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ICCAT Bycatch Working Group Meeting for Stock Assessment of Sharks

June 14, 2004 - June 18, 2004
Tokyo, Japan
Presentation at this event.

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The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) working group on bycatch met in Tokyo to assess the status of blue and shortfin mako sharks in the Atlantic. Blue and mako sharks are caught as bycatch in the tuna and swordfish fisheries regulated by ICCAT. Thus, ICCAT has been collecting data on sharks since the mid-1990s with the intention of gathering enough information to assess whether the current levels of catch and bycatch are sustainable over the long term. Although the data on catches of sharks over time are still incomplete, the 2004 working group meeting produced preliminary assessments of the status of blue and shortfin mako sharks in both the north and south Atlantic. Dr. Babcock of Pew Institute for Ocean Science presented two papers at the meeting, one (with Greg Skomal as first author) on extracting indices of shark abundance from data on the U.S. recreational fisheries for blue and mako sharks, and one on a Bayesian surplus production model (BSP). The BSP model is a way to combine demographic information, such as the number of pups a female shark can produce, with catch and catch rate data from the fishery, to find out how much the population has declined over time and whether the current catch levels are sustainable.

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