Eighth Regular Session of the Scientific Committee (SC8) Concludes in Busan
The Eighth Regular Session of the Scientific Committee (SC8) was held at the Lotte Hotel, Busan, Korea from 7–15 August 2012. Around 150 scientists and fishery managers attended the meeting, representing WCPFC Members, Cooperating Non-Members, Participating Territories, and observers from inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations.
SC8 considered the results of peer review workshop on 2011 bigeye stock assessment, tuna fisheries in the Pacific Ocean, and issues related with data gaps, stock assessments for the provision of management advice to the Commission, and ecosystem and bycatch. The four stock assessments conducted in 2012, south Pacific albacore, southwest Pacific striped marlin, oceanic whitetip shark and silky shark, were presented for SC8 to review and prepare management recommendations for consideration by the Commission (WCPFC9) in December 2012. A data review and CPUE analysis was conducted on south Pacific swordfish, in preparation for a proposed stock assessment to be presented at SC9 in August 2013. International Scientific Committee (ISC) provided the outcome of its stock assessment on north Pacific striped marlin and consequent conservation advice; and also advised on the current status of research on the three northern stocks (Pacific bluefin tuna, north Pacific albacore and north Pacific swordfish). SC8 had lengthy discussions on limit and target reference points, harvest control rules and review of CMM 2008-01 (conservation and management measure on bigeye and yellowfin tunas) for the preparation of the first Management Objective Workshop in Manila, 29-30 November 2012. Several presentations and discussions were provided on issues related with seabirds, sharks, and FAD bycatch and mitigation. SC8 adopted the Guidelines for the Safe Release of Encircled Animals, including Whale Sharks.
A proposed 2013 annual budget for scientific activities of USD 1,364,200 was recommended by the Committee, which will be reviewed and endorsed at WCPFC9. Next meeting (SC9) is provisionally scheduled for 6-14 August 2013 with a venue to be determined inter-sessionally and agreed on at WCPFC9.