PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY

The 1994 ICCAT meeting is scheduled for November in Madrid, Spain. Most management efforts will focus on the eastern stock, because this is its year for assessment. The western stock will be assessed at the 1995 ICCAT meeting. However, new measures could be recommended for the western stock in 1994 and for the eastern stock in 1995. The National Research Council's Ocean Studies Board received a written request from NOAA (dated January 26, 1994) to conduct a peer review study within six months so as to enable NOAA to use the results for the 1994 ICCAT meeting. Accordingly, the Ocean Studies Board established the Committee to Review Atlantic Bluefin Tuna to review and evaluate the scientific basis of U.S. management of fisheries for Atlantic bluefin tuna and to recommend research to resolve remaining stock structure issues. Members chosen for the committee have a range of expertise, including tuna biology and physiology, fish genetics and stock identification, fish population dynamics, fish ecology, and oceanography (see Appendix A). A notice soliciting comments from the public regarding scientific issues for consideration by the review committee was published in the Federal Register.1 Numerous comments were received, and at the first committee meeting, in May 1994, individuals who had submitted written comments were invited to give a brief presentation to the review committee. The committee met again in June 1994 to hear additional individuals and to complete this report. In addition, the committee reviewed extensive peer-reviewed and gray scientific literature (see Appendix B) as background for its deliberations.

This report focuses primarily on the scientific basis for (1) the assumptions about stock structure and (2) indices of abundances used in the stock assessments for western Atlantic bluefin tuna. The issue of stock structure of Atlantic bluefin tuna is discussed in Chapter 2, and movement of Atlantic bluefin tuna is discussed in Chapter 3 . Information on the indices of abundances and the results of sensitivity analyses conducted by the committee using data sets obtained from NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service and the industry are presented and discussed in Chapter 4. In Chapter 5 the committee summarizes its major findings and makes general recommendations and research recommendations for improving the scientific basis of the management of Atlantic bluefin tuna.

1  

 Federal Register, March 3, 1994, vol. 59, no. 42, pp. 10114-10115.



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