humpback-whaleA set of 20 identification cards outlining the description of 30 different species of whales, dolphins and seabirds have been produced by the Pacific Community (SPC) to assist Pacific Islands Regional Fisheries Observers with identifying species of special interest while onboard commercial tuna fishing vessels.

The new waterproof pocket cards, which have been produced with financial assistance from the Japan Trust Fund, contain the common and scientific name of the species as well as outline key features that assist with their identification.

They will be distributed to observers across the entire Pacific Islands region as part of SPC’s continuous efforts to ensure observers possess the necessary information and tools to accurately identify and record catch, as well as sightings of species of special interest and their interaction with fishing activities.

“Recording accurate assessments of target fisheries stocks as well as recording the impact of fishing activities on all species, including those that are protected, is critical for effective fisheries management,” SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) Division Chief Scientist and Deputy-Director (Oceanic Fisheries), Dr John Hampton said.

“When observers collect information about these species, their ability to accurately identify the rarer species is often critical because a small change in their population numbers has a proportionally greater significance. These handy identification cards will greatly assist with this process.”

These new Whale, dolphins and sea birds ID cards complement the PIFRO purse seine fish ID cards and the Marine species identification manual for horizontal longline fisherman produced by SPC in 2014 and 2008 respectively.

Through its FAME Division, SPC provides scientific and technical expertise to support the sustainable development and management of fisheries resources in the Pacific region for economic growth, food security and environmental conservation.

Media contact
Aymeric Desurmont SPC Fisheries Information Officer, aymericd@spc.int or +687 26 01 82

Useful link
The Whales, dolphins and seabirds ID cards for Pacific Islands Regional Fisheries Observers are available on the SPC website here