterranean Sea.

The Eastern Pacific population is recognized as a subspecies Auxis rochei eudorax (Collette and Aadland 1996), and ranges from California and the mouth of the Gulf of California to Peru, including the Galápagos, Cocos and Malpelo Islands.

Recently Oray and Karakulak (2005) observed in the Eastern Mediterranean basin zone concentrations of A. rochei larvae. It is an intra-Mediterranean migratory species.

This species has been recently reported from central Brazil (Stein 2006), but no recent specimens have been collected from the north (Lessa and Fredou pers. comm. 2010) or south (Amorim pers. comm. 2010) of the country. However, there may have been misidentifications of this species with Auxis thazard.
Countries:
Native:
Albania; Algeria; American Samoa (American Samoa); Angola (Angola); Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Australia; Bahamas; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belgium; Belize; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil; Cambodia; Cape Verde; Cayman Islands; China; Christmas Island; Colombia; Comoros; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Cook Islands; Costa Rica; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cuba; Curaçao; Cyprus; Djibouti; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; France; French Guiana; French Polynesia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Jamaica; Japan; Jordan; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Malta; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mayotte; Mexico; Monaco; Montserrat; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Netherlands; Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire); New Zealand; Nicaragua; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Philippines; Portugal; Qatar; Réunion; Russian Federation; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; Sao Tomé and Principe; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Slovenia; Somalia; South Africa; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Suriname; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Turks and Caicos Islands; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Uruguay; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Viet Nam; Virgin Islands, British; Western Sahara; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – northeast; Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Mediterranean and Black Sea; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – southeast; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Juvenile Auxis are the most abundant juvenile tunas in the world and they are widely distributed in tropical and temperate waters.

FAO does not report statistics for this species as Auxis spp. catches are generally not identified to species. Worldwide reported landings for Auxis spp show a gradual increase from 22,278 tonnes in 1950 to 256,325 in 2006 (FAO 2009).

In the Atlantic, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) includes statistics for Frigate Tuna (Auxis thazard), which are suspected to include both A. rochei and A. thazard. In the total catch of Frigate Tunas, the proportion of each of the two species is not known. However, almost all catches from Venezuela in the Atlantic and from countries in the Mediterranean are thought to be Auxis rochei (Collette and Nauen 1983). ICCAT estimates (ICCAT 2009) for A. rochei range from 12,000 t in 1990, to 2,600 t in 1999.

In the Mediterranean, this is a common species in fisheries and abundance changes from place to place every year (Di Natale pers. comm. 2008). No assessment summary is given for this species from the Mediterranean. The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) is now starting a project to collect data on small tuna-like species in the Mediterranean (Di Natale pers. comm. 2008).

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 6,018 t was Bullet Tuna (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 Indian Ocean, most of the catch of Frigate Tunas are A. thazard rather than this species.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is a pelagic, oceanodromous species that forms schools. It is an off-shore predator feeding on whatever abundant resource is available with a preference for planktonic crustaceans, small cephalopods, and fish larvae. Among crustaceans, Hyperiidean amphipods are often the most important followed by a euphausiids (Mostarda et al. 2007). Because of their abundance, they are considered to be an important element of the food web, particularly as forage for other species of commercial interest.

Longevity is five years, and males and females are of equal length. Adults can grow to 50 cm fork length (FL). Bullet Tuna mature at around two years old, or about 35 cm FL, but this can vary by region. Length at first maturity in the Philippines 17 cm FL, generally before one year of age. Length at 50% maturity of both sexes off India 24 cm and 18.8 cm in the Philippines (Yesaki and Arce 1994, Niiya 2001, Collette 2010). Age of first maturity in Japan is 1.25 years with a longevity of two years (Niiya 2001). Length at first maturity for females is 23.8 cm FL  and 24 cm FL for males in India (Muthiah 1985).

It is a multiple spawner with fecundity ranging between 31,000 and 103,000 eggs per spawning (according to the size of the fish). Larval studies indicate that Bullet Tuna spawn throughout its range (IOTC 2007). The spawning season varies from region to region at sea surface temperatures of 24°C or higher. In the Gulf of Mexico, peaks of batch spawning are reported from March to April, and from June to August while in coastal waters from Cape Hatteras to Cuba and in the Straits of Florida, spawning begins in February. Fecundity estimates range between 31,000 and 162,800 eggs per spawning correlated with the size of the female (Collette 2010).

Maximum Size is 50 cm FL. The all-tackle gamefish record is of a 1.84-kg fish taken off L’Ampolla, Spain in 2004 (IGFA 2011).
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is fished throughout its range, with high regional importance in some areas.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This is a species with high regional commercial importance. It is caught by pole and line and as bycatch in a variety of gears including gill nets. It is also taken incidentally in artisanal purse seines. 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). However here is a general lack of information on the mortality of these species as bycatch, exacerbated by the confusion regarding species identification (ICCAT 2009).

In the Mediterranean Sea the price of this fish is low but quantity can be important in local markets. It is caught mostly by purse seine, set surface gill nets, and small drift nets (the later was banned in EU countries in 2002), hand and troll lines, and traps.

In the Eastern Pacific, there are no major threats for this species. They are sometimes caught as bycatch in purse seines, but are discarded, but it is not known the amount that is caught.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known conservation measures for this species. It is a highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (FAO Fisheries Department, 1994). No fishery management plan currently in place except a prohibition on drift nets in EU countries.

Data on the catch composition, biology and trends 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 ICCAT Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (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. 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., Acero, A., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Cardenas, G., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Guzman-Mora, A., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Salas, E., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Teixeira Lessa, R.P., Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E. 2011. Auxis rochei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 September 2014.
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