The Seventh Regular Session of the WCPFC Scientific Committee (SC7) concludes in Pohnpei ...

The Seventh Regular Session of the WCPFC Scientific Committee (SC7), chaired by Mr. N Miyabe (Japan), ran from the 9th to 17th August 2011. Over a hundred participants attended, including Members, Cooperating Non-Members, Participating Territories (CCMs), and Observers. The meeting agenda was restructured this year to focus on four theme sessions, (i) Stock Assessment, (ii) Management Issues, (iii) Ecosystem and Bycatch Mitigation, and (iv) Statistics and Data. Four stock assessments were conducted in 2011, one each for bigeye, yellowfin, skipjack and South Pacific albacore. None of these stocks are considered to be over fished, though for bigeye, overfishing is occurring and the stock is approaching an overfished state. SC7 recommended that for bigeye tuna, there should be a minimum of a 32% reduction in fishing mortality from the average levels for 2006–2009 to return the fishing mortality rate to FMSY. This is the equivalent to a minimum of a 39% reduction of the 2004 level in fishing mortality, and a 28% reduction of the average 2001–2004 levels. The FAD closure introduced in 2009 contributed to the reduction of bigeye catches in 2009 and preliminarily in 2010, but it is too early to quantitatively conclude the effectiveness of CMM 2008-01. Overfishing was not thought to be occurring for yellowfin, skipjack and South Pacific albacore. Stock assessments are planned for South Pacific albacore, southwest Pacific striped marlin, oceanic whitetip and silky sharks in 2012. Sharks featured strongly in the Ecosystem and Bycatch Mitigation theme, and the Science Committee recommended that the Commission should consider mitigation measures for oceanic whitetip sharks and blue sharks. SC7 also discussed a peer review process of the 2011 bigeye stock assessment, preparation of a 2012 workshop on management objectives, and the timely submission of good quality fishery data. During SC7, steering committee meetings were convened for the West Pacific East Asia Oceanic Fisheries Management Project, the Pacific Tuna Tagging Project, and the Japan Trust Fund Project, and a tutorial session was conducted for TUMAS (Tuna Management Simulator). A meeting report for SC7 is posted on the Commission’s website.

News Item Updated 31 Aug, 2011
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