SCRS/2003/084 Col. Vol. Sci. Pap. ICCAT, 56(3): (2004)

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1 SCRS/2003/084 Col. Vol. Sci. Pap. ICCAT, 56(3): (2004) AN OVERVIEW OF THE ACTIVITY OF THE SPANISH SURFACE LONGLINE FLEET TARGETING SWORDFISH (Xiphias gladius) DURING THE YEAR 2001, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN J. Mejuto 1, B. García-Cortés 1, J.M. de la Serna 2, A. Ramos-Cartelle 1 SUMMARY This paper presents a graphic and descriptive summary of the activity of the Spanish surface longline fleet targeting swordfish (Xiphias gladius) carried out in 2001 in international waters of the Atlantic (including the Mediterranean), Indian and Pacific Oceans, providing data on catch, nominal effort and nominal catch rates in 5x5 degree formats is provided. In 2001 the nominal catch in round weight of swordfish taken in the Atlantic Ocean by surface longliners was 9,756 tons and in the Mediterranean, 1,315 tons. Catches in the Indian and Pacific Oceans reached 1,860 and 3,426 tons respectively. RÉSUMÉ Le présent document donne un résumé graphique et descriptif de l activité de la flottille palangrière de surface espagnole ciblant l espadon (Xiphias gladius) menée en 2001 dans les eaux internationales de l Atlantique (y compris la Méditerranée), de l océan Indien et de l océan Pacifique. Il fournit des données sur la capture, l effort nominal et les taux de capture nominale dans des formats de 5º x 5º. En 2001, la capture nominale en poids vif d espadon pris dans l océan Atlantique par des palangriers de surface a atteint t et t dans la Méditerranée. Les captures dans les océans Indien et Pacifique ont atteint t et t respectivement. RESUMEN Este trabajo presenta un resumen gráfico y descriptivo de la actividad llevada a cabo en 2001 por la flota española de palangre de superficie dirigida al pez espada (Xiphias gladius)en aguas internacionales de los océanos Atlántico (incluyendo el Mediterráneo), Índico y Pacífico. Se facilitan datos sobre captura, esfuerzo nominal y tasas de captura nominal en formato de cuadrículas 5x5. En 2001 la captura nominal en peso vivo del pez espada capturado por palangreros de superficie fue de t en el Atlántico y de t en el Mediterráneo. Las capturas en el Océano Índico y Pacífico alcanzaron las t y t respectivamente. KEYWORDS Swordfish, Longline, Spanish fleet, CPUE 1 Instituto Español de Oceanografía, P.O. Box 130, A Coruña. Spain. 2 Instituto Español de Oceanografía, P.O. Box 285, Fuengirola. Spain. Fax: Phone:

2 Introduction The scientific statistical information on the activity of the commercial Spanish longline fleet is routinely reported to different Regional Fisheries Organizations (ICCAT, CTOI, IATTC) for different scientific purposes within these organizations. Descriptive information is an important tool for the correct interpretation of several parameters commonly used as indicators of these fisheries. Trends such as CPUEs and a precise description of fisheries are very important in defining accurate models for assessment and biological interpretation of the data. The purpose of this paper is to update the information provided in earlier documents by including plots and descriptions of the activity of the Spanish fleet in the year 2001, the last year for which data are available. Material and methods The data bases from year 2001, which reflect the activity of the Spanish surface longline fleet catching swordfish in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, have been plotted. Additional information from the Indian and Pacific Oceans was also plotted to provide a broader overview that in some cases is very useful to define possible stock boundaries. These data bases include detailed information by 5x5 degree squares of the total activity of the Spanish fleet, including nominal effort (thousands of hooks), and nominal CPUEs in number of fish and weight (kg round weight) per thousand hooks. The nominal CPUE in weight by quarter is also included (Q1: January, February, March; Q2: April, May, June; Q3: July, August, September; Q4: October, November, December). The nominal CPUEs in number by size categories were plotted in three size groups. Size CAT 1: sizes LJ-FL <= 120 cm., Size CAT 2: sizes 125 cm<= LJ-FL<=160 cm., Size CAT 3: sizes > 160 cm LJ-FL. Additional information on methodological bases can be found in previous papers (MEJUTO et al. 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003). Results A total number of 92,823 fishes were individually size-sampled in the Atlantic Ocean, 15,543 in the Mediterranean Sea, 14,105 in the Pacific and 9,877 in the Indian Ocean, during The activity carried out in the Indian and Pacific Oceans has only been included in this document for general comparative and descriptive purposes. Figures 1 and 2 show plots of landings in number and weight, respectively, during The data from the Atlantic continues to suggest a certain continuity in the resource among most of the fishing areas as described since years ago (FARBER 1988). Figure 3 shows plots of nominal effort in thousands of hooks set by the fleet in the year The american style longline was recently introduced by the spanish fleet in both, North and South Atlantic fleets. The american style gear uses a greater number of hooks per set than the mumber of hooks reported in the standard Florida style gear (HOEY et al. 1988) and considerably fewer than the number of hook used in the traditional longline style. The vessels using traditional spanish longline style mainly operate in the North Atlantic areas, usually North of 15º N. Most of the vessels fishing in the South Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans are using the american style longline. Figures 4 and 5 show plots of nominal CPUEs in number and weight, respectively, obtained during As reported in previous papers (MEJUTO et al. o.c.), the highest catch rates seem to occur in a large number of squares of the SW Atlantic. But keeping in mind that in the North Atlantic the fleet targets both swordfish and blue shark (MEJUTO & De la SERNA 2000), the nominal CPUEs obtained might be affected by this fishing strategy. Moreover, with the new american style longline gear it is possible to attain catch rates (per hook set) that are far superior to those obtained using the traditional longline. A similar effect on the catch rates was also seen in the Indian (GARCÍA-CORTÉS & MEJUTO in press) and Pacific Oceans (MEJUTO & GARCÍA- CORTÉS in press) where the CPUE is also measured in relation to the number of hooks set. However, these differences disappear or diminish substantially when the CPUE is measured per number of sets or per milles set (MEJUTO et al. 2003). During this year, the mean nominal CPUE in weight by thousand hooks and its confidence interval (95%) obtained for all types of gears combined in the total Atlantic was , in the Mediterranean sea it was The overall figure for the Indian and Pacific Oceans was , where the preferential gear used was the 933

3 American longline style gear. If we consider these CPUEs in terms of the different gear configurations in the Atlantic Ocean as a whole, the results of the mean values suggest importants differences. The traditional type longline gear yielded a nominal CPUE in weight ranging between 235 to 263, and the mean nominal CPUE was However, the mean nominal CPUE in weight obtained with the american style longline gear was Figure 6 shows nominal CPUE in weight (kg, round weight) by thousand hooks obtained by quarter (Q) in the year The highest CPUEs were obtained in Q1 and quarter four Q4. In Q3 the effort of the fleet focused on the area north of 0º N, therefore the highest CPUEs were found between 0º-10º N. The catch rates in number of fishes per size categories (CAT) are shown in Figure 7. For CAT1 the highest values pertained to the NW Atlantic and Mediterranean. In none of the squares examined did these values reach the upper range chosen (>10). CAT2 presents high catch rates in both the North and South Atlantic, particularly in the SW and slightly lower values in the Mediterranean, although its distribution would appear to be fairly homogeneous throughout the Atlantic Ocean. The South Atlantic squares, however, appear to show catch rates in number that are generally higher than those obtained in the most of North Atlantic squares. The results for CAT3 would appear to be just the opposite of those found in CAT1. Higher catch rates in number were found in the South Atlantic, and like CAT2 they were particularly high in the SW Atlantic. Nevertheless, these probable different catch rates obtained for any of the size categories between the SE and SW Atlantic should be related to the thermal conditions of the surface sea layers and to the fishing strategy applied by the Spanish fleet in terms of the target species as well as the change in fishing gear. Acknowledgements We would like to thank Enrique Alot, Enrique Majuelos, Isabel Gonzalez, Jose Lorenzo y Manuel Quintans, among others, for their untiring collaboration and their great efforts in compiling the basic information and updating the data bases used in this paper. This paper was carried out with funds of the IEO project: SWOATL03. Literature cited FARBER, M. I., An overview of available information pertinent to interpreting possible stock structure of swordfish in the Atlantic Ocean. ICCAT. Col. Vol. Sci. Pap. Vol. XXVII: GARCÍA-CORTÉS, B., J. Mejuto, in press. A description of the activity of the Spanish surface longline fleet targeting swordfish (Xiphias gladius) in the Indian ocean with special reference to the year Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, IOTC - Working Party of Billfish 2003 (Perth, Australia). HOEY, J.J.,.J. Mejuto, S. Iglesias, R.Conser (1988). A comparative study of the United States and Spanish longline fleet targeting swordfish in the Atlantic Ocean, north of 40º latitude. ICCAT. Col. Vol. Sci. Pap. Vol. XXVII: MEJUTO, J., B. García, J.M. de la Serna Activity of the Spanish surface longline fleet catching swordfish (Xiphias gladius) in the Atlantic, years 1994 and ICCAT Col.Vol.Sci.Pap. Vol. XLVI(3): MEJUTO, J., J.M. de la Serna, B. García Some considerations on the spatial and temporal variability in the sex-ratio at size of the swordfish (Xiphias gladius L.). ICCAT Col. Vol. Sci. Pap. Vol XLVIII(1): MEJUTO, J., B.García, J.M. de la Serna Activity of the Spanish surface longline fleet catching swordfish (Xiphias gladius) in the year ICCAT Col. Vol. Sci. Pap. Vol. XLIX(1): MEJUTO, J., B.García, J.M. de la Serna Activity of the Spanish surface longline fleet catching swordfish (Xiphias gladius) in the year ICCAT Col. Vol. Sci. Pap. Vol. LI(CD vers. SCRS/99/075) 934

4 MEJUTO, J., J.M. de la Serna Standardized catch rates by age and biomass, for the North Atlantic swordfish (Xiphias gladius) from the Spanish longline fleet for the period and bias produced by changes in the fishing strategy. ICCAT. Col. Vol. Sci. Pap. Vol. LI (CD vers. SCRS/99/056). MEJUTO, J., B.García-Cortés, J.M. de la Serna Brief note about the activity of the Spanish surface longline fleet catching swordfish (Xiphias gladius) in the Atlantic and Mediterranean during the year ICCAT Col. Vol. Sci. Pap. Vol. LIII(CD vers. SCRS/00/154). MEJUTO, J., B. García-Cortés, in press. Actualización de la Información Científico-técnica sobre la actividad de la flota Comunitaria (Española) de palangre de superficie de Pez Espada (Xiphias Gladius) en el Pacífico S.E., con especial referencia al año Doc. BSTC/2003. MEJUTO, J., B.García-Cortés, J.M. de la Serna An overview of the activity of the Spanish surface longline fleet targeting swordfish (Xiphias gladius) during 2000, with special reference to the Atlantic ocean. ICCAT Col. Vol. Sci. Pap. Vol. LV (CD vers. SCRS/02/098). 935

5 Figure 1. Number of swordfish landed by the Spanish surface longline fleet in the year Figure 2. Swordfish landings in weight (tons of round weight) carried out by the Spanish surface longline fleet in the year Figure 3. Nominal effort in thousands of hooks carried out by the Spanish surface longline fleet in the year

6 Figure 4. Nominal CPUE in number of swordfish landed per thousand hooks set by the Spanish surface longline fleet in the year Figure 5. Nominal CPUE in kg of round weight of swordfish per thousand hooks set by the Spanish surface longline fleet in the year

7 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Figure 6. Nominal CPUE in kg of round weight of swordfish landed by thousands of hooks set by the Spanish surface longline fleet by quarter (Q) of 2001 in the Atlantic Ocean. 938

8 CAT1 CAT2 CAT3 Figure 7. Nominal CPUE in number of swordfish by size class (CAT, cm, LJFL): CAT1 < 125 cm; CAT2: cm; CAT3>160 cm; during 2001 in the Atlantic ocean. 939

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