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Lack of Access to Data Frustates Scientists
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 14:39

Honiara fishing port in Solomon Islands (Credit: Malo Hosken, Copyright: Secretariat of the Pacific Community)A meeting of over 20 stock assessment scientists from the Asia–Pacific region last week heard that the scientific assessment of tunas in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) continues to be hampered by some fishing states not making data available to scientists. Dr Shelton Harley, head of the Stock Assessment and Modelling team within the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Oceanic Fisheries Programme noted that ‘the most frustrating aspect is that the data have been collected and are just sitting on computers in countries and not contributing to the efforts to determine the health and safe harvest levels for the largest tuna resource in the world.

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SPC Fisheries Newsletter #143
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 15:07

The number of active tuna fisheries observers in the Pacific islands region has been well over 400 per year since 2010, and keeps increasing. This is a direct consequence of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s Conservation and Management Measure 2008–01, which prescribes 100% observer coverage of purse-seine vessels operating in the region. For an outside viewer it seems that all that needs to be done to achieve this goal is to hire people with a basic knowledge of what a fish looks like and send them on fishing cruises to record what they see. Piece of cake, right?

Not surprisingly, reality is quite different.

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Three new staff members to join the stock assessment and modelling (OFP SAM) team in 2014
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 15:12

samLate 2013 saw the departures of Dr Tim Adams to warmer and more humid climes, Dr Simon Hoyle to cooler and less humid climes, and Dr Aaron Berger downstairs to a new post within the OFP analysing tagging data. It also saw approval of the New Zealand Scientific Support project, which provided the team a second national scientist position. So over the past couple of months we have been searching far and wide for people to join the team and we are pleased to announce three new additions to the Stock Assessment and Modelling team.

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SPC secures a unique world record – 100,000 tuna tagged by one individual
Friday, 20 December 2013 11:15

The tuna tagging experiments conducted by SPC’s Oceanic Fisheries Programme (OFP) are acknowledged to be among the most comprehensive in the world and have recently achieved yet another milestone.

After four decades of involvement in Pacific Island tuna fisheries, Dr Antony Lewis recently achieved the mark of 100,000 tuna tagged by an individual, which is a world record unlikely ever to be surpassed.

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Artisanal Tuna Monitoring Workshop #1, 11th-14th November 2013
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 13:34

Increasingly, information on the artisanal tuna fishery is requested and required. The requests come from diverse sources including: the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), which encourages Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) to voluntarily provide data on their artisanal fishery; countries themselves, who require more information on the socio-economic aspects of the fishery; agencies evaluating the effectiveness of FAD programmes and any possible impacts of climate change; as well as fishers themselves, who ask to be better informed about the fishery.

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Pacific Island Tuna Scientists in town
Monday, 01 July 2013 00:00

 

Fisheries scientists and technicians from most of the SPC island membership converged on Noumea this week to learn more about the way that SPC’s Oceanic Fisheries Programme is assessing their shared tuna stocks, and to suggest ways in which OFP outputs could be directed even more usefully in helping them to answer the questions asked by Pacific Island tuna fishery decision-makers.

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SPC scientists tackle stock assessment for blue sharks in the North Pacific Ocean
Friday, 14 February 2014 09:14

sheltonH2014_02_14_thumbSPC stock assessment scientists Shelton Harley and Joel Rice have just returned from a one week blue shark stock assessment workshop in San Diego, California. Here Shelton reports on what makes this assessment a little different to others typically undertaken by SPC.

The assessment for blue sharks in the North Pacific is the third shark stock assessment undertaken by SPC as part of our service agreement to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). Two unique features of this assessment are: 1) that it covers an area outside of the mandate of the WCPFC and therefore requires close collaboration with the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the International Scientific Committee for tuna and tuna-like species (ISC); and 2) the SPC stock assessment is one of two that are to be undertaken for the stock.

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A scientific perspective on current challenges for PICT domestic tuna longline fleets that are dependent on south Pacific albacore
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 10:59

grahamP2014_02_12_thumbIn recent years domestic fishing fleets targeting primarily albacore in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) have reported difficulties in maintaining profitability, and as noted in a PITIA press article, in the last few months many vessels based in Fiji have stopped fishing altogether and are tied up at wharves. The PITIA article notes that despite their experiences on the water, scientific stock assessments “continue to produce relatively healthy results”.

The purpose of this article is to summarise some of the recent scientific analyses of south Pacific albacore. It won’t discuss issues such as the prices of fish or fuel, or the mobility of fleets that enhances or constrains their ability to follow or find fish; clearly these issues would be expected to play a large role in the profitability of individual fleets.

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New species of deepwater snapper identified from shape of ear bones
Friday, 13 December 2013 15:42

snapperThe ruby snapper has been a prize catch for deepwater snapper fishers throughout the Pacific for many decades. But recently, we discovered that there are actually two species of ruby snapper: the ruby snapper (Etelis carbunculus), and the pygmy ruby snapper (Etelis marshi). We have now developed a reliable technique to distinguish between the two species, based on the shape of their otoliths (ear bones). The results from this research have been published online in the latest issue of Fisheries Research.

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Conservation forensics help unlock tuna mysteries
Thursday, 10 October 2013 14:44

otholithTunas are highly mobile fishes that often undertake long-range movements to track food and to reproduce at distant spawning grounds. Information on these movements underpins the effective management of commercially important tuna stocks. In the case of South Pacific albacore (Thunnus alalunga), longstanding questions remain regarding the number and location of spawning areas, the degree of connectivity among larval sources, the migration routes of juveniles and adults and the biophysical factors influencing these processes.

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An investigation of E-Reporting and E-Monitoring potential in the WCPFC Tuna Fisheries
Tuesday, 16 July 2013 15:39

The Oceanic Fisheries Programme (OFP) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in collaboration with the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) are conducting a joint study investigating the potential of E-Reporting and E-Monitoring in the WCPFC Tuna Fisheries.

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