Pacific Scientific Review Group Meets in Honolulu to Review Marine Mammal Stock Status

During April 1-4, PIFSC co-hosted the 2014 meeting of the Pacific Scientific Review Group (Pacific SRG) along with the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Island Regional Office (PIRO) and the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC). The meeting was held in the NOAA Fisheries facilities at Pier 38 in Honolulu. The Pacific SRG is an independent expert panel responsible for annual peer reviews of NMFS stock assessment science for marine mammals in the Pacific. The agenda for the meeting included presentation of Stock Assessment Reports (SARs) prepared by PIFSC and SWFSC staff. The assessments are conducted in accordance with requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. New analyses and updated SARs were presented for a variety of species, but topics of particular interest within the Pacific Islands Region included analyses of false killer whale injuries sustained through interactions with hook and line fishing gear; the proration of estimated Hawaii longline fisheries bycatch among Hawaii's false killer whale stocks; evaluation of potential impacts of Hawaii's state-managed nearshore fisheries on cetaceans; serious injury determination for stranded and ship-struck cetaceans; Bayesian analyses of cetacean growth rates to inform new estimates of the maximum net productivity rate (Rmax), a critical parameter for determining allowable limits of human-caused mortality; updates on monk seal recovery actions and assessments; and discussion of stock delineation guidelines.