14th Meeting of the ISC Convened in Taipei to Review Research and Stock Status of Tunas, Billfishes and Sharks in the North Pacific Ocean

The 14th meeting of the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC) was held in Taipei, Taiwan from 16-21 July 2014. Attending were ISC members from Canada, Chinese-Taipei, Japan, Korea, and the United States and representatives of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the North Pacific Marine Science Organization. Observers from Pew Charitable Trust, International Seafood Sustainability Foundation and World Wildlife Fund also attended. Chaired by Dr. Gerard DiNardo, the Plenary reviewed information prepared by ISC scientific working groups for billfish, albacore, shark and Pacific bluefin tuna, including new data, updated analyses that support stock assessments, and key results and conclusions. A special seminar on the impacts of climate change on fish and fisheries was held.

The Plenary endorsed working group findings that stocks of albacore tuna and blue shark in the North Pacific, and swordfish in the Western and Central North Pacific are not overfished or experiencing overfishing, and that the Eastern Pacific Ocean swordfish stock is not overfished but likely is experiencing overfishing. The Plenary re-iterated earlier findings that the Pacific bluefin tuna and striped marlin stocks are overfished and experiencing overfishing and that the Pacific blue marlin stock is not overfished or experiencing overfishing. The committee was provided information on biological reference points for North Pacific albacore tuna and the probability of that stock achieving specific biomass levels. The committee also reviewed information on the historic range of recruitment for Pacific bluefin tuna and catch and effort data that managers could consider in crafting management measures for that stock.

The Plenary discussed formalizing the ISC structure and administration and agreed to continue researching means of doing both. The Plenary also noted the strides ISC Working Groups had made in several areas, including incorporating best available scientific information (BASI) into stock assessment work, enhancement of stock assessment reports, and increased transparency in Working Group activities. The ISC workplan for 2014-2015 includes completing a new assessment of North Pacific striped marlin, a first assessment of shortfin mako shark, and enhanced management of the ISC database and website. The Plenary re-elected Chi-Lu Sun for a second term as ISC Vice-Chair, and the following working group Chairs: Suzanne Kohin for the Shark Working Group, Ren-Fen Wu for the Statistics Working Group, and Jon Brodziak for the Billfish Working Group. The next Plenary will be held in the United States in July 2015.