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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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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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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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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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