Nouméa, New Caledonia
Nouméa, New Caledonia

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The red octopus (Octopus maya) is an endemic species of the Yucatán Peninsula and its fishery is one of the most important along the Atlantic coast of Mexico. Commercial exploitation started in 1949. Since 2002 an index of abundance has been estimated, and this index was used to perform a stock assessment and decision analysis using the Schaefer model. A Bayesian approach was applied to estimate the model parameters and to project the species population under two management scenarios with a constant harvest rate and a positive implementation error. Results suggest that in 1995 the biomass corresponded to 23% of the population carrying capacity (K) and that the current stock is only 14% of K. The population may be depleted and a rebuilding plan might be necessary. In the decision analysis, when the implementation error was included, the Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulations suggested that the current level of exploitation (50% harvest rate) could produce a decreasing trend with the most probable biomass of 9679 t and an expected catch of 7920 t in 2018, and an expected probability of 0.82 of the population being less than 40% of K. On the contrary, a 30% harvest rate would raise the expected catch in 2018 (12,058 t), also reducing the probability of the population being smaller than 40% of K. The inclusion of the implementation error provides a more realistic scenario and represents a more conservative option; therefore, using this type of auxiliary data within a Bayesian framework is recommended for the decision making process. If adopted by Mexican fisheries managers, the approach used in this study could help improve the management of this resource and keep exploitation at sustainable levels.

Clua E.,Secretariat of the Pacific Community | Buray N.,CNRS Insular Research Center and Environment Observatory | Legendre P.,University of Montréal | Mourier J.,CNRS Insular Research Center and Environment Observatory | Planes S.,CNRS Insular Research Center and Environment Observatory
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2010

The feeding of marine predators is a popular means by which tourists and tour operators can facilitate close observation and interaction with wildlife. Shark-feeding has become the most developed provisioning activity around the world, despite its controversial nature. Amongst other detrimental effects, the long-term aggregation of sharks can modify the natural behaviour of the animals, potentially increase their aggression toward humans, and favour inbreeding. During 949 diving surveys conducted over 44 mo, we investigated the ecology and residence patterns of 36 photoidentified adult sicklefin lemon sharks Negaprion acutidens. The group contained 20 females and 16 males. From this long-term survey, we identified 5 different behavioural groups that we described as 'new sharks' (7), 'missing sharks' (4), 'resident sharks' (13), 'unpredictable sharks' (5) and 'ghost sharks' (7). In spite of movements in and out of the area by some males and females, which were probably related to mating, the general trend was that residency significantly increased during the study, particularly in males, showing a risk of inbreeding due to the reduction of shark mobility. Intraand interspecific aggression was also witnessed, leading to an increased risk of potentially severe bites to humans. Our findings suggest the need for a revision of the legal framework of the provisioning activity in French Polynesia, which could include a yearly closure period to decrease shark behavioural modifications due to long-term shark-feeding activities. © Inter-Research 2010.

Roth A.,Secretariat of the Pacific Community | Mercier A.,Secretariat of the Pacific Community | Lepers C.,Secretariat of the Pacific Community | Hoy D.,Secretariat of the Pacific Community | And 4 more authors.
Eurosurveillance | Year: 2014

Since January 2012, the Pacific Region has experienced 28 new documented outbreaks and circulation of dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus. These mosquito- borne disease epidemics seem to become more frequent and diverse, and it is likely that this is only the early stages of a wave that will continue for several years. Improved surveillance and response measures are needed to mitigate the already heavy burden on island health systems and limit further spread to other parts of the world. © 2014, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). All rights reserved.

Weng K.C.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Weng K.C.,Virginia Institute of Marine Science | Glazier E.,20 W. Henderson | Nicol S.J.,Secretariat of the Pacific Community | Hobday A.J.,CSIRO
Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography | Year: 2015

In the coming decades, fishery resource managers and policy-makers in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) will be increasingly challenged by the need to ensure food security in the context of a changing climate, increasing human pressure on the marine environment, and limited understanding of marine ecosystems and associated resources. These decision-makers must address a pressing and overarching question - how will pelagic resources and pressures on such resources change over time and space? Answering this question requires ongoing inquiry into critical dimensions of pelagic species and systems, for both the commercial tuna species that are managed by Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs), as well as nearshore pelagic fishes that support many small-scale fisheries and are managed at national and local levels. Research priorities include generating further insight into life history and physiology, oceanographic context, movement and migration, food webs, ecosystem dynamics and stock status. Concurrently, socioeconomic research is needed to tailor fisheries management strategies to local, national and regional conditions; and improve understanding of incentive structures among players in RFMOs such as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. PICT-based scientists and managers are ideally situated to generate new fisheries-relevant data; however, investments are needed to expand the capacity for research, management, and sustainable fisheries development within PICTs. Such capacity building can be accelerated through collaboration between PICTs, RFMOs, and scientific centers of excellence in Distant Water Fishing Nations. Without increased capacity development, this region will be adversely affected by the impacts of climate change and less able to take advantage of opportunities for economic development. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Werry J.M.,Griffith University | Werry J.M.,Ocean and Coast Research | Berumen M.L.,King Abdullah University of Science and Technology | Berumen M.L.,Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Knowledge of the habitat use and migration patterns of large sharks is important for assessing the effectiveness of large predator Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), vulnerability to fisheries and environmental influences, and management of shark-human interactions. Here we compare movement, reef-fidelity, and ocean migration for tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, across the Coral Sea, with an emphasis on New Caledonia. Thirty-three tiger sharks (1.54 to 3.9 m total length) were tagged with passive acoustic transmitters and their localised movements monitored on receiver arrays in New Caledonia, the Chesterfield and Lord Howe Islands in the Coral Sea, and the east coast of Queensland, Australia. Satellite tags were also used to determine habitat use and movements among habitats across the Coral Sea. Sub-adults and one male adult tiger shark displayed year-round residency in the Chesterfields with two females tagged in the Chesterfields and detected on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, after 591 and 842 days respectively. In coastal barrier reefs, tiger sharks were transient at acoustic arrays and each individual demonstrated a unique pattern of occurrence. From 2009 to 2013, fourteen sharks with satellite and acoustic tags undertook wide-ranging movements up to 1114 km across the Coral Sea with eight detected back on acoustic arrays up to 405 days after being tagged. Tiger sharks dove 1136 m and utilised three-dimensional activity spaces averaged at 2360 km3. The Chesterfield Islands appear to be important habitat for sub-adults and adult male tiger sharks. Management strategies need to consider the wide-ranging movements of large (sub-adult and adult) male and female tiger sharks at the individual level, whereas fidelity to specific coastal reefs may be consistent across groups of individuals. Coastal barrier reef MPAs, however, only afford brief protection for large tiger sharks, therefore determining the importance of other oceanic Coral Sea reefs should be a priority for future research. © 2014 Werry et al.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: INCO-2009-1.4 | Award Amount: 1.80M | Year: 2010

The Pacific-EU network for Science and Technology will establish a bi-regional dialogue platform on S&T between EU and the 15 countries member of the Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Group of the Pacific region, namely Cook Islands, Federate States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, East Timor, Tonga, Tuvalu and Samoa. The PACE-NET project will also closely involve the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) in the Pacific region (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Pitcairn) while Australia and New Zealand will bring to PACE-Net project their long-standing expertise in the Pacific. PACE-Net pursue the following objectives: - To reinforce existing S&T dialogues and networks and promote regional integration for those networks. PACE-NET will seek to increase the cooperation between the research organizations and universities in the region; - To identify S&T international cooperation activities and programmes towards the Pacific region. The PACE-NET will set up dialogue fora bringing together the relevant S&T experts and stakeholders to establish the priorities areas for FP7, including SICAs; - To strengthen the coordination of S&T cooperation and the complementarities with activities and programs carried out by other European instruments. PACE-NET will examine possible synergies or complementarities with EU activities, especially with respect to challenges faces by developing countries. In particular, synergies with the European Development Fund shall be found. PACE-Net dialogue activities led will be fed by a preliminary critical and analytical work on the current S&T cooperation landscape in the region. The outcomes of the project will be transmitted to main Pacific fora gathering key stakeholders of the Pacific Islands Countries and Territories (PICTs).

Lehodey P.,CLS | Senina I.,CLS | Nicol S.,Secretariat of the Pacific Community | Hampton J.,Secretariat of the Pacific Community
Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography | Year: 2015

The potential impact of climate change under the IPCC AR4-A2 scenario (close to the AR5-RCP8.5 scenario) on south Pacific albacore tuna (. Thunnus alalunga) is simulated with the Spatial Ecosystem And Population Dynamics Model (SEAPODYM) and environmental forcing variables provided by the Earth Climate model IPSL-CM4. Parameters controlling the habitat and dynamics of the population were optimized by fitting the model, using maximum likelihood, to a complete fishing data set for the historical fishing period since 1950. Albacore undertake clear seasonal migrations between feeding and spawning grounds, as evidenced by seasonal catch and size composition changes. This seasonality was well predicted by the SEAPODYM albacore simulations. The total biomass estimate of south Pacific albacore was predicted to have decreased from ~1.8 million tonnes (Mt) at the beginning of industrial fisheries in 1950 to 1.25. Mt in 2006, in good agreement with an independent estimate from stock assessment analysis. A simulation without fishing indicated an equivalent contribution of environmental variability and fishing to the historical decrease of the stock biomass. The parameterized SEAPODYM model was used to project the dynamics of the population until the end of the 21st century with an average fishing effort based on recent years. Under this fishing and climate change scenario, the population was predicted to decrease and to stabilize after 2035 just below 0.8. Mt, i.e., 55% below the initial biomass of 1960. After 2080 however, the trend was reversed when a new spawning ground emerged in the north Tasman Sea. A test simulation highlighted the sensitivity of the model results to projected dissolved oxygen concentration for which there is large uncertainty in the tropical region. A second test simulation showed that genetic selection favouring albacore with preferences for higher optimal ambient spawning temperature would maintain a reduced level of spawning in current tropical spawning areas, suppress the emergence of an area of spawning in the north Tasman Sea and therefore keep stock abundance at low 2035 levels. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IEF | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IEF | Award Amount: 240.14K | Year: 2013

There is growing concern about the sustainability of fisheries targeting highly migratory fish species worldwide. Tuna and tuna-like species are exploited by multiple nations and the regulation of these stocks are, from a political perspective, exceedingly difficult. Management measures need of a sound scientific knowledge of the stocks and fisheries dynamics. Traditional stock assessment techniques cannot be used in this kind of fisheries, and there is an increasing need for the further development of integrated stock assessment techniques. The aim of the current proposal is the training of the fellow in state-of-the-art stock assessment models and the further development of these models through the inclusion of electronic tagging data, spatial variability of biological parameters, and projections of the models into the future. The south Pacific swordfish, Xiphias gladius, has been chosen as a base case, since assessments of this species are are scheduled to occur in the next 2 years, and due to the role of the EU fleet in the fishery of this resouce. The conclusion of the project would result in a highly trained scientist who can critically review stock assessments of the most important global fish stocks (tuna, swordfish, marlin) that are provided to Regional Fisheries Management Organisations. This would reinforce the position of the applicant as advisor in fisheries management in the framework of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. Provision of this level of technical training is highly innovative, provide the EU with the capacity to readily obtain expert advice and will position the EU as a leader is this important area of sustainability sciences. Additionally, the integration of the training objectives and the applicant background would also provide the opportunity of leading some of the developments of the stock assessment models currently in use in tuna RFMOs and, therefore, lead to an independent research line.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: INCO.2013-1.5 | Award Amount: 3.36M | Year: 2013

The research and innovation landscape of the Pacific is extremely diverse, ranging from Pacific Island Countries and Territories with little or no ST&I capacity, Overseas Countries Territories with strong capacities, to New Zealand and Australia, which have numerous networks of research and innovation institutions. The EU, which maintains a long standing relationship with the Pacific, aims for enhancing its profile and reinforcing cooperation in ST&I with the region, in the perspective of the forthcoming Horizon 2020 Programme, and promote the development of mutually beneficial partnerships Considering the results of past and ongoing initiatives supporting the EU-Pacific ST&I cooperation, PACE-Net Plus will: - Support the EU-Pacific policy dialogue in ST&I, including dialogue on innovation issues. - Reinforce the EU-Pacific ST&I cooperation, focusing on 3 major societal challenges: 1) health, demographic change and wellbeing; 2) food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research and the bio-economy; and 3) climate action, resource use and efficiency, and raw materials; Encourage the coordination between the EU and Member States ST&I programmes and policies targeting the Pacific by promoting the implementation of joint actions. - Enhance the cooperation on innovation issues, by helping in bridging the gap between public and private sectors. The project will promote the idea of innovation as an essential mean for tackling global challenges and will respond to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy and its Innovation Union Flagship Initiative. - Strengthen the Pacific-EU research cooperation partnerships, through the promotion of EC and MS&AC programmes, especially Horizon 2020, among Pacific research community, as well as the Pacific opportunities for European researchers.

News Article | November 9, 2015

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) convened roughly 60 stakeholders in June in Nairobi to finalize the concept of the Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA) and exchange views on the best way forward. GEA's Executive Director Karl Gawell participated as a U.S. NGO representative with support from Power Africa and the U.S. – East Africa Geothermal Partnership. "The high-level policy involvement by the leadership and participants was impressive and a measure of success for IRENA's efforts," noted Gawell. Prior to the Nairobi meeting, talk of an Energy Global Geothermal Alliance took the form of an Action Statement and Action Plan at the United Nations' September 2014 Climate Summit in New York, though that development did not have official U.S. participation. As a result of the June meeting, the Executive Directors of both GEA and the International Geothermal Association (IGA) expressed willingness and interest in supporting the effort. The meeting was conducted by Joseph Njoroge, Principal Secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Energy; Adnan Amin, Director General of IRENA and H.E. Simon D'Ujanga, Minister of Energy, Uganda. IRENA officials said, "The Alliance aims to identify and promote different models associated with geothermal development and generation to enable and encourage investments and to integrate geothermal facilities into energy markets." Numerous participants reviewed the status of geothermal efforts in their countries:
 ·      Kenya's Geothermal Development Corporation gave an impressive presentation on their effort to prioritize geothermal development, noting Kenya is now number 8 in geothermal worldwide. But Kenya made it clear that it intends to go further, with an estimated geothermal potential of 10,000 MW.
 ·      Sahele Fekede of Ethiopia's Ministry presented the numerous developments underway in his country. He noted they are working with various multi-lateral and financial entities and also discussed a new Ethiopian geothermal resource assessment that estimates 2,114 MW to 10,791 MW potential with 4,200 MW as "most likely." He said they intend to have a new geothermal framework implemented by the end of the year.
 ·      Rainer Halcon of the Philippines Department of Energy noted that geothermal energy now makes up more than 10 percent of energy capacity in the Philippines and 13 percent of the power mix. He said that since passage of a new renewable energy law the interest in geothermal has resurged and also gave a new installation target of 1,180 MW by 2020.
 ·      Camilo Tautiva from Columbia presented a map showing ten energy projects, adding that his country is actively working on new policy and regulatory structure for geothermal.
 ·      Peru's representative, Alcides Claros, presented details on 2,860 MW of potential in Peru. He said they had already granted 20 licenses for geothermal.
 ·      About 15 percent of Costa Rica's energy is now geothermal. The country has a new 55-MW project under construction and 2 more scheduled to be on-line in 2021 and 2023, respectively.
 ·      Representatives from El Salvador said that the country is now 24 percent geothermal powered and highlighted efforts to develop a regional geothermal center.
 ·      The Secretariat of the Pacific Community pointed to Papua New Guinea, The Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji as potential geothermal strong spots. There were afternoon presentations by GEA, IRENA, Enel Green Power, IFC, French Ministry of Ecology and the African Union. GEA's presentation centered on geothermal risk and risk mitigation points that were previously presented in a joint GEA-U.S. Department of State workshop in 2014 and was well received. Following these presentations an open discussion sought to clarify the concept of a Global Geothermal Alliance. In general there was strong support for moving forward with the IRENA effort. The following day the group toured the Olkaria Geothermal Site. "The geothermal work at Olkaria is impressive," noted Gawell. "Olkaria development is something Kenyans are proud of and it should give other countries a sense of what is possible for their economy if they pursue geothermal power." IRENA intends to make the presentations available on its Web site in the near future. Lead image: Olkaria Geothermal Field in Kenya, June 2015. Credit: GEA. A delegation of geothermal stakeholders visited Kenya for the Global Geothermal Alliance meeting and toured the control room of Olkaria 4 Power Plant on June 16, 2015. Credit: GEA.

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