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

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=21|imageid=74|detail=6|displayname=0|displaydetail=0|displaydownload=0|displaybuttons=0|displaydescription=0|float=left|pluginlink=0|type=0} 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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2011 Tuna Fishery Yearbook released
Friday, 09 November 2012 13:18

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 2011.

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) andswordfish (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 2011

 
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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SPC Fisheries Newsletter #146
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 15:07

In the Pacific Island region, it is estimated that: 1) coastal fisheries resources provide the primary or secondary source of income for up to 50 per cent of households and 50–90 per cent of the animal-sourced protein consumed; 2) most coastal fish and invertebrate resources – at least all those accessible to coastal communities – are over-exploited or exploited to their limits; and 3) the population of many Pacific Island countries is growing rapidly and consequently the need for proteins is also growing.

There are a few alternative sources of protein: a bigger share of the offshore catch (primarily tuna) by industrial fleets could be reserved for local populations, and production from agriculture and livestock could probably be further developed, at least in high islands. But if coastal fisheries keep declining, these sources will not fill the gap, and they will not make up for the loss of income that coastal fisheries provide to communities.

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SPC and FFA work with Niue on catch limits
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 09:06

While purse seining and skipjack tuna are the critical species for many of the equatorial Pacific Island countries, south Pacific albacore tuna is the key species for many of those south Pacific Island countries like Niue. Niue and other members of subregional groups such as Te Vaka Moana have been concerned at the recent expansion of fishing activity in the region on albacore tuna and are looking at ways to strengthen the management arrangements.

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Bycatch Mitigation News
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 13:36

Recent improvements to the web interface of the Bycatch Mitigation Information System (BMIS) have made it easier to use.

Firstly, new user tips on the main search pages for both bycatch mitigation methods and references will help you to find what you're looking for.

Secondly, with one click you can now move from a description of a mitigation method to a list of related references or, alternatively, to a list of related tuna RFMO regulations.

Lastly, you will find an improved layout when you click through to detailed reference information.

If you are interested in bycatch news, please look at our home page or subscribe to our RSS feeds.

The illustration above is of a circle hook.·Circle hooks are employed as a bycatch reduction technique in commercial·fisheries and catch-and-release·recreational fisheries. However, they were probably first·used by Polynesian and Amerindian fishermen in the Pacific·hundreds or even thousands of·years ago.
 

More on the BMIS...

 
New study on albacore reveals that males grow larger than females
Thursday, 21 June 2012 10:43

plos_oneIn the first stock-wide study of tuna growth, scientists at SPC have discovered that male South Pacific albacore (Thunnus alalunga) grow larger than females, and that albacore in the central Pacific grow larger than those in the west.

Published in the journal PLoS ONE, the research article is authored by scientists from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and Australia’s CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research.

The study was made possible by the dedication and significant efforts from the many fisheries observers, port samplers, fishers and scientists who participated in the collection of over 3000 otoliths (ear bones) and other biological samples from albacore across the South Pacific Ocean, from the east coast of Australia to Pitcairn Islands.

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Partnership with SPC supports sustainable development of Solomon Islands tuna fisheries
Tuesday, 13 March 2012 09:41

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Joint media release by Solomon Islands Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and SPC.

In Honiara last week, Mike Batty, Director of SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division, presented the findings of a six-month study on Solomon Islands tuna fisheries to Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) staff and key stakeholders.

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