2017 - Update on the Common Oceans (ABNJ) Tuna Project’s Shark and Bycatch Components, 2016-2017

Clarke S, Smith N (2017) 2017 - Update on the Common Oceans (ABNJ) Tuna Project’s Shark and Bycatch Components, 2016-2017. In: WCPFC Scientific Committee 13th Regular Session. WCPFC-SC13-2017/RP-ABNJ-01, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

This paper presents a brief overview of the Common Oceans (ABNJ) Tuna Project activities being led by the WCPFC Secretariat with scientific support from SPC. These activities are comprised of shark data improvement and harmonization, shark stock status assessment, and bycatch information and management. Over the past year, with funding from the ABNJ Tuna Project and the European Union, the WCPFC has initiated one of the Pacific’s largest shark post-release mortality tagging studies based on an expert panel-designed survey programme. Two of four Pacific-wide shark stock status assessments are complete and will be presented to SC13 (porbeagle and bigeye thresher), with a third underway (silky shark) in collaboration with IATTC. The fourth and final assessment is expected to be identified and initiated later in 2017. The Bycatch Management Information System (BMIS) was launched in May 2017 with a revamped user interface and expanded and updated content. A joint analysis of sea turtle mitigation effectiveness was completed with the participation of representatives from 21 countries and organizations; results will be presented to SC13. Feedback from stakeholders is invited on current and proposed activities, and opportunities for synergistic collaborations are continuously sought.