Tetrapturus angustirostris 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Istiophoridae

Scientific Name: Tetrapturus angustirostris Tanaka, 1915
Common Name(s):
English Shortbill Spearfish
French Makaire à Rostre Court
Spanish Marlin Trompa Corta
Tetrapturus illingworthi Jordan & Evermann, 1926
Tetrapturus kraussi Jordan & Evermann, 1926

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2009-12-03
Assessor(s): Collette, B., Acero, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Carpenter, K.E., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E.
Reviewer(s): Russell, B., Polidoro, B. & Elfes, C.
This species is widespread but is rare. It is caught primarily as bycatch in longlines and purse seines throughout its range. Catches are not well-reported and are often mixe with aggregate sailfish landings. There have been no stock assessments for this species and there is also limited life-history information. Given that it is caught with the same gear as the Blue Marlin and Striped Marlin, it is likely that the population of this species is declining as well, but there is no data to quantify this. It is therefore listed at present as Data Deficient. More information is needed on catch landings, discards and effort for this rare species.
For further information about this species, see TUNAS_SkiJumpEffect.pdf.
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Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widely distributed throughout the tropical and temperate Indo-Pacific, and enters the eastern Atlantic (via Cape of Good Hope) but does not spawn there. Although it seems unlikely, vagrants have been recorded in the Mediterranean Sea.

In the Eastern Pacific it is found from California and the mouth of the Gulf of California to Peru, including all of the oceanic islands.
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa; Angola; Australia; Bangladesh; Chile (Easter Is.); China; Christmas Island; Colombia; Comoros; Cook Islands; Costa Rica; Ecuador (Galápagos); El Salvador; Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; Guatemala; Honduras; India (Andaman Is., Nicobar Is.); Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Japan; Kenya; Kiribati; Korea, Republic of; Madagascar; Maldives; Marshall Islands; Mauritius; Mayotte; Mexico; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nauru; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Philippines; Réunion; Samoa; Seychelles; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; United States; United States Minor Outlying Islands (US Line Is.); Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Wallis and Futuna; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – northeast; Pacific – southeast; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central; Pacific – eastern central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This is a rare species. The annual take from bycatch is estimated at several hundred metric tonnes per year (Nakamura 1985). FAO reported worldwide landings are very low, and range from eight tonnes in 1995 to 38 tonnes in 2006 (FAO 2009).

From 1994–2004 in the Eastern Pacific, landings varied between 100 and 300 metric tonnes per year. Prior to this time, there was no reporting of landings specific to this species. Landings data are now increasingly reported (IATTC 2008). Reported catches have increased since 1994, reaching a peak of 304 tons in 2001. Recent catches appear stable (274 t in 2002, 293 t in 2003, 208 t in 2004, 278 t in 2005 and 263 t in 2006). The preliminary catch estimate in 2007 is only 2 tons. EU-Spain in 2007 reported very low catches, 0.1 t in the western central Pacific and <0.01 t in the eastern Pacific (STECF 2009).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is oceanic and epipelagic, and is generally found above the thermocline (Nakamura 1985). It is found well offshore and rarely enters coastal waters. It feeds on fishes, cephalopods, and crustaceans.

This fish can weigh up to 52 kg. Average length of fish caught in long lines is 135cm eye fork length in the eastern Pacific. Maximum size is about 2 m and 52 kg in weight. Females are on average slightly larger than males.

Spawning is believed to occur mainly during winter months, especially in warm offshore currents with surface temperatures of about 25°C. Diameters of eggs shed range from 1.3–1.6 mm (mean 1.442 mm) in the equatorial western Indian Ocean (Collette 2010, Nakamura 1985).

Maximum Size is 230 cm total length (TL). The all-tackle game fish record is of a 50 kg fish caught in Botany Bay, Sydney, Australia in 2008 (IGFA 2011).
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not targeted in fisheries, but may be retained when caught incidentally. It is marketed, mostly frozen, in Japan. The flesh is not of high value compared with that of other billfishes, and is used mainly for fish cakes and sausages.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no special fisheries for this species, but it is caught incidentally by commercial long lines and trolling. It is also caught by sports fishermen.

This species is taken as bycatch, similar to blue and striped marlin, primarily in long-lines and secondarily in purse-seines, but the quantity is not generally recorded.

The Shortbill Spearfish is occasionally taken as a bycatch in various fisheries or is a target species in some artisanal or recreational fisheries. The Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries of the EU (STECF) notes that quantities of billfish caught in the Pacific Ocean are still not reported by species and many catches known to occur are not reported at all. The lack of reliable catch data is affecting the understanding of this stock and the management advice (STECF 2009).

This species is primarily taken by longline fisheries (including various EU longline fisheries), but also by purse seines (including EU purse seiners), some artisanal gear and also by various sport fisheries located on both sides of the Atlantic. The increasing use of anchored fish aggregating devices (FADs) by various artisanal and sport fisheries is possibly increasing the vulnerability of these stocks (STECF 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: A highly migratory species, listed under Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (FAO Fisheries Department 1994).

Size limitations, encouragement of catch-and-release sport fishing, and recommendations for using circle hooks instead of J-hooks are measures designed to increase survival in catch-and-release sport fishing (Serafy et al. 2009).

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.1. Marine Neritic - Pelagic
10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.1. Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Collette, B.B. 2010. Reproduction and Development in Epipelagic Fishes. In: Cole, K.S. (ed.), Reproduction and sexuality in marine fishes: patterns and processes, pp. 21-63. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Collette, B.B., McDowell, J.R. and Graves, J.E. 2006. Phylogeny of recent billfishes (Xiphioidei). Bulletin of Marine Science 79(3): 455-468.

FAO. 2009. FishStat Plus Version 2.32. Universal Software for Fishery Statistics Time Series. Available at: www.fao.org/fishery/statistics/software/fishstat/en.

Garcia, S. 1994. World review of highly migratory species and straddling stocks. Rome.

Hanner, R., Floyd, R., Bernard, A., Collette, B.B. and Shivji, M. 2011. DNA barcoding of billfishes. Mitochondrial DNA 22(S1): 1-10.

IATTC. 2008. The Fishery for Tunas and Billfishes in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 2007. In: IATTC Document IATTC-78-05 (ed.), IATTC 78th Meeting 23-27 June 2008. Panama.

IGFA. 2014. World Record Game Fishes. International Game Fish Association, Dania Beach, Florida.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Kikawa, S. 1975. Synopsis of biological data on the shortbill spearfish, Tetrapturus angustirostris Tanaka, 1914 in the Indo-Pacific area. In: NOAA Tech. Rep. (ed.), NOAA Tech. Rep. NMFS SSRF 675(3):39-54..

Kitchell JF, Martell SJD, Walters CJ, Jensen OP, Kaplan IC, Watters J, Essington TE, Boggs CH. 2006. Billfishes in an ecosystem context. Bulletin of Marine Science 79(3): 669-682.

Nakamura, I. 1985. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop.

Serafy, J.E., Kerstetter, D.W. and Rice, P.H. 2009. Can circle hook use benefit billfishes? Fish Fish. 10: 132-142.

STECF. 2009. Review of Scientific Advice for 2010 Part 2. Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, Vigo, Spain.

Ueyanagi, S. 1962. On the larvae of the shortnosed spearfish, Tetrapturus angustirostris Tanaka. Rep. Nankai Reg. Fish. Res. Lab. 16.

Watanabe, H. and Ueyanagi, S. 1963. Young of the larvae of the shortbill spearfish, Tetrapturus angustirostris Tanaka. Rep. Nankai Reg. Fish. Res. Lab. 17.

Citation: Collette, B., Acero, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Carpenter, K.E., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E. 2011. Tetrapturus angustirostris. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T170315A6744759. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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