Ecosystem & Bycatch Program
The Ecosystem and Bycatch Program provides scientific support for implementing the broad goals of the Antigua Convention, in particular for the IATTC to “adopt, as necessary, conservation and management measures and recommendations for species belonging to the same ecosystem and that are affected by fishing for, or dependent on or associated with, the fish stocks covered by the Convention”. Two main duties are assigned to the program:
- To assess and mitigate the ecological impacts of the tuna fisheries on species and habitats. This includes the following activities:
- Develop analytical tools to identify and prioritize species at risk for data collection, research and management.
- Conduct Ecological Risk Assessments (ERAs) of EPO fisheries to identify and prioritize species at risk.
- Conduct spatiotemporal analyses to identify areas of high bycatch/catch ratios for potential use in spatial management (static or dynamic closures), and investigate alternative tools for bycatch mitigation.
- In collaboration with the fishing industry, conduct scientific experiments to:
- identify gear technology that will reduce bycatches and mortality of prioritized species;
- develop best practices for the release of prioritized bycatch species;
- develop best practices for mitigating the impacts of fishing on habitats in the EPO.
- Conducting workshops for vessel crews to promote the reduction of impacts of the fishery on non-target species and compliance with IATTC resolutions.
- In coordination with the Stock Assessment Program, improve our understanding of the effects of the operational characteristics of the fishery on fishing mortality, stock assessment, and management advice.
- Support for capacity-building with regard to bycatch mitigation, and development of data collection programs for artisanal fisheries of coastal States (e.g. shark fisheries).
- To improve our understanding of the EPO ecosystem as well as the interactions among the environment, climate and fisheries:
- Conduct trophodynamic studies for defining key assumptions in EPO ecosystem models. This includes sampling and analysis of diets and tissues required to understand food-web dynamics, and analysis of biological, ecological and fisheries data to facilitate ecological risk assessment and ecosystem modeling.
- Ecosystem modeling studies. This includes improving analytical tools to evaluate anthropogenic and climate impacts of the EPO ecosystem.
- Conduct spatiotemporal analyses to better understand the effect of key environmental drivers on the short-term as well as long-term (regime shift) fluctuations of abundance of tunas and prioritized bycatch species.
- Báez, J. C., S. Déniz, M. L. Ramos, M. Grande, J. Ruiz, H. Murua, J. Santiago, A. Justel-Rubio, M. Herrera, I. Moniz, J. Lopez, P. J. Pascual-Alayón, A. Muniategi, N. Alzorriz, M. González-Carballo, V. Rojo and F. Abascal 2022. Data Provision for Science-Based FAD Fishery Management: Spanish FAD Management Plan as a Case Study. Sustainaility
- Druon, J.-N., S. Campana, F. Vandeperre, F. Hazin, H. Bowlby, R. Coelho, N. Queiroz, F. Serena, F. Abascal, D. Damalas, M. Musyl, J. Lopez, B. Block, P. Afonso, H. Dewar, P. S. Sabarros, B. Finucci, A. Zanzi, P. Bach, I. Senina, F. Garibaldi, D. Sims, J. Navarro, P. Cermeño, A. Leone, G. Diez, & all 2022. Global-scale environmental niche and habitat of blue shark (Prionace glauca) by size and sex: a pivotal step to improving stock management. Frontiers in Marine Science
- Scott, M., Cardona, E., Scidmore-Rossing, K., Royer, M., Stahl, J. and Hutchinson, M 2022. What’s the catch? Examining optimal longline fishing gear configurations to minimize negative impacts on non-target species. Marine Policy
- Leire Lopetegui-Eguren, Jan Jaap Poos, Haritz Arrizabalaga1, Gency L. Guirhem1, Hilario Murua, Nerea Lezama-Ochoa, Shane P. Griffiths, Jon Ruiz Gondra1, Philippe S. Sabarros, José Carlos Báez and Maria José Juan-Jordá1 2022. Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Juvenile Oceanic Whitetip Shark Incidental Catch in the Western Indian Ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science
- Pons, M., Watson, J.T., Ovando, D., Andraka, S., Brodie, S., Domingo, A., Fitchett, M., Forselledo, R., Hall, M., Hazen, E.L., Jannot, J.E., Herrera, M., Jiménez, S., Kaplan, D.M., Kerwath, S., Lopez, J., McVeigh, J., Pacheco, L., Rendon, L., Richerson, K., Sant’Ana, R., Sharma, R., Smith, J.A., Som 2022. Trade-offs between bycatch and target catches in static versus dynamic fishery closures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
- Hilborn, R., Agostini, V.N., Chaloupka, M., Garcia, S.M., Gerber, L.R., Gilman, E., Hanich, Q., Himes-Cornell, A., Hobday, A.J., Itano, D., Kaiser, M.J., Murua, H., Ovando, D., Pilling, G.M., Rice, J.C., Sharma, R., Schaefer, K.M., Severance, C.J., Taylor, N.G., Fitchett, M. 2021. Area-based management of blue water fisheries: Current knowledge and research needs. Fish and Fisheries
- Hutchinson, M., Siders, Z., Stahl, J., Bigelow, K. 2021. Quantitative estimates of post-release survival rates of sharks captured in Pacific tuna longline fisheries reveal handling and discard practices that improve survivorship. NOAA PIFSC Data Report
- Forget, F., Muir, J., Hutchinson, M., Itano, D., Filmalter, J., Holland, K., Dagorn, L., San Cristobal, I., LeRoy, B., Martinez, U., and Restrepo, V. 2021. Accuracy of shark counts onboard tropical tuna purse seine vessels. Ocean and Coastal Management
- Nataniel, A., P. F. M. Lopes, J. Lopez and M. Soto 2021. Socio-ecological and economic aspects of tropical tuna fisheries in the Mozambique Channel. Fisheries Management & Ecology
- Nataniel, A., J. Lopez and M. Soto 2021. Modelling seasonal environmental preferences of tropical tuna purse seine fisheries in the Mozambique Channel. Fisheries Research