PIFSC Sea Turtle Research and Monitoring Reviewed by Expert Panel

September 15, 2011

The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (Center) invited a panel of independent experts, external to the Center, to review and evaluate the Center's approaches to research on sea turtle population modeling, population monitoring and by-catch mitigation. The panelists were asked to advise Center leadership on ways PIFSC could improve their work in this important area of conservation and management science.

During July 26-28, 2011 the panel convened in Honolulu. In sessions open to PIFSC staff and stakeholders, they heard presentations by PIFSC scientists describing the Center's multi-faceted sea turtle research program, including studies on inshore and pelagic ecology, population monitoring, population assessment, bycatch mitigation in longline fisheries and net fisheries, effects of oceanography and climate, and more. The presentations focused on four species: Hawaiian green turtles, loggerhead and leatherback turtles, and Hawksbill turtles, although other species were also considered.

The panel also met with key PIFSC stakeholders, in a session closed to Center staff to receive candid input on the Center's ability to provide timely and high-quality scientific information for conservation and management and its collaboration with scientific partners.

The panel chair's report is available at the link below.

The external review has already helped the Center focus sharply on the key issues facing its sea turtle programs, which is particularly timely in the current fiscal environment. The review has also increased Center-wide communication about sea turtle research and energized PIFSC staff toward finding and implementing solutions to enhance our work. We found the review to be very insightful and constructive and we've set out to implement many of the panel's recommendations, even though we may not have agreed with all of the panel's observations. That is the point of an external review: to have a candid conversation that can lead to improvements in our science enterprise.

-- Sam Pooley, Center Director

Panel Report (0.2 MB, PDF)