Scientists zero in on tuna stocks


15-July-2004

The week-long meetings, being held at the International Conference Centre, will see researchers share and analyse an array of information on reported catches of Yellow Fin, Big Eye and Skipjack tuna that have been compiled from around the Indian Ocean.

The working group will be drawing information from what seems like much of the entire Eastern Hemisphere – researchers from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Taiwan, as well as France, Spain and India are in Seychelles to present data.

Locally, Seychelles is being represented by officials from the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA).

Pilar Pallares, chairperson of the working group and a researcher with the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, said on Tuesday at the opening of the conference that scientists will be taking an extra long look at the Big Eye species of tuna.

Big Eye is perhaps the biggest question mark for researchers in terms of catch levels in the Indian Ocean. According to IOTC estimates, as much as 25 percent of the total catch of Big Eye tuna has been unreported in recent years.

Ms Pallares said the conference, which will conclude on July 20, will present its findings to the scientific committee of the IOTC, which would in turn be able to advise countries on the state of Indian Ocean tuna stocks and possible measures that can be taken to ensure sustainability, which could include supplying estimates for the maximum or, preferably, optimal yields for the tuna catch.

 

 

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