We are thrilled to share some incredible news with all of you! It is with great pleasure that we announce that AIMM in collaboration with the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), has been awarded a new research project!
The project is funded by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna (PAST). Its objective is to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to evaluate if dolphin mother-calf separations occur during tuna purse seine fishing operations in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP).
Despite a more than 99% reduction in observed mortality in the fishery, the last abundance surveys conducted by the US National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) in 2006, suggested that ETP populations of spinner dolphin and pantropical spotted dolphin might not be recovering as quickly as might be expected, in the absence of fishery-based mortality. One of several hypothesis about this possible inhibition of recovery suggested that mother-calf separation might be a source of cryptic mortality, not detected by fisheries observers on the decks of purse-seine vessels. This question and uncertainty have not been addressed convincingly in past decades.
This project will provide us with an exceptional opportunity to showcase our skills, bring new insights about this question and contribute to the improvement of the sustainability of tuna purse seine fishing operations in the ETP.
We would like to express our gratitude to our team members and our colleagues from the University of Alaska Southeast who contributed to the proposal development. Also, to IATTC for the trust in our project and for supporting us to answer this important conservation issue.
As we move forward, we will communicate further details about the project on our website and social media. So be sure to follow us to not miss anything!