About 60 percent of the world’s tuna comes from the western and central Pacific. It is where some of the last healthy stocks of tuna are, according to a report.
Recently, a group from the Oceanic Fisheries Programme of SPC completed a tuna tagging voyage, releasing 27,780 tags in the waters of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Their objective was to tag 20,000 tuna, but the team surpassed that in their 50-day mission which began in September, last year. This is the largest tuna tagging project ever implemented as part of the ongoing Pacific Tuna Tagging Programme which began in 2006.
The voyage was led by fisheries scientist, Bruno Leroy.
“The key highlight was obviously the number of tags Bruno and the team released, with additional highlights being the development of new tagging technicians, the amount of biological sampling conducted, without forgetting that these good results would not have been possible without the support and efforts of the vessel crew,” says Neville Smith, SPC’s Principal Fisheries Scientist.
Tuna tagging allows for the collection of valuable data to assess fish abundance, movement and the impact of fishing. This then helps in determining sustainable management implementations and tuna conservation measures in the Pacific.
On this expedition, fish were caught using the pole-and-line fishing method, which allowed for the fish to be caught, measured, tagged and released within seconds. Voice recorders were used to detail each tagged tuna, such as the species, length, fish condition and tagging quality.
Fishers can receive a reward for the return of tags to SPC.
Anyone who finds a tag, or would like more information, should contact the Oceanic Fisheries Programme via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.spc.int/tagging to assist SPC with this important ongoing research.