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An Assessment of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
biomass, sex ratio, age at maturity, and fecundity in the spawning grounds be estimated and that larval performance, as affected by environmental conditions, be studied.
The committee recognizes that knowledge of movement patterns is essential for estimating abundance and distribution and that movement rates and patterns may change over time. The committee recommends that a tagging program be undertaken, with an appropriate combination of conventional, PIT, acoustic, and archival tags to provide improved estimates of the magnitude and patterns of movement. This program should be designed to answer scientific questions pertinent to stock assessment and should be coordinated among all nations involved in the bluefin tuna fishery.
Estimates of abundance are confounded by the interaction between fishing and changes in distribution caused by interdecadal climatic and oceanic variability. The committee recommends a synthesizing analysis of existing data on distributions of bluefin tuna in relation to spatial and temporal dynamics of major oceanographic features.
The committee notes that a greater use of peer review would have improved the quality of some of the research reviewed during the preparation of this report. The committee recommends that review of all research proposals and resulting manuscripts include a process of external peer review.