The Indian Ocean Tuna Tagging Symposium will be held on 30th October to 2nd November 2012 in Mauritius in order to review the results obtained from the seven year Indian Ocean Tuna Tagging Programme (IOTTP). This programme was supervised in its entirety by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) from 2002 to 2009 and was comprised of an EU-funded large scale project implemented by the Commission de l’Océan Indien (COI), the Regional Tuna Tagging Project (RTTP-IO) and of a series of small-scale project in Maldives, India, Mayotte, Indonesia funded by the EU, the Government of Japan and the People’s Republic of China.
The ultimate goal of the programme was to improve the ability of the IOTC member states to manage the tuna fisheries in the Indian Ocean through a better knowledge of the status and population dynamics of the main stocks. The data collected were expected to make a significant contribution to the stock assessments.
As part of the different activities of the IOTTP, more than 200 000 tuna were tagged and released, of which 84% were released during the RTTP-IO. To date an excess of 31,500 tags (15.7%) have been recovered and returned to the IOTC Secretariat from these tagged fish.
The extensive dataset generated during this programme has not yet been fully analysed. However, the results of the first analyses conducted by the scientific community have provided new insights on the biology, the population dynamic and status of the main tuna species. For example, tagging data provided new estimations of the growth of the three tropical tuna species. They have also provided insights into their spatial dynamics including examples of large-scale movements, from fish tagged in Tanzania waters and subsequently recovered in the Arabian Sea, Indonesia and the South Atlantic.
The Indian Ocean Tuna Tagging Symposium provides a valuable opportunity to encourage new in-depth analyses of the data, and their integration into the assessment of the stocks. It will also provide a forum to discuss the state-of-the-art in the design and implementation of tagging programmes, and the lessons learned from the IOTTP experience.
The Symposium is funded by the European Union, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD).