NOUMÉA, New Caledonia—Training government officials and scientists to understand and critique fisheries stock assessments is the focus of a weeklong workshop (June 22-27), to be attended by 26 regional scientists and observers from 15 Pacific nations.
For the past decade, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has conducted the annual stock assessment workshops aimed at providing regional scientists with the tools to critically examine the stock assessments that form the basis for management advice on the globally-significant tuna fisheries of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.
The Western and Central Pacific Ocean accounts for 58 percent of the world tuna catch and Pacific Island countries and territories are custodians of the bulk of that catch. This fishery is worth an estimated USD 6.2 billion per annum.
Tuna is also an important source of dietary protein for many Pacific Island communities.
Taking place at SPC headquarters in Noumea, the 2015 Stock Assessment Workshop aims to equip scientists and other officials with the ability to provide sound advice to their governments on fisheries conservation and management.
A testament to the success of the training is the number of previous participants who now occupy senior positions within fisheries ministries and inter-governmental organizations around the Pacific.
“This year we’re delighted to welcome as one of the presenters, a previous workshop participant, Cook Islander Pamela Maru, who now works as a Fisheries Management Advisor for the Forum Fisheries Agency,” SPC director of Oceanic Fisheries, Dr. John Hampton, said.
Participants at the workshop will learn basic analytical techniques on fisheries data, similar to those performed in the tuna stock assessments. The combination of lectures and hands-on practical sessions will provide participants with the critical tools needed to interpret the annual stock assessments presented at the upcoming Scientific Committee meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in August.
The workshop is hosted by SPC with participation by the Forum Fisheries Agency and University of the South Pacific. It is made possible with support from the Australian Government, Japan Trust Fund, New Zealand Aid Programme, Pew Charitable Trusts and WCPFC. (SPC)