Working Group 34: Joint PICES / ISC Working Group on Ocean Conditions and the Distribution and Productivity of Highly Migratory Fish
Statement of Purpose:

The proposed Joint Working Group will collaborate on deriving habitat models relating albacore tuna distributions to oceanographic conditions. Albacore tuna is the most temperate highly migratory species and much of its range overlaps the PICES domain. In addition, the stock is considered healthy and capable of supporting current exploitation thus environmentally-driven distribution and productivity changes should be more easily discernible from signals related to direct human impacts (fishing). The proposed Joint Working Group will also investigate mechanisms regulating albacore productivity by relating large-scale climate indices that describe North Pacific Ocean states to albacore tuna recruitment indices and demographic parameters.

Terms of Reference
  1. Promote research between PICES and ISC communities directed at understanding oceanographic conditions that provide suitable habitat for large, highly migratory pelagic fishes (specifically albacore tuna) in the North Pacific Ocean;
  2. Facilitate communication, regular exchange of information and organization of meetings to discuss and publish data, methodologies and results of research outlined above;
  3. Identify relevant environmental and distribution data sets for derivation of habitat models for albacore tuna, and if available for other key large pelagic fish species. Use these data to develop habitat models (and quantify model uncertainty), that identify oceanographic conditions that drive distribution of albacore tuna and predict fishery CPUE ‘hot spots’;
  4. Identify relevant climate indices, demographic parameters and recruitment indices for investigation of climate driven variability in ocean state and productivity of albacore tuna, and if available for other key large pelagic fish species. Use these data to investigate linkages between large-scale climate indices and fish productivity.
  5. Hold three workshops, one each year of the duration of the Working Group: with the first and third workshops held in conjunction with the PICES Annual Meeting (PICES-2016, USA and PICES-2018, Japan), and the second workshop held in conjunction with the ISC Plenary Meeting (July 2017, location TBD). Reports of these workshops will be jointly published by PICES and the ISC;
  6. Produce peer-reviewed publications of scientific results;
  7. Publish a final report summarizing the results of the WG as a PICES Scientific Report.
Annual Meetings



Session and Workshop Summaries

S11, Incorporating ecosystem variability and climate change into fisheries management: Progress and challenges for EBFM in the 21st century

S12, Applying ecosystem considerations in science advice for managing highly migratory species

W3, Linking oceanographic conditions to the distribution and productivity of highly migratory species and incorporation into fishery stock assessment models

W4, Methods relating oceanographic conditions to the distribution of highly migratory species

PICES Scientific Reports
PICES Sci. Rep. No. 61
Barbara Muhling and Siqing Chen (Eds.) 2020 Report of PICES/ISC Working Group 34 on Ocean Conditions and the Distribution and Productivity of Highly Migratory Fish
Primary Journals
Dynamic habitat use of albacore and their primary prey species in the California Current System. Muhling B., A., Brodie, S., Jacox, M., Snodgrass, O., Dewar, H., Tommasi, D., Edwards, C. A., Xu, Y., Snyder, S., and Childers, J. 2019. CalCOFI Reports, 60: 79–93

Runcie, R. M., Muhling, B. A., Hazen, E. L., Bograd, S. J., Garfield, T., and DiNardo, G. (2019). Environmental associations of Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) catch in the California Current system. Fisheries Oceanography 28: 372-388,
Related Materials
SG-SCISC (Joint ISC-PICES Study Group for Scientific Cooperation of ISC and PICES)
PICES Members as of August 2020