2016 - Update on the ABNJ (Common Oceans) Tuna Project’s Shark and Bycatch Components
This paper will present a brief overview of the ABNJ (Common Oceans) Tuna Project activities being led by the WCPFC Secretariat and SPC. These activities are comprised of shark data improvement and harmonization, shark stock status assessment, and bycatch management and information. Over the past year the project has contributed to the adoption of new ROP minimum standard data fields for bycatch, whale shark safe release guidelines, the first WCPFC bycatch data summary template (BDEP), and a global browser tool for t-RFMO shark data. The project will continue to engage with other t-RFMOs on the latter two initiatives. Two of four Pacific-wide stock status assessments are underway in the form of a southern hemisphere porbeagle shark assessment and a bigeye thresher shark assessment. Under the topic of bycatch mitigation, SPC is continuing to re-develop the BMIS, and the first joint analysis workshop on sea turtle mitigation effectiveness was held in Honolulu in February 2016. The second workshop to complete the analysis will take place at the same venue in November 2016. An expert workshop to develop an experimental design for a WCPO shark post-release mortality tagging programme is being contemplated for January 2017. Feedback from stakeholders is invited on current and proposed activities, and opportunities for synergistic collaborations are continuously sought.