Fishery Improvement Projects

Ecuador Mahi

  • Species Name: Mahi mahi (Coryphaena hippurus)
  • Location/Region: Ecuador EEZ and international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean
  • Gear Type: Longline
  • Volume: 10,175 MT (annual average)
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Ecuador Mahi

FIP Stage: 5 (Improvements on the Water)
Last Updated: October 24, 2016

Mahi mahi is Ecuador’s largest and most socio-economically important artisanal fishery in Ecuador. The majority of the catch is exported to the United States. This highly migratory species presents a critical challenge for sustainability of the fishery, as the development of international management measures is required across many countries in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Other issues include turtle bycatch and limited scientific observers to monitor the longline fleet. The active involvement of FIP Stakeholders, including the Ecuadorian Vice Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Sub-Secretary of Fishery Resources, and FIP Participants drives improvements against the Marine Stewardship Council standard.

  • © WWF-US | Molly Edmonds

  • © WWF-US | Molly Edmonds

  • © WWF-US | Molly Edmonds


FIP efforts address governance, fishing practices, and environmental impacts of the fishery so that it can meet the MSC standard. This work is steered by FIP Participants and FIP Stakeholders and includes:
  • Increasing the observer presence to the target of 10% of the longline fleet through the implementation of the national observer program.
  • Reducing sea turtle bycatch with fishermen through the promotion and use of circle hooks, best handling practices, and specifically designed floats developed in Ecuador to reduce turtle entanglements.
  • Establishing new policies for the mahi mahi fishery that include gear and effort regulations, closed seasons, a minimum catch size, scientific monitoring programs, a control system with appropriate and effective enforcement, and co-management that includes the fishing sector in the decision-making process.
  • Working with the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) scientists and other fishing countries in the Eastern Pacific Ocean to develop a regional mahi mahi stock assessment and reach agreement on international management measures.


We encourage action across the supply chain to support FIP progress. A FIP Participant is an industry member that is part of the seafood supply chain for the FIP product and is actively engaged in supporting the FIP.

How Can I Become a FIP Participant?

A FIP Participant is an industry member that is part of the seafood supply chain for the FIP product (e.g., retailers, food service providers, suppliers, manufacturers, etc.) and is actively engaged in supporting the FIP. WWF-US encourages support of FIP participants, and will acknowledge FIP Participants on our sustainable seafood website and in other communications regarding our FIP work. To be considered by WWF-US as a FIP Participant the participating entity is expected to follow the WWF-US FIP Participant Policy. For more information about the specific actions you can take to become a FIP participant in the Ecuador Mahi FIP, please refer to the Ecuador Mahi Industry Ask.


The Marine Stewardship Council uses 28 performance indicators to assess the sustainability of fisheries. The chart represents the percentage of indicators that would likely pass, pass with conditions for improvement, or fail upon the fishery’s full assessment.

Ecuador Mahi FIP Status

Initial Assessment

Implementing Improvements

We use a step-wise process to evaluate the fishery’s performance and identify sustainability issues, and then to implement improvements and report results. Want to dive deeper into this FIP’s progress on each of the MSC performance indicators? Visit

“Plan Dorado” Secures a Future for Ecuador’s Mahi Fishery

Before WWF and its partners launched the Ecuador mahi fishery improvement project, there was good reason to question the health and sustainability of this vast and productive fishery. There was no ongoing science, so neither industry nor government had an understanding of the health of Ecuador’s mahi stocks. That all began to change when Pablo Guerrero walked into Jimmy Martinez’ office.

Get Involved. Get Started.


We encourage active participation in improvement projects and engage stakeholders at all levels. Please contact our team at, or via the contact form below.