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Design of Tag-Recapture Experiments for Estimating Yellowfin Tuna Stock Dynamics, Mortality and Fishery Interactions

This project on pelagic stock assessment will determine the applicability of tag release-recapture experiments to estimate yellowfin tuna dynamics, movement and fishery interactions in the EEZ of the U.S. Pacific Islands. The study should guide the design of experiments to further expand the database necessary to support management decisions for tuna resources.

A final project report published as part of the SOEST-JIMAR publication series:
"Design of tag-recapture experiments for estimating yellowfin tuna stock dynamics, mortality and fishery interactions", 1997. Peter J. Bills and John R. Sibert. SOEST 97-05, JIMAR Contribution 97-313

See Integrative modeling in support of the Pelagic Fisheries Research Program: Spatially disaggregated population dynamics model for pelagic fisheries project page

See also SOEST-JIMAR Publications page for other PFRP reports.


Principal Investigators:
Dr. John Sibert, Program Manager
Pelagic Fisheries Research Program
Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research
University of Hawaii at Manoa
1000 Pope Road, MSB 612
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
email: jsibert@soest.hawaii.edu

Dr. Christofer Boggs
National Marine Fisheries Service
Honolulu Lab
2570 Dole Street, Room 212
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
Phone (808) 943-1222
FAX (808) 943-1290
email: cboggs@honlab.nmfs.hawaii.edu

Dr. Pierre Kleiber
National Marine Fisheries Service
Honolulu Lab
2570 Dole Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
Phone (808) 943-1235
FAX (808) 943-1290
email: pkleiber@honlab.nmfs.hawaii.edu

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Progress Report - January 1997

Funding was received at the University in August 1993.

Dr. Peter Bills (from Applied Mathematics, The University of Adelaide, Australia) joined JIMAR in February 1995 to work on the project. He and Dr. John Sibert are the authors of this report.

First, let's see some results!

Click on any of the following movies. The seasonal movement hypothesis of Movie (6) is the major concern of our work. In the movie section we explain the terms "directed" and "random" movement in connection with the information obtainable from dart-tag release-recapture data; an understanding of these terms is crucial to our discussion. We then present the report abstract and a link to a postscript file of the entire report. Links to related projects are also given.

movie camera Movies of tag movement under alternative hypotheses

MPEG movies of the predicted movement of tagged yellowfin in the Hawaiian Islands under various hypotheses of directed and random movement are available below. Each movie frame is composed of four plots: the top-left plot shows the estimated catch distribution in a given month as a percentage of the available population by 6 commercial fleets, the top-right plot shows the resultant movement of the tags during that month, the bottom-left plot shows the movement hypothesis and model regionalization and the bottom-right plot shows, for each 1° x 1° bin, a comparison of predicted recapture numbers (upper triangle) to actual recaptures (bottom triangle) - a bin having a single color indicating agreement.

(1) A model with no directed movement

(MPEG file 561 kb).

(2) Random and directed movement (from the SW)

(MPEG file 558 kb).

(3) Random and directed movement (from the NE)

(MPEG file 564 kb).

(4) Random and directed movement (from the SE) using centered-space differencing

(MPEG file 564 kb).

(5) Random and directed movement (from the SE) using upwind differencing

(MPEG file 572 kb).

(6) A seasonal model in which 500 tags are released at the start of each quarter for one year at sites near Kauai, Hawaii and Cross seamount. This model uses the centered-space scheme with open boundary conditions. The directed movement pattern mimics the annual north-south migration of the North Equatorial Current and the random movement pattern is based on observed catch characteristics. (MPEG file 840 kb).

We are concerned with the development of hypotheses for the release regime, natural mortality and movement of tagged yellowfin tuna ("tags") in the Hawaiian Islands. Since the paths taken by released individuals are unknown, the movement parameters that can be determined from tag release-recapture experiments are those of bulk movement, assumed to have both directed and random components. Adopting this viewpoint allows the application of the well known advection-diffusion-mortality model to the release-recapture data, with the advection parameter interpreted as the component of net "directed movement" of the tags and the diffusion parameter as the component of net "random movement"; the mortality parameter will include terms to account for death by both natural and fishing causes.

Abstract of report

Large scale release-recapture programs initiated with the purpose of providing information for fishery management are both lengthy and expensive. The objective of this project is to use computer simulations to establish whether such a program might be useful in answering questions about yellowfin tuna in the Hawaiian Islands EEZ.

Computer simulations were carried out using a seasonal hypothesis for bulk behavioral movement of tagged yellowfin (tags) to determine if the movement parameters could be faithfully reproduced by the available estimation software. Two numerical schemes were compared, each under open and closed boundary conditions. Three values for monthly natural mortality were used. Results for a 10\%/month natural mortality rate are given in detail.

The effect of adjusting reporting rates and numbers of tag releases was examined. Assuming that tag recapture percentages indicate catch percentages, fleet interactions can be estimated by manipulating fleet participation. These experiments, using 1991-92 effort data, suggest that the interaction between longline and nearshore fleets is only a few percent. Interaction between the three nearshore fleets is similarly either negligible or only a few percent, but this latter result may reflect our restructuring of the supplied data set. Restructuring of the original handline data was necessary following input from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) concerning an offshore group of handliners and was also prompted by otherwise inexplicably high ratios noted at certain locations between observed catch and catch estimates based on global CPUE (catch per unit effort).

Parameter values were accurately recovered in model regions encompassing the release sites. Confidence in the values depends directly on the number of recaptures made in a given region: the greater the number of recaptures, the more accurate the mean of the estimates and the smaller its accompanying standard deviation.

Based on these results and others obtained using simple one-season hypotheses for behavioral movement, we believe that reliable movement and mortality data is recoverable from any sensibly posed tag release-recapture experiment for the Hawaiian Islands EEZ. Release numbers should be of the order of 500 per month. This figure should be achievable using scientific personnel and a dedicated vessel; it is not likely to be achieved using the services and the boats of local fishermen.

Complete text of report

The complete text of the report can be found at: Postscript copy of report. If your web browser uses ghostview to view this file, you can obtain a file copy of sections of it (or the entire document) by using the "Mark" option under the Page menu and then the "Save marked pages..." option under the File menu.

Links to relevant projects

Dr. Bo Qiu (School of Ocean Earth Sciences and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawaii) (see PFRP project "A numerical investigation of ocean circulation and pelagic fisheries around the Hawaiian Islands") has provided hydrodynamic flowfield data from a two-and-a-half layer model driven by annual climatological winds.

Dr. Pierre Flament (SOEST, University of Hawaii) has provided mean currents and eddy diffusivities for the Hawaiian Islands EEZ based on an analysis of the movement of drifting buoys, which is the focus of his PFRP project "Physical characteristics of the environment influencing pelagic fisheries".

Since the estimation routine is capable of faithfully reproducing the parameters specified in a given hypothesis, some hard data on the actual movement of tagged yellowfin in Hawaiian waters would greatly assist in evaluating specific designs. Such information is being gathered Dr. Kim Holland's PFRP project: "A tag and release program for the Hawaiian seamount yellowfin and bigeye tuna handline and troll fisheries".

Movie of tag movement using SSAP data

The following movie of tuna movement in the Western Pacific, constructed by John Sibert and Richard Bailey, utilizes tag release and return records from the Skipjack Survey Assesment Program (1977-1982), and incorporates logbook effort data for the same period. The upwind differencing scheme was used.

movie camera (1) SSAP movement model (MPEG file 2.9Mb).

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This page updated August 14, 2006