PNA Western and Central Pacific skipjack tuna
Certified as sustainable in December 2011.
Species: Skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis)
Location: Western and Central Pacific in the EEZs of Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, FS Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
Fishing methods: 1. Purse seine setting on unassociated/ non FAD free schools
Number of fisheries: 1
More about Skipjack tuna
Skipjack are the smallest of the primary market species of tuna, generally not exceeding 20 kgs in size. They are widely distributed in the Pacific Ocean and are fished as surface schooling adults typically at 2-5 kgs in size. Whilst the majority of the stock biomass is believed to occur in tropical areas, warm poleward-flowing currents extend skipjack distribution to approximately 40o N and 40o S. A substantial amount of information on skipjack movement is available from tagging programmes. In general, skipjack movement is highly variable but is thought to be influenced by large-scale oceanographic variability. Growth and attainment of maturity are rapid relative to other tuna species though significant differences occur amongst individuals. The fishery primarily operates on just several age classes, and annual recruitment to the stock forms a large portion of the total biomass. Maturity may be attained within the first year (40cm), and skipjack are serial opportunistic spawners, under favourable conditions, with high fecundity.
More about the fishing methods
A purse seiner circles the school with a deep curtain of netting, Then the bottom of the net is pursed (closed) underneath the fish school by hauling a wire running from the vessel through rings along the bottom of the net and then back to the vessel, preventing the fish from "sounding", or swimming down to escape the net. Searching for the fish schools and assessing their size and direction of movement is an important part of the fishing operation. Sophisticated electronics, such as echo sounders, sonar, and track plotters, may be used to search for and track schools, assessing their size and movement and keeping in touch with the school while it is surrounded with the seine net.
The PNA catch of free school (unassociated) skipjack in 2011 was 422,921 mt and 662,062 mt 2010
Landings of free school and log set skipjack sold into canneries based in the Pacific Island countries, or transhipped in port for processing outside the region. The market for canned tuna is international with the main market outlets including USA, Europe, Japan and Korea.