Special Research Programs

Most research activities on Atlantic tuna and tuna-like species are carried out by scientists from national research institutes or universities of Contracting Parties. Special Research Programs are used by ICCAT as a mechanism to help focus, coordinate and complement those national research activities. The programs usually center on improving biological knowledge and fishery data for a particular species, and usually last a few years. In some cases they are funded by the Commission as part of the regular budget and in some cases they are funded by contributions from individual Contracting Parties and other agencies. The following is a list of ICCAT Research Projects conducted to-date.

Atlantic Wide Research Programme for Bluefin tuna (GBYP)
  Duration The GBYP programme started in 2010. Funded by several ICCAT CPCs: European Union (80%), Algeria, Canada, China, Croatia, Japan, Korea, Libya, Morocco, Norway, Tunisia, Turkey, United States of America and Chinese Taipei. It is also supported by funds or donation in kind by various public and private entities.
  Objectives Improving understanding of Atlantic bluefin tuna key biological and ecological processes. Improving basic data collection (including information from farms, observers, and VMS). Improving assessment models and provision of scientific advice on stock status.   Improving modelling of key biological processes (including growth and stock-recruitment), further developing stock assessment models that include mixing among areas and developing and use of biologically realistic operating models for more rigorous management option testing.
  Organization A coordinator is in charge of implementing the Program's activities.
The Steering Committee
is composed by the SCRS Chair, the Bluefin tuna Rapporteurs, an external scientific expert and the ICCAT Executive Secretary. It is in charge of overseeing the Program.
GBYP 2008 Proposal -- GBYP 2009 Proposal
Commission Decisions
Atlantic Ocean Tropical Tuna Tagging Programme (AOTTP)
  Duration The AOTTP is a five year programme funded by the European Union (DCI-FOOD/2015/361-161), ICCAT CPCs and Contributors. The project officially began on 29 June 2015
  Objectives The overall objective of the AOTTP Programme is to contribute to food security and economic growth of the Atlantic coastal states by ensuring sustainable management of tropical tuna resources in the Atlantic Ocean. Specifically it will provide evidence-based scientific advice to developing Atlantic coastal states, and other ICCAT Contracting Parties, for them to adopt appropriate Conservation and Management Measures within the Framework of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
These objectives will be realized by improving the estimation – derived from tag-recapture data - of key parameters for stock assessment (i.e. growth, natural mortality, migrations and stock-structure).
  Organization A Coordinator is responsible for implementing AOTTP Programme activities.
Enhanced Program for Billfish Research(EPBR)
  Duration 1987-present with funding from the Commission and other donors
  Objectives To obtain more complete detailed catch and effort statistics for billfishes, to carry out an expanded tagging program, and to carry out studies on age and growth.
EPBR 1986 proposal EPBR Executive Summary
Small Tunas Year Program (SMTYP)
  Duration 2016-2017 with funding from the Commission
  Objectives To recover small tunas historical data (statistical and biological data) from the main ICCAT fishing areas.
SMTYP 2012 proposal SMTYP Executive Summary
Shark Research and Data Collection Programme (SRDCP)
  Duration The SRDCP is contained within the 2015-2020 SCRS Strategic Plan. At this stage, the workplan of the project is still being elaborated and so exact dates have not yet been finalized.
  Objectives Although efforts are being made in recent years to improve shark data collection and research, the current knowledge on many fisheries and basic biology is still limited. These gaps in knowledge are responsible for much of the uncertainty in stock assessments, and have caused constraints to the provision of scientific advice. Therefore, the present proposal for a Shark Research and Data Collection Program (SRDCP) represents a further step to align with ICCAT Res. 11-17 on Best Available Science, to fill knowledge gaps on fisheries and biology issues by improving data collection, cooperation and capacity building. In order to achieve these goals, the SRDCP aims to provide guidance to SCRS researchers, by prioritizing those issues related to data collection and research lines on species biology/ecology, fisheries and mitigation measures. Finally, by promoting coordination between SCRS researchers, the SRDCP aims to improve the quality and reduce the uncertainty of the scientific advice on sharks provided to the Commission, and to better assess the impact of management measures on these species.
  Organization The implementation of the SRDCP falls within the general framework of the SCRS strategic plan which will provide the overall framework for the required coordination and for the development of the programme. The ICCAT Sharks Species Group recommends that a small group of SCRS scientists should be in charge of elaborating the biological sampling design (which has been initiated in 2014). With regards to collaboration with other organisations, it is important for ICCAT to continue to interact with other RFMOs that conduct scientific studies and provide management for shark species of interest in this research plan (e.g., tRFMOs, GFCM, NAFO and ICES).
SRDCP preliminary plan SRDCP Executive Summary
Bluefin Year Program (BYP)
  Duration 1992-1997 through informal coordination of national research activities.
1997-present as part of Commission's budget.
  Objectives To improve general biological information and statistical fisheries data on bluefin tuna.
Currently, the Commission is considering the possibility of a larger research program which would incorporate the BYP. The increased level of funding would be necessary to answer questions related to BFT mixing in the Atlantic.
BYP 1991 Proposal -- BYP 1995 proposal BYP Executive Summary
Protocol for hard part sampling Protocol for tissue sampling
Age and growth bibliography Requesting tissue samples
Bigeye Tuna Year Program (BETYP)
  Duration 1999-2004 with funding from EC, Japan and other donors
  Objectives To determine if the (mid-1990s) level of catches is sustainable through research (primarily tagging) and improved statistics.
BETYP 1997 proposal BETYP Symposium 2004
Albacore Research Program (ARP)
  Duration 1990-1994 with funding from the Commission
  Objectives Improved understanding of the state of albacore stocks in the Atlantic through the compilation of more coherent datasets and research on population dynamics and environmental influences.
ARP 1989 proposal ARP Final Meeting, 1994
Yellowfin Year Program (YYP)
  Duration 1986-1987 with funding from the Commission
  Objectives To deepen our understanding of yellowfin population dynamics, taking advantage of a quick transition from a high-effort to a low-effort state.
YYP 1985 proposal YYP Report, 1991
International Skipjack Year Program (ISYP)
  Duration 1979-1982 with funding from several Contracting Parties
  Objectives To determine if skipjack catches could be increased in a sustainable manner
ISYP 1977 proposal ISYP 1983 Conference

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