23 Aug 2010

Benefits of tuna tagging project already being realised

5:48 am on 23 August 2010

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community says it's already seeing the benefits of the tuna tagging programme in the Pacific, which concluded at the end of last year.

More than 260-thousand tuna fish were tagged and released during the three-year operation, the largest ever of its kind, and about 40-thousand of those have already been recaptured.

The director of fisheries at the SPC, Mike Batty, says the Pacific nations will soon start to see the outcomes of that work.

"What we're going into now is the recovery of the tags, and of course, as these come in, particularly from fish that have been at liberty for a longer period of time, we get more and more information on what's happening. And then the real work is the analysis of this information, and starting to use it for our stock assessments."

Mike Batty says the first of that information analysis was just used in an assessment of skipjack tuna stocks, and presented to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission in Tonga this week.

Another tuna tagging project will begin in Papua New Guinea next year.