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Proyecto H.8.b - Second trial dolphin survey in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP)

01 nov. 2022 - 31 may. 2024

Fully field-test the drone protocol to be used in a main dolphin survey, as outlined by Oedekoven et al. (2021)
  • Population dynamics modelling has been the preferred approach for evaluating the stock status of ETP dolphins, and those models have relied on estimates of abundance from fishery-independent surveys that were conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
  • As a result of a hiatus in the NMFS surveys since 2006, there are currently no reliable indicators with which to monitor the status of ETP dolphin populations.
  • This lack of information poses obvious problems for management. For example, the Antigua Convention of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) requires that the status of all species potentially impacted by the tuna fisheries in the eastern Pacific Ocean be monitored. •
  • In addition, abundance estimates are needed to ensure that incidental dolphin mortalities are both sustainable and insignificant because the stock mortality limits are based on estimates of abundance.
  • These needs provide impetus for a new ship-based line-transect survey to obtain new estimates of absolute abundance so that population trends can be updated.
  • In preparation for a new dolphin survey, trial survey was conducted in November 2019 (Oedekoven et al. 2021) to field-test the ship and drone survey protocols that would be used in the new survey.
  • During this trial survey it was not possible to fully test the drone protocol because the drone camera systems and data acquisition systems, and drone personnel, provided to the project were not according to the specified protocol, and thus a second trial survey is necessary.
Importancia para la ordenación
Improve the management of dolphin stocks in the ETP.
November 2022 – May 2024
Plan de trabajo y estatus
  • November 2022 – March 2023: preparation of a detailed trial survey work plan and budget.
  • April 2023 – October 2023: preparation for second trial survey.
  • November 2023: conduct second trial survey.
  • December 2023 – May 2024: data analysis, prepare report.
Colaboradores externos
  • University of St Andrews (and contractors hired by the University of St Andrews)
  • Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna
  • Government of Mexico
  • Presentation at SAC-14 (May 2023) on trial survey plan; report on the results presented at SAC-15 (May 2024).