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Whales (East Greenland-Iceland fin whales, Northeast Atlantic minke whales, Northwest Pacific minke whales, Southern Hemisphere blue, fin, sei, humpback, minke, right and sperm whales)

The group made a major contribution towards a seven-year international collaborative exercise to develop a feedback-control 'Revised Management Procedure' for commercial whaling, following the imposition in 1982 of a moratorium on such whaling on the grounds of an inadequate scientific basis for sound management. This is probably the most thoroughly researched approach of its type in the world, and has had spin-offs to the development of similar procedures for South African fisheries. The Group continues to play a role in implementing this approach for specific resources, including North Atlantic fin and minke whales and Northwest Pacific minke whales, as well as for various whale stocks in the Northern Hemisphere subject to aboriginal whaling. Other major contributions include the assessment of the several breeding stocks of Southern Hemisphere humpback whales and of the South African right whale, and the development of Antarctic ecosystem models that incorporate the biological interactions of the major whale, seal and krill populations.

People: C. de Moor, S. Johnston, A. Ross-Gillespie

Tuna (Eastern North Atlantic bluefin tuna, Western North Atlantic bluefin tuna, Southern bluefin tuna)

Bluefin tuna are probably the world's most economically valuable species, with prices sometimes reaching US$200 per kg on the Japanese sashimi market. Stocks in the North Atlantic and the Southern Hemisphere have been heavily depleted in the past, and there is considerable international controversy at present as to whether or not catch levels have been curtailed sufficiently to allow these resources to recover. Group members have acted as consultants in the controversy, and contributed to the assessment analyses which are being pursued for these stocks.

People: R. Rademeyer

Datapoor methods

The majority of fish stock worldwide are not managed quantitatively as they lack sufficient data on which to base traditional stock assessments. Formal quantitative stock assessments are generally costly, expertise hungry and require comprehensive datasets - as such they do not present practical a management solution for most datapoor stocks: with limited data and elevated uncertainty levels, simple generic approaches are sought. MARAM is involved in international collaborations to study alternative methods to assess and manage datapoor stocks: a datapoor methods review has been undertaken for the FAO; an investigation of appropriate methods to manage/rebuild datapoor stocks that seek MSC certification is currently underway; ongoing collaboration with the developers at the UBC of the data-limited software package DLM Toolkit, involvement with the ICES datapoor initiative.

People: Helena Geromont, Doug Butterworth

Other areas

Recent contributions have been made to the assessment of Greenland halibut, pollock and redfish off eastern Canada, and to the U.S. South Atlantic wreckfish, menhaden and a number of groundfish in the Gulf of Maine including cod. The Group also provides the scientific advice underlying the management of the lobster fishery off Tristan da Cunha, which constitutes the island's major economic activity. 

People: R. Rademeyer, H. Geromont, S. Johnston