The 2020 Pacific Tuna tagging success

The Pacific Community (SPC) has completed a critical expedition to monitor the health of the world's largest tuna fishery in the Western and Central Pacific. The success of the expedition was largely due to increased support provided by the fishing industry and technology sectors.

After 50 days in the waters of Kiribati and the high seas, the expedition tagged 6387 tuna, a record for the number of tags deployed on an SPC tagging cruise in the Central Pacific since the tagging programme began in 2006. The expedition also collected biological samples from over 500 fish and genetic samples from 800 specimens.

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Blog of a Marine Scientist onboard of the 2020 Tuna tagging cruise


Napo'opo'o native, Giulia Anderson, is a young fisheries molecular geneticist who has suddenly found herself as an integral part of a 7-week research expedition to monitor the health of world’s largest tuna fishery, which is an activity that no other SPC scientist was not able to do this year, for the first time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Giulia had only just landed her dream job with the Pacific Community (SPC) in New Caledonia before finding out she would be part of the 2020 Pacific Tuna Tagging expedition which departed from Honolulu on Saturday 15 August 2020, with a mostly Hawaii-based science team.

With most research and fisheries observer programmes currently suspended due to COVID-19, the 50-day expedition will not make any port calls in an effort to avoid any potential for COVID-19 transmission to the remote and vulnerable communities of the Pacific. 

After only just completing her PhD in 2019 from Fiji's University of the South Pacific, Giulia reflects on her hopes and concerns as she joins this scientific expedition across the vast Pacific Ocean to help boost our understanding of Pacific tuna stocks.

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Fisheries, Aquaculture & Marine Ecosystems