AOTTP will tag at least 120,000 tropical tuna fish (mostly bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin) across the Atlantic during 5 years, using a range of conventional and electronic tags. Additionally the Programme will collect, collate and analyze tag-recapture data. All the data collected will be stored in databases maintained by the ICCAT Secretariat and used to improve the estimation of key parameters needed for input to stock assessments. Fisheries scientists from Atlantic coastal states will be trained in tagging, data collection and the use of tag-recapture data in stock-assessment models.
Activities of ICCAT AOTTP will include the chartering of professional fishing vessels, liaison with recreational anglers, the deployment of tagging and tag-recovery teams, data collection, scientific interpretation, the development and execution of training courses and the instigation of awareness campaigns to promote tag-recovery.
Focal countries will be Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Republic of South Africa, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, EU-Spain (Canaries), EU-Portugal (Azores), Cabo Verde and the USA. Commercial baitboats (also known as pole & line vessels) will be used for most of the tagging work since longline and purse seine gears are known to cause more stress to the fish and increase mortality rates. Since there are no baitboats working off the North American east coast, ICCAT AOTTP will depend on cooperation with recreational game fishers, to tag fish in that area.
The ICCAT AOTTP is funded by the European Union (DCI-FOOD/2015/361-161), ICCAT CPCs and Contributors. The project officially began in June 2015.
The project is being coordinated by Doug Beare (email@example.com) based at ICCAT HQ in Madrid.