Published on 8 September 2022

First contribution to SPRFMO

The last few weeks I have spent a good amount of time reviewing benthic bycatch data from areas belonging to the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) convention zone (see figure below).

What is SPRFMO? From the official website:

The South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation is an inter-governmental organisation that is committed to the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources of the South Pacific Ocean and, in so doing, safeguarding the marine ecosystems in which the resources occur. The SPRFMO Convention applies to the high seas of the South Pacific, covering about a fourth of the Earth's high seas areas. Currently, the main commercial resources fished in the SPRFMO Area are Jack mackerel and jumbo flying squid in the Southeast Pacific and, to a much lesser degree, deep-sea species often associated with seamounts in the Southwest Pacific.

Evaluated Area

SPRFMO Convention Area (light green) including the extent of the evaluated area (red boundaries)

The work I was involved in is part of the Deepwater Working Group programme and it was done in collaboration with colleagues from the Department of Conservation and Fisheries New Zealand. The review was focussed on Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem (VME) indicator taxa bycatch from commercial fisheries (trawling only). Although the topic is rather depressing I enjoyed the project and I look forward to doing similar work in the near future.

The paper is publicly available in the SPRFMO site, along the rest of papers for the 10th Scientific Committee.

Tablada, J., Geange, S., & Stephenson, F. (2022). SC10-DW03. Development of a process to review all recent and historical benthic VME bycatch data https://www.sprfmo.int/assets/02-SC10/Meeting-Papers/SC10-DW03-Development-of-a-process-to-review-all-recent-and-historical-benthic-bycatch-data-NZ.pdf