Home WORK AREAS Stock Assessment Pacific Island Tuna Scientists in town
Pacific Island Tuna Scientists in town
Monday, 01 July 2013 00:00

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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.

In opening the workshop, Dr Shelton Harley, Principal Fisheries Scientist in the Stock Assessment and Modelling Section noted that “with the landed value of catches in your EEZs exceeding USD 3 billion in recent years, you are all faced with very difficult decisions about your how you countries will exploit these resources -- the aim of this workshop is to make your decisions easier

The Stock Assessment Workshop – known regionally as “SAW” – is primarily aimed at helping the Pacific Island government staff who will be representing their countries at future meetings of the Scientific Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), or who will be advising those representatives, to become familiar with the updates in the tuna fishery assessments that SPC prepares for the Commission. These assessments of regionally-shared stocks are relevant not only to the Commission but also to individual SPC members in informing their own national tuna fishery management plans and policies. These workshops have been running almost annually since 2006 and demand for spaces often outstrips available spots, in fact this year the workshop was held  in the main SPC meeting room.

Participants were equipped with the latest versions of tools for summarising and projecting the outputs of MULTIFAN-CL and SEAPODYM tuna stock assessment models, including TUMAS (the OFP Tuna Fishery Management Simulator) and CES (the OFP Catch Effort Query System).

Georgia Landon of the Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources and Tiga Galo from Tokelau Department of Economic Development, Natural Resources & Environment were both first time participants. Georgia found it to be a “fantastic workshop, particularly for someone who is relatively new to the offshore fisheries industry ..... and the use of practical exercises really helped me to understand the processes involved in stock assessments, by allowing us to manipulate data models and see the outcomes for ourselves” and Tiga saw the workshop as an “opportunity that allows people in fisheries in the region to grow more confident in their roles and become more comfortable about asking questions about what is going on in the oceans”.

The workshop was funded through the support of the EU SciCOFish project and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, through its Japan Trust Fund.

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