Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - OCEANTUNEIN (Oceanic tunas as indicators of ecosystem health)

Abstract summary
Understanding to what extent human activities have altered marine biodiversity is an increasingly urgent societal challenge and of considerable scientific and policy concern. Our ignorance of the pressures upon and fate of marine biodiversity is, in part, because there are few synoptic global indicators to measure changes in marine biodiversity – particularly for exploited organisms. The main objective of this project is (1) to develop new indicators for measuring biodiversity change in oceanic marine ecosystems for the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean, using tunas, billfishes and sharks as sentinels of ocean health and (2) to develop management guidelines to determine how these indicators can be effectively used for improving management and conservation of oceanic ecosystems. This project will provide the tuna-focus Regional Fisheries Management Organizations with a set of new products –a set of pressure, ecological state and threat indicators and a set of specific management guidelines, to assist them in the incorporation of ecosystem considerations in the management and conservation of tuna and tuna-like species. The new knowledge, tools, training, and collaborations generated in this project have the potential to influence and support international policy treaties such as the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the associated 2020 Aichi targets, as well as, for transparent independent monitoring of the success of local and regional conservation and management efforts in marine ecosystems.

Work performed since the beginning of project and description of main results achieved so far
The order of the tasks designed during the proposal development stage has been changed. At the beginning of the first year, Juan-Jordá and the Mentors revised, re-scheduled and reprioritized all the programmed tasks (Table 1 attached). At the beginning of each year, Dr. Juan-Jorda also agrees with the Mentors a detailed work plan with concrete annual milestones and activities to be performed (Workplans attached).

Now, Dr. Juan-Jordá has completed Task 1 “Compilation of fishery assessments and database preparation”, and Task 3 “Revision of current state and progress of ecosystem consideration in the five tuna-RFMOs”. The data set produced in Task 1 is already being used to perform Task 2. The main results of Task 3 have been presented multiple times in two tuna RFMOs in 2015 and 2016, in the ICCAT Sub-Ecosystem and Bycatch Working group and the IOTC Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch. A manuscript entitled “Report card on ecosystem-based fisheries management in tuna regional fisheries management organizations” is now being pee-reviewed in the Journal of Fish and Fisheries.

Task 2 "Estimation of Red List Index for oceanic tunas, billfishes and sharks" , and Task 4 “Performance analysis and comparative analysis of indicators” is work in progress. Therefore, Juan-Jorda is currently working on finishing Task 2 and Task 4, and has recently started Task 5 “Development of guidelines to use ecosystem indicators in management advice”. Task 6 ”Estimation of ecological state indicators –total biomass” and Task 7 “Estimation of pressure indicator ¨ are currently being planned which will feed into the Ecosystem Report Card being developed in Task 5. We provide a detailed update below in SECTION 3 for each Task. Table 1 (attached) also summarizes the main results achieved so far.

Expected results
The proposal will (1) deliver new understanding of the global picture of the status of oceanic ecosystems using tunas and billfishes as sentinels of ocean health; (2) provide new tools by developing a set of new pressure and ecological state indicators, and testing their performance to measure biodiversity change in order to infer health in oceanic ecosystems; (3) provide new training to the Fellow in a range of quantitative methods and professional skills; (4) provide the international fisheries community and the tuna RFMOs with a set of new products –a set of pressure, and ecological state indicators and a set of specific management guidelines, to assist in the management and conservation of tuna and tuna-like species; (5) increase the capacity and active role of the EU in the development of new ecosystem approaches; (6) foster international collaborations between Canada through Simon Fraser University and Europe through AZTI Tecnalia in Spain; (7) produce a set of high impact research articles in international journals; and (8) raise societal awareness through effective communication of the benefits of healthy oceans for the well being of humanity. Finally, the new knowledge, tools, products, training and collaborations generated in this project will have the potential to influence and support the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive Good Environmental Status descriptors (i.e. “Descriptor 1: Biological diversity is maintained.”), as well as other support international policy such as aiding progress toward the 2020 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Strategic Goal B to “Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use,” through Aichi target 6, “all fish... are managed and harvested sustainably... so that fisheries have no significant adverse impacts on threatened species”.

This is the personal website of the fellow with a description of the project:

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