|Scientific Name:||Tetrapturus belone|
|Species Authority:||Rafinesque, 1810|
Scheponopodus prototypus Canestrini, 1872
Skeponopodus typus Nardo, 1833
|Taxonomic Source(s):||Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2015. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 7 January 2015. Available at: http://researcharchive.calacademy.org/research/ichthyology/catalog/fishcatmain.asp. (Accessed: 7 January 2015).|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Western Atlantic records of Tetrapturus belone through the early 1960s are of T. pfluegeri (Robins and de Sylva 1963). Tetrapturus belone is very close to T. pfluegeri (Collette et al. 2006, Hanner et al. 2011).
Previously thought to be endemic to the Mediterranean Sea, an International Game Fish Association record from Madeira (June 1980), outside the Mediterranean has been identified, based on a photograph, Tetrapturus belone; identification is uncertain, however expert opinion (B. Collette, J. Graves, J. Schratwieser pers. comm. 2013) is that the record is likely to refer to Tetrapturus belone.
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Least Concern ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Collette, B. & Heessen, H.|
|Reviewer(s):||Allen, D.J., Graves, J., Schratwieser, J. & Polidoro, B.|
|Contributor(s):||Bizsel, K., Boustany, A., Carpenter, K.E., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Graves, J., Juan Jorda, M., Masuti, E., Nelson, R. & Oxenford, H.|
European regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
Tetrapturus belone is known from the Mediterranean Sea, with a single unconfirmed record outside the Mediterranean from Madeira.
Tetrapturus belone is a common and locally abundant epipelagic species. Although catches seems to be increasing, there is no directed commercial fishery and catch and release is commonly encouraged in the recreational fishery. There are no other known major threats. Therefore, T. belone is assessed as Least Concern. However, more research is necessary, as little is known about the biology and ecology of this species, and further information on the scale of take of the species as commercial bycatch and in recreational fisheries is required. While generally not a target species for commercial fleets, spearfish and billfish catches, including those from the recreational fishery, the fish should be monitored carefully.
Tetrapturus belone has been considered to be restricted to the Mediterranean Sea. It is abundant around Italy and recently reported from Tunisia (Hattour 2006). There are no confirmed reports from the Black Sea. Catches have been reported from the Aegean Sea (Pennetti pers. comm. 2008), but no adults have been reported in the northern part of the Aegean.
However, there is an International Game Fish Association record from Madeira (June 1980), outside the Mediterranean Sea (B. Collette pers. comm. 2013); identification, based on a photograph, is uncertain, but expert opinion (B. Collette, J. Graves, J. Schratwieser pers. comm. 2013) is that the record is likely to refer to Tetrapturus belone, representing a possible range extension for this species. It is typically found in the upper 200 m (Nakamura 1985).
Native:Albania; Algeria; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croatia; Cyprus; Egypt (Egypt (African part), Sinai); France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Gibraltar; Greece (East Aegean Is., Greece (mainland), Kriti); Israel; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sardegna, Sicilia); Lebanon; Libya; Malta; Montenegro; Morocco; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Portugal (Portugal (mainland)); Slovenia; Spain (Baleares, Spain (mainland), Spanish North African Territories); Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia)
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:||
Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – northeast; Mediterranean and Black Sea
|Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):||No|
|Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):||No|
|Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:|
|Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):||No|
|Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):||No|
|Continuing decline in number of locations:||No|
|Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:||No|
|Lower depth limit (metres):||200|
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||Catches are known to occur in all the Mediterranean Sea states where driftnet and longline fishing is carried out (STECF 2014). Landings data are limited, but appear to have increased in the most recent years, certainly over a level of about 100 t, even considering that very few countries (Italy, Spain and Portugal) are reporting their catches to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (STECF 2014). In 2005 and 2006 catches have shown fluctuations. Up to 40 fish were caught in the sport fishery over three years in Majorca (Masuti pers.comm. 2008). In Turkey, this species is mostly caught in bycatch and sport fishing, and in recent years the catches appear to be increasing (M. Bilecenoglu pers. comm. 2008).
There are no visible trends in International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) data as only a few countries report their data. The population is thought to be stable.
|Current Population Trend:||Stable|
|Habitat and Ecology:||
Tetrapturus belone is an epipelagic species. Little is known about the biology of this species. It is the most common istiophorid in the central basin of the Mediterranean Sea and completes its life cycle inside this sea as far as is known (Nakamura 1985). Undertakes limited vertical movements, ranging between 0 and 200 m depths (Romeo et al. 2009), generally above or within the thermocline. Spawning occurs from spring to winter (Potoschi 2000).
The Mediterranean Spearfish feeds mainly on pelagic fishes and cephalopods (Castriota et al. 2008). The most important fishes in the diet of the Mediterranean Spearfish in the Strait of Messina, Italy are needlefishes, herrings, and sauries (Belonidae, Clupeidae and Scomberesocidae). A study on resource partitioning between the Mediterranean Spearfish and the Swordfish (Romeo et al. 2009) showed a feeding strategy that is more related to the habitat of the species than to the food availability.
Maximum size exceeds 2.4 m in body length and 70 kg in weight. The all-tackle game fish record supposedly of this species is of a 41.2 kg fish taken off Madeira in June 1980 (IGFA 2014). Information on the distribution of spearfishes in the eastern Atlantic is poorly known; the record was considered more likely to be either T. pfluegeri or T. georgii, neither of which were known in 1980, however revaluation of the photograph accompanying this record suggest that it may in fact refer to T. belone.
|Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:||No|
|Movement patterns:||Full Migrant|
|Use and Trade:||Occurring in small numbers in commercial fisheries, the species is taken mainly as bycatch in longline and driftnet fisheries (STECF 2014) and also in sport fisheries; this is a very popular sportfish in the Mediterranean (J. Schratwieser pers. comm. 2013). Tetrapturus belone is taken at the surface by harpoons, longlines, driftnets and set nets incidental to fishing for swordfish, bluefin tuna, and albacore (Nakamura 1985, STECF 2014).|
Tetrapturus belone is of minor commercial importance, and is mainly a bycatch of tuna fisheries. It is typically caught with hooks, lines and driftnets. It is also one of the target species for the traditional harpoon fishery and is occasionally fished in sport fishing activity, particularly in the Mediterranean.
This species is highly exposed to lipophilic xenobiotic contaminants (Fossi et al. 2002).
This is a highly migratory species mentioned in the Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea. Tetrapturus belone was assessed as Least Concern globally (Collette et al. 2011, IUCN 2011) and in the Mediterranean (Abdul Malak et al. 2011, IUCN 2011).
While generally not a target species for commercial fleets, spearfish and billfish catches, including those from the recreational fishery, should be monitored carefully. Catches of Mediterranean spearfish must be reported by all Mediterranean States concerned, according to the European Community data collection framework and there is a need for better monitoring data to inform management actions, if required (STECF 2014).
Abdul Malak, D.A., Livingstone S.R., Pollard, D., Polidoro, B.A., Cuttelod, A., Bariche, M., Bilecenoglu, M., Carpenter, K.E., Collette, B.B., Francour, P., Goren, M., Kara, M.H., Massuti, E., Papaconstantinou, C. and Tunesi, L. 2011. Overview of the Conservation Status of the Marine Fishes of the Mediterranean Sea. In: IUCN (ed.). Gland, Switzerland.
Castriota, L., Finoia, M.G., Campagnuolo, S., Romeo, T., Potoschi, A., and Andaloro, F. 2008. Diet of Tetrapturus belone (Istiophoridae) in the central Mediterranean Sea. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 88(1): 183-187.
Collette, B., Bizsel, K., Boustany, A., Carpenter, K.E., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Graves, J., Juan Jorda, M., Masuti, E., Nelson, R. and Oxenford, H. 2011. Tetrapturus belone. Cambridge Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 16 December 2013).
Collette, B.B., McDowell, J.R. and Graves, J.E. 2006. Phylogeny of recent billfishes (Xiphioidei). Bulletin of Marine Science 79(3): 455-468.
Fossi, M.C., Casini, S. C. Marsili, L., Neri, G., Mori, G., Ancora, S., Moscatelli, A., Ausili, A., Notarbartolo-di-Sciara, G. 2002. Biomarkers for endocrine distruptors in three species of Mediterranean large pelagic fish. Marine Environmental Research 54(3-5): 667-671.
Hanner, R., Floyd, R., Bernard, A., Collette, B.B. and Shivji, M. 2011. DNA barcoding of billfishes. Mitochondrial DNA 22(S1): 1-10.
Hattour, A. 2006. Premiere observation du marlin de Mediterranee Tetrapturus belone Rafinesque 1810 dans les eaux septentrionales de la Tunisie. Bull. Inst. Natn. Tech. Mer de Salammbo 33: 127-130.
IGFA. 2014. World Record Game Fishes. International Game Fish Association, Dania Beach, Florida.
IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.1. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 28 May 2015).
Nakamura, I. 1985. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop.
Potoschi, A. 2000. Aspetti biologici di Tetrapturus belone (Raf., 1810) nell’area dello Stretto di Messina. Biologia Marina Mediterranea 7: 819-824.
Robins, C.R. and de Sylva, D.P. 1963. A new western Atlantic Spearfish, Tetrapturus pfluegeri, with a redescription of the Mediterranean Spearfish, Tetrapturus belone. Bulletin of Marine Science of the Gulf and Caribbean 13: 84-122.
Romeo, T., Consoli, P., Castriota, L., and Andaloro, F. 2009. An evaluation of resource partitioning between two billfish, Tetrapturus belone and Xiphias gladius, in the central Mediterranean Sea. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 89(4): 849-857.
Sparta, A. 1953. Uova e larve di Tetrapturus belone Raf. e sue forme postlarvali. Boll. Pesca Piscic. Idrobiol. 8(1): 58-62.
Sparta, A. 1961. Biologica e pesca di Tetrapturus belone Raf. e sue forme postlarvali. Boll. Pesca Piscic. Idrobiol. 15(1): 20-24.
STECF. 2014. Review of scientific advice for 2015. Consolidated advice on fish stocks of interest to the European Union (STECF-14-24). Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). European Union, Luxembourg.
|Citation:||Collette, B. & Heessen, H. 2015. Tetrapturus belone. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T170334A48680954. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-1.RLTS.T170334A48680954.en . Downloaded on 09 October 2015.|