RPOA-Neritic Tuna

The Regional Plan of Action on Sustainable Utilization of Neritic Tunas in the ASEAN Region was developed through regional technical consultations, the documents was endorsed by SEAFDEC council and later supported by the 23rd Meeting of the ASWGFi in June 2015.

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Country Profile

Overview of the current neritic tunas fisheries in each relevant ASEAN Member States: namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam joined the program.

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Policy and Recommendation

The Conclusions, Recommendations and Ways Forward were presented at the 2nd Meeting of the Scientific Working Group on Neritic Tuna Stock Assessment in the Southeast Asian Waters.

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The suborder Scombroidei is usually referred to as tuna and tuna-like species (Klawe, 1977; Collette and Nauen, 1983; Nakamura, 1985). It is composed of tunas (sometimes referred to as true tunas), billfishes and other tuna-like species. It includes some of the largest and fastest fishes in the sea. The tunas (Thunnini) include the most economically important species referred to as the principal market tunas because of their global economic importance and the intensive international trade for canning and sashimi. In fact, the anatomy of some tuna species seems to have been purposely designed for loining and canning. Tunas are classified into four genera (Thunnus, Euthynnus, Katsuwonus and Auxis) with 15 species all together.

The principal market tunas from the genus Thunnus are albacore (T. alalunga), bigeye tuna (T. obesus), Atlantic bluefin tuna (T. thynnus), Pacific bluefin tuna (T. orientalis), Southern bluefin tuna (T. maccoyii) and yellowfin tuna (T. albacares). Skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) is the seventh principal market tuna species.

As is evident from the geographic distribution of their catches (Figure 1), the principal market tunas are all oceanic, capable of long migrations or movements and constituting one or two stocks in each ocean. The exceptions are Atlantic and Pacific bluefins, which occur only in their eponymous oceans. Southern bluefin constitute a single stock extending in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.

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Assessment of tuna stock in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) and WCP-Convention Area (CA)(Figure 1) has been done annually by groups of scientist using the scientific data available provided by members and cooperating non-members. Attempts by WCPFC to improve the data collection and methodology of stock assessment from the past to present make major changes to better understanding the status and trends of tuna stock and how developing of the tuna fisheries in the WCPO. Target species are 4 major tuna, i.e., bigeye (Thunnusobesus), yellowfin (Thunnusalbacares),albacore (Thunnusalalunga), skipjack (Katsuwonuspelamis), and tuna like species such as major billfish species, i.e., black marlin (Makairaindica), blue marlin (Makairamazara), striped marlin (Tetrapturusaudax) and swordfish (Xiphiasgladius). Main fishing gears for tuna fisheries in the WCFO are purse seine (associated with drifting Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD), log, and free school), longline, pole and line, troll and others. Different types of fishing gear are used for different tuna species, however number of By-catch from tuna fisheries are also take into consideration by the WCPFC on how fishing interaction to those by-catch species. In this review, by-catch and tuna like-species are not included.

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SEAFDEC has been continuously taking the leading role in the compilation of fishery statistics in the region based on statistics collected by countries at the national levels, with a view of providing information that could be used as basis for policy planning and management for sustainable fisheries. Parallel with the compilation of fishery statistics, SEAFDEC also initiated activities to improve the statistics framework covering the countries in the Southeast Asian region and making use of the international standards, classifications and definitions of fishery statistics, in order to facilitate the compilation, exchange and analysis of the statistics both within and outside the region.

The fishery statistics compiled by SEAFDEC also include statistics on production of major tuna and tuna-like species that are caught by countries in the region. Although there had also been many other initiatives aiming to collect data and information on tuna fisheries, in which the data may be collected in a more detailed manner, the importance of collecting the statistics should not be undermined as it could provide long-term figures on production trends, and such statistics could also be utilized by incorporating with other relevant data and information in order to come up with better picture of the status of tuna resources in the region.

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Regional Plan of Action on Sustainable Utilization of Neritic Tunas in the ASEAN Region


Standard Operating Procedure for Data Collection and Analysis of the Neritic Tunas


Standard Operating Procedure for Collection and Preservation of DNA Tissue Samples


Tuna Identification Sheet



Stock Assessment
(Basic-Level 1)


Stock Assessment
(Basic-Level 2)


Stock Assessment



The 1st SWG Meeting in 2014 agreed that data information to be studied and collected for stock assessment will cover the 7 species of neritic tunas and seerfish such as:

Longtail tuna

Scientist Name   : Thunnus tonggol
Common Name  : Longtail tuna
Abbreviation       : LOT
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Eastern little tuna

Scientist Name   : Euthynnus affinis
Common Name  : Eastern little tuna, kawakawa
Abbreviation       : KAW
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Frigate tuna

Scientist Name   : Auxis thazard
Common Name  : Frigate tuna
Abbreviation       : FRI
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Bullet tuna

Scientist Name   : Auxis rochei
Common Name  : Bullet tuna
Abbreviation:       : BLT
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Striped Bonito

Scientist Name   : Sarda orientalis
Common Name  : Striped Bonito
Abbreviation       : BZX
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Indo-Pacific king mackerel

Scientist Name   : Scomberomorus guttatus
Common Name  : Indo-Pacific king mackerel
Abbreviation       : GUT
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Narrow barred Spanish Mackerel

Scientist Name   : Scomberomorus commerson
Common Name  : Narrow barred Spanish Mackerel
Abbreviation       : COM
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