Home WORK AREAS Stock Assessment 6th Annual Tuna Stock Assessment Workshops
6th Annual Tuna Stock Assessment Workshops
Friday, 22 July 2011 14:03

sawA record number of participants attended this year’s annual stock assessment workshops hosted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Oceanic Fisheries Programme (SPC-OFP). A total of 30 participants from 23 Pacific countries attended the workshops which are now recognised as an important program in capacity building for fisheries officers and managers in the region. This year, for the first time, participants were introduced to the Tuna Management Simulator (TUMAS) a new software tool developed by the OFP that allows fishery managers and advisors to evaluate the performance of different management options.  TUMAS allows commission members to explore and compare the results of different management options and assists them to make management decisions and negotiate at regional fisheries meetings.

 

The OFP produces regular assessments for the tuna stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) region. These assessments provide information regarding the health of the regions tuna stocks and the potential impact of different management measures upon these stocks and the fisheries that target them. They are technically complex assessments which incorporate the very latest scientific developments and innovations. Thus, it is important that fisheries managers from Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICT) have the capacity to interpret the outputs from these assessments and the implications of the results for the management of their domestic and regional tuna fisheries. To assist in building such capacity, the OFP has hosted a series of annual stock assessment workshops (SAW) since 2006. These workshops are targeted at Pacific Island senior fishery officers who generally play a major role in providing advice to their fisheries managers and attend the annual Scientific Committee meetings of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

 

  This year, two SAWs were held at SPC headquarters in Noumea from 20 to 25 June and 28 June to 4 July 2011. The first workshop was designed for fisheries officers and managers who had not received significant exposure to stock assessment concepts and principles, while the second workshop was for participants who have attended the SAWs in previous years.

 

The first workshop focussed on providing participants with an understanding of fish population dynamics, the interaction between fisheries and fish populations, and the fundamental concepts and basic principles of stock assessment. The workshop also included a session introducing participants to the key biological reference points used by the WCPFC to determine the status of tuna stocks in the region. An appropriate balance of presentations, informal group discussions and practical computer-based exercises was used to deliver the material during the workshop to ensure that all participants received sufficient opportunities to learn and ask questions. The workshop ended with discussions about the key information that can be drawn from stock assessments to inform management decisions at the national and regional levels.

 

To refresh the memories of returning participants, the second workshop started with a revision of fish population dynamics and stock assessment principles. Participants were then introduced to the concepts of uncertainty and sensitivity analyses which are key concepts to understand when assessing the assumptions typically made in the regional tuna stock assessments.

 

The major focus of this workshop, however, centred around management option analyses; in particular, the use of a new software tool (TUMAS) that was developed by the OFP. TUMAS is a user-friendly simulator that allows the user to evaluate the potential effects of different management options on the regions tuna stocks and the fisheries that exploit them. Participants were given several days to become familiar with using TUMAS which culminated in each participant developing and reporting on their own management options analysis. In this exercise, participants were asked to develop their own management objectives and then explore the performance of a range of management options in meeting these objectives. Responses from participants about TUMAS were overwhelmingly positive, with participants eager to use TUMAS in their countries as a tool to allow stakeholders to visualise how changes in policy within a region could potentially affect tuna stocks and the fisheries that exploit them.

 

Invitations to the workshops were sent to all SPC member countries, as well as the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. To maintain participants’ comprehension of stock assessment concepts and principles, previous and current workshop material is made available on SPC’s website and online revision exercises are distributed to returning participants during the year.

 

Funding for participants from each country to attend the workshops was provided by the WCPFC-administered Japanese Trust Fund and West Pacific East Asia Oceanic Fisheries Management Project, the Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council, and the EU-funded SciFish project.

 

Participants to the SAW 2011 Workshop 1.

Stock Assessment Workshop 1 (left to right). Front row: Efoti Ala, Naiten Bradley Phillip Jr., Tupulaga Poulasi, Leon Hiki, Mainui Tanetoa Centre row: Roseti Imo, Valerie Chan, Temarewe Tekatau, Marianne Teregeyo, Leontine Baje, Julie-Ann Kerandel, Fabrice Bouyé. Back row: Bruno Mugneret, Don Bromhead, Monte Depaune, Manu Ducrocq, Joel Rice, Hugues Gossuin, Ashley Williams.

 

Participants to the SAW 2011 Workshop 2.

Stock Assessment Workshop 2 (left to right). Front row: Julie-Ann Kerandel, Lilis Sadiyah, Elaine Garvilles, Cathy Sisior, Valerie Chan, Aketa Taanga, Lucy Joy. Second row: Netani Tavaga, Thomas Usu, Roseti Imo, James Tafatu, Brian Kumasi, Pam Maru, Berry Muller. Third row (left to right): Ashley Williams, Pham Viet Ahn, Hau Halafihi, Thomas Flores, Ueta Fa’asili. Back row: Don Bromhead, Joel Rice.

 
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