Fisheries Resources Division News (October 17, 2005)

Paul Crone recently returned from ICCAT’s (/International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas/) Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) Meeting, which was held in Madrid, Spain in late September/early October 2005. The overall meeting included a week-long Working Group-related session, as well as a week-long formal Plenary session. Crone presented a paper that addressed age-structured population analysis of North Pacific albacore. He also formally presented to the Atlantic-based Albacore Working Group research currently conducted by the SWFSC that generally concerns North Pacific albacore, including biological and logbook data sampling programs, biological studies (maturity assessment and archival tagging programs), and population modeling efforts (from classical VPAs to fully-integrated, highly-parameterized age-structured approaches). Relatively speaking, the albacore stock(s) of the Atlantic Ocean, both North and South, receive little attention, i.e., when compared with research and modeling directed towards other tuna species, particularly, bluefin. Historically, the catches of North Atlantic albacore have been roughly one-third of typical annual landings (30,000 mt) of albacore harvested from the North Pacific Ocean (100,000 mt). Bottom-line is that researchers interested in albacore research in the Atlantic Ocean (especially the formal Working Group and federal-related biologists with Spain) appeared to be quite excited to continue this formal research ‘exchange’ and expressed strong interest in obtaining SWFSC assistance with their upcoming population assessment in 2007. Apparently, their last attempt at a population-wide model in 2004 was rejected. They are also interested in help with their initial efforts to deploy archival tags on 15 or so fish next year (to date, no archival tags have been deployed on Atlantic Ocean albacore).