Home PROJECTS SciFISH Scientific Support for Oceanic Fisheries Managagement in the WCPO (SCIFISH)
Scientific Support for Oceanic Fisheries Managagement in the WCPO (SCIFISH)
Friday, 28 November 2008 11:56


The overall objective and purpose of SCIFISH project is to address "the conservation and optimum exploitation of fish stocks in the Western and Central Pacific by promoting regional cooperation and coordination of policies aimed at eradicating poverty and securing maximum benefits for the people of the Region".

This project aims to enhance scientific information on oceanic marine resources and their ecosystem. It contributes to the effectiveness of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) both through direct support of the Commission’s science programme and by assisting Pacific ACPs and OCTs to meet their obligations to collect and provide relevant fisheries data and biological information. The project ensures continuity of scientific data collection, analysis, scientific advice generation and capacity building. It also aims to build regional and national capacity in Monitoring Control and Surveillance of regional tuna fisheries with the overall aim of eliminating illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

SCIFISH comprises a programme of fishery monitoring and scientific research over a four-year period that will provide essential information for evaluating the status of stocks and the ecosystem, and for assessing the effectiveness of potential management options. In short, the outputs of this project will provide much of the scientific basis for future management decision making concerning tuna and related stocks in the WCPFC Convention Area. Given the current precarious status of two important stocks (yellowfin and bigeye tuna), long-term economic returns from the fishery may well rely on such management decisions, and the quality of scientific information underpinning them, taken over the next 5–10 years.

The expected results of the project, which will achieve the project purpose, are
  • enhanced oceanic fishery monitoring in Pacific ACPs, and  OCTs and in the Commission Convention Area, generally
  • provide training programmes for scientific observers and port samplers in Pacific ACPs through regional, sub-regional and national workshops
  • provide training attachments of national fishery monitoring staff at SPC headquarters
  • provide operational support (provision of equipment, data forms, funding of observer trips and port sampling operations) for national scientific observer and port sampling programmes
  • provide quality control of scientific observer and port sampling data through data audits, operational reviews of sampling activities, observer debriefing and generally enhancing national capacity in observer and port sampling programmes
  • develop and trial new technologies for enhancing quality of data and timeliness of data collection
  • develop harmonised fisheries monitoring systems and data sharing protocols
  • undertake compliance audits and IUU risk assessments of ACPs
  • develop and implement methodologies to verify fisheries data 
  • develop and trial new technologies, including satellite based technologies for the detection of IUU fishing activities

  • enhanced assessments of the status of oceanic fish stocks and the impacts of fishing upon them
  • conduct large-scale conventional and electronic tagging and associated biological studies of tunas in the WCPO, including both tropical tunas (skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna) and South Pacific albacore
  • conduct analyses of tagging, biological and fishery oceanographic data to obtain a better understanding of the population dynamics, behaviour and biology of oceanic fish stocks
  • incorporate tagging and biological data and/or the results of supporting analyses into models used to assess the status of targeted oceanic fish stocks and the impacts of fishing

  • enhanced understanding of the pelagic ecosystem that supports oceanic fish stocks, including the ecosystem impacts of fishing.
  • develop and enhance models of the pelagic ecosystem supporting oceanic fish stocks targeted by regional tuna fisheries
  • use such models to provide scientific advice on ecosystem aspects of fishery management, including (i) the impacts of environmental variability on oceanic fish stocks and fisheries; (ii) the effects of fishing on the pelagic ecosystem; and (iii) the potential benefits and effectiveness of specific ecosystem management measures, such as marine protected areas


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