The Oceanic Fisheries Programme of SPC has developed a Shark Research Plan (SRP) for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to inform future discussions on the need for further management measures for sharks by providing a scientific basis for evaluating stock status. The SRP has highlighted several research activities which could be undertaken as collaborative projects or contributions and should be initiated as soon as possible in order to support the shark assessments. One of these is a coordinated review of all Pacific shark tagging data to understand the extent and usefulness of existing information and the need for further work.
Tagging studies provide essential information for shark species stock assessments on movement, habitat area, growth and natural mortality. But while the existence of some studies could be confirmed, the numbers of species tagged and tracked/recovered by each could not, and the availability of the findings in published reports or other sources was unknown. This lack of information hampered the ability of scientists to access the most relevant existing data for shark assessments and prevented clear identification of priorities for future shark tagging research.
These were the motivations for development of the Shark TAGging Information System (STAGIS). It represents a database of shark tagging studies conducted in the Pacific Ocean and is hosted on the SPC-OFP website for free public access.
In addition to supporting stock assessments of the key shark species, STAGIS can assist in highlighting issues for further research, facilitating research collaboration, and identifying critical habitats.