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Project H.8.a - Design a survey for dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP)

01 Jan 2018 - 31 Aug 2018

Program(s) in charge: Stock Assessment Program
Design, in consultation with the IATTC staff and other relevant scientists, a shipbased line-transect survey for ETP dolphin species, including development of a comprehensive budget for implementation of the survey and analysis of survey results.
  • Population dynamics modelling has been the preferred approach for evaluating the stock status of ETP dolphins, and those models have relied on estimates of abundance from fishery-independent surveys that were conducted by the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
  • As a result of a hiatus in the NMFS surveys since 2006, there are currently no reliable indicators with which to monitor the status of ETP dolphin populations.
  • This lack of information poses obvious problems for management. For example, the Antigua Convention requires that the status of all species potentially impacted by the tuna fisheries be monitored.
  • In addition, abundance estimates are needed to ensure that incidental dolphin mortalities are both sustainable and insignificant, because the AIDCP stock mortality limits are based on estimates of abundance.
  • These needs provide impetus for a new ship-based line-transect survey to obtain new estimates of absolute abundance so that population trends can be updated.
Relevance for management
Improve the management of dolphin stocks in the ETP.
8 months
Workplan and status
  • January - May: draft a report with survey design and budget.
  • June-August: obtain an external review of draft the draft report and revise as necessary.
External collaborators
University of St Andrews, Scotland
  • Presentation for SAC-09 (May 2018)
  • Report and presentation for IATTC Annual Meeting in August 2018
Updated date: 01 May 2019
Progress summary for the reporting period
Multiple survey design options were developed, and presented at SAC-09 in May 2018, and at the IATTC and AIDCP meetings in August 2018.
MOP-37-02 Design of a survey for eastern tropical Pacific dolphin stocks
Presentation at SAC-09
Presentation at MOP-37
Presentation at IATTC-93