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Identifying FAD-fishing
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 08:54

stevenh2015_08_25-sp_brailleTuna purse-seine catches associated with Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) are typically more diverse than catches set on “free school” tuna, including both smaller target tuna as well a variety of bycatch species that are often discarded.  In response, an annual FAD-fishing moratorium, of several months’ duration and Pacific-wide, has been implemented since 2009.  Despite the moratorium, there remains concern about adherence to FAD-free fishing requirements.  Additionally, seafood producers and consumers seek certification regarding the source of purse seine captured tuna.

Given this background, we became interested in developing a FAD-association verification test.  We have developed a simple technique, based on observer catch sampling, to determine whether a purse seine set is likely to have been associated with a FAD.  Our methodology, which can be easily implemented “in the field”, has a prediction accuracy rate of up to 86%.  Details of the methodology have been published, in Open Access format, in the journal Fisheries Research.

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2015 Tuna Stock Assessment Workshop
Wednesday, 17 June 2015 10:37

SAW_2015 OFP is conducting a week-long Stock Assessment Workshop at SPC headquarters in Noumea from 22 to 27 June 2015.  A total of 26 regional scientists, representing 15 South Pacific countries as well as observers from the Forum Fisheries Agency and University of the South Pacific will participate.  The workshop will be led by OFP’s two National Scientists, Dr. Stephen Brouwer and Dr. Steven Hare.  The long-term purpose of these workshops – which have been run since 2006 – is to increase regional fisheries officers ability to: understand and interpret the results from the regional oceanic fisheries stock assessments; communicate this information to fishery managers within their countries; and increase their confidence to participate in scientific discussions of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), in particular during meetings of its Scientific Committee.  The workshop will feature presentations from several OFP scientists and material presented in lectures will be covered in daily practicals where participants will learn to conduct basic stock assessment analyses using models developed in Excel spreadsheets.

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Purse-seine fish ID cards for Pacific Islands Regional Fisheries Observers (PIRFO)
Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:33

These identification cards have been produced to help with the identification of fish species encountered by Fisheries Observers while onboard commercial tuna purse seiners that fish in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). The species included in these cards are the ones commonly recorded by observers on tuna purse seine vessels operating in the WCPO. The cards can be easily accessed by observers while working on deck during net hauling and brailing operations to verify and correctly identify fish species. The cards also assist in training observers operating within the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Convention Area.

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New fish species discovered in the waters of New Caledonia
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 14:51

Fish

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

While on a boat not far from Toombo Reef near Boulari Pass on 11 August 2014, Pierre and William Larue found a small silvery fish floating on the water.

 

The fish was first given to the IRD (French Institute of Research for Development) and then SPC took over the task of identifying this small hatchetfish from the Sternoptychidae family.

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The best way to protect heavily depleted shark populations? Stop trying to catch them!
Friday, 12 September 2014 15:01

sheltonh2014_09_12-silky_shark_thumbFriday 12 September 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Noumea, New Caledonia

It was previously thought that the two heavily depleted pelagic sharks in the Western and Central Pacific, the silky and the oceanic whitetip, were victims of unintended bycatch, but a startling new study from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) shows that sharks are actually being specifically targeted by some tuna longline boats operating in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

 

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Condition of bigeye tuna in the western and central Pacific worsening, skipjack and yellowfin healthy – new SPC assessments released
Friday, 25 July 2014 15:48

johnh2014_07_25_thumbFriday 25 July 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) headquarters, Noumea, New Caledonia

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) this week released new assessments on the status of key regional tuna stocks – skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna – which show that skipjack and yellowfin remain in a reasonably healthy state, but bigeye, the mainstay of the tropical longline fishery, has now been reduced to less than 20% of its unfished stock size. The assessments, along with over 40 scientific papers produced by SPC, are due to be presented at the 10th meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) Scientific Committee, being held in Majuro, Marshall Islands, in early August.

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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 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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2012 Tuna Fishery Yearbook now available
Thursday, 13 February 2014 13:40

Yearbook coverThe Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) Tuna Fishery Yearbook, which is produced for the WCPFC by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, presents annual catch estimates in the WCPFC Statistical Area from 1950 to 2012.

The tables of catch statistics cover the main commercial tuna and billfish species caught in the region:albacore (Thunnus alalunga), bigeye (Thunnus obesus), skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), yellowfin(Thunnus albacares), black marlin (Makaira indica), blue marlin (Makaira nigricans), striped marlin(Tetrapturus audax) and swordfish (Xiphias gladius). The WCFPC, through their member countries, are now obliged to compile estimates of key shark species, some of which are now covered in the longline fleet tables: blue shark (Prionace glauca), silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), oceanic whitetip shark(Carcharhinus longimanus) and mako sharks (Isurus spp.). Catches of other species are not covered explicitly, and discards are not considered.

Tuna Fishery Yearbook 2012

 
2013 Tuna Fishery Yearbook now available
Thursday, 13 February 2014 13:40


The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) Tuna Fishery Yearbook, which is produced for the WCPFC by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, presents annual catch estimates in the WCPFC Statistical Area from 1950 to 2013.

The tables of catch statistics cover the main commercial tuna and billfish species caught in the region:albacore (Thunnus alalunga), bigeye (Thunnus obesus), skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), yellowfin(Thunnus albacares), black marlin (Makaira indica), blue marlin (Makaira nigricans), striped marlin(Tetrapturus audax) and swordfish (Xiphias gladius). The WCFPC, through their member countries, are now obliged to compile estimates of key shark species, some of which are now covered in the longline fleet tables: blue shark (Prionace glauca), silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), oceanic whitetip shark(Carcharhinus longimanus) and mako sharks (Isurus spp.). Catches of other species are not covered explicitly, and discards are not considered.

Tuna Fishery Yearbook 2013

 
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