13th ISC Plenary Meeting Convened in Busan, Republic of Korea

The International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC) was established in 1995 to develop information about stocks of tuna, billfish and similar pelagic species in the North Pacific, in cooperation with relevant fisheries organizations, in order to enhance scientific knowledge of these species throughout their migratory range. The ISC convenes annual plenary meetings to review and disseminate current information on the stocks, including reports of ISC working groups, and to offer scientific advice based on the information.

The 13th Plenary meeting (ISC13) was held in Busan, Republic of Korea from 17 to 22 July 2013 and attended by ISC members from Canada, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea, Mexico and the United States, as well as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. Observers from Pew Charitable Trust, World Wildlife Fund, and International Seafood Sustainability Foundation also attended. During ISC13, a special seminar on Pacific Ocean ecosystem and tuna dynamics was held.

The Plenary reviewed information prepared by the ISC's Billfish, Shark, and Pacific Bluefin Tuna Working Groups including new data, updated analyses, and results and conclusions of stock assessments and other scientific studies. It endorsed working group findings that the Pacific blue marlin and North Pacific blue shark stocks are not overfished or experiencing overfishing and re-iterated earlier conclusions that Pacific bluefin tuna are overfished and experiencing overfishing. The Plenary further provided projections for managers to consider in crafting management measures for North Pacific stocks of albacore tuna, swordfish, and striped marlin, and updated the conservation advice of ISC12 based on these projections.

The Plenary discussed formalizing the ISC structure and administration and began researching means of doing both. The Plenary also noted the strides working groups had made in increasing transparency of their activities, incorporating best available scientific information (BASI) into stock assessment work, and improving stock assessment reports. The ISC workplan for 2013-2014 includes completing new stock assessments of albacore tuna and swordfish and an updated assessment of Pacific bluefin tuna in time for ISC14; completing a shortfin mako shark stock assessment in 2014; enhancing database and website management; and convening a tuna ageing workshop, scheduled for November 2014 in Shimizu, Japan. The Plenary re-elected Gerard DiNardo for a second term as ISC Chair and welcomed Ziro Suzuki as the newly elected Chair of the Pacific Bluefin Tuna Working Group. The next Plenary will be held in Chinese Taipei in July 2014.

The full report of ISC13 and associated documents are available on the ISC website.