- About ISC
- Rules and Procedures
Rules and Procedures
The International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC) was established in 1995 for the purpose of enhancing scientific research and cooperation for conservation and rational utilization of tuna and tuna-like species (HMS) of the North Pacific Ocean, and to establish the scientific groundwork for the conservation and rational utilization of the HMS in the North Pacific Ocean.
The Committee is made up of Members from coastal states and fishing entities of the region and coastal states and fishing entities with vessels fishing for HMS in the region, and Non-voting Members from relevant intergovernmental fishery and marine science organizations, recognized by all members. Its functions are to regularly assess and analyze fishery and other relevant information concerning the species covered; prepare reports of its findings or conclusions on the status of the species covered, including trends in population abundance, developments in fisheries, and conservation needs. It promotes research cooperation and collaboration among members by developing proposals for conduct of and, to the extent possible, coordinates international and national programs of research addressing the species covered. Furthermore, it uses the best available science and takes into account the work and findings of other relevant technical and scientific organizations in execution of its functions. English is the working language of the organization.
- Nominees for Chairperson are from Members attending the meeting.
- The Chairperson is elected by secret ballot, one vote per Member and by majority vote of Members attending the meeting. The first round of an election will consist of each voting Member having the opportunity to submit one nominee's name on a secret ballot. If the same name appears on a majority of ballots submitted, that candidate shall be declared the elected Chairperson. If no majority of nominee appears on the ballots, the two nominees receiving the most votes would be the candidates for the second round. Members would vote for one of the candidates in the second round and the candidate receiving the majority of votes submitted shall be declared the elected Chairperson. If a tie vote results, a third round of voting between the two nominees shall be held in order to secure a candidate with majority votes.
- The Chairperson serves for a term of three years and is eligible for re-election for one additional three-year term. In the unusual event that no member is able to serve as Chairperson, a standing Chairperson may serve an additional two consecutive years beyond the two terms provided that (1) the standing Chairperson is willing to stand for re-appointment and (2) the Committee re-elects the standing Chairperson. The Chairperson will be elected for a one-year term, and if a new Chairperson is still not identified the Committee can re-elect the standing Chairperson for a second one-year term. A Chairperson cannot be re-elected beyond this additional two-year period.
- The runner-up candidate in the second or third round of the election for Chairperson shall be declared the elected Vice Chairperson. If only one nominee results from the first round of the election for Chairperson, the Chairperson election process shall be applied to elect a Vice Chairperson.
- The Vice Chairperson serves for a term of three years and is eligible for reelection for an additional three-year term.
In 1996, the ISC established three species Working Groups (Bigeye Tuna Working Group, Pacific Bluefin Tuna Working Group, and Swordfish Working Group) and a Statistics Working Group. A fourth species Working Group, the Marlin Working Group, was created in 1999. In 2004, the Bigeye Tuna Working Group was dissolved and a Bycatch Working Group was created. In 2005, the North Pacific Albacore Workshop was merged into the ISC and renamed the Albacore Working Group. In 2007, the Swordfish Working Group and the Marlin Working Group were merged into a Billfish Working Group. In 2010, the Bycatch Working Group was dissolved and a Shark Working Group was established.
These Working Groups are subsidiary bodies of the Committee and report to the Committee. Each provide a forum for cooperation/collaboration in research by Member and Non-voting Member scientists as well as for focused consideration of technical matters assigned by the Committee. The species Working Groups' primarily focus is on understanding the dynamics and ecology of the HMS and associated-species populations in order to accurately assess stock condition and status. The Statistical Working Group focuses on collection, exchange and archiving of fishery, biological and other data needed for stock assessments and for monitoring fishery developments, statistics and bycatch. The work of these Working Groups is guided by multi-year work plans and demands by the Committee.
The Working Group Chairperson is responsible for chairing meetings of the Working Group, facilitating the development of multi-year work plans and coordinating work plan assignments, organizing meetings, including advanced preparation of agendas, scheduling of presenters, appointing of rapporteurs, providing assignments for reports, and ensuring that Committee assignments are completed as required. The Chairperson also facilitates the meetings, to ensure that participants with differing views get an opportunity to be heard. The Chairperson strives for consensus of all members in reporting of Working Group findings, conclusions and decisions to the Committee.
The Chairperson serves a three-year term and may be reappointed for an additional three-year term, but not for more than two consecutive terms. In the unusual event that no member is able to serve as Chairperson, a standing Chairperson may serve an additional two consecutive years beyond the two terms provided that (1) the standing Chairperson is willing to stand for re-appointment and (2) the Working Group re-elects the standing Chairperson. The Chairperson will be elected for a one-year term, and if a new Chairperson is still not identified the Working Group can re-elect the standing Chairperson for a second one-year term. A Chairperson cannot be re-elected beyond this additional two-year period.
The Vice Chair serves for a term of one-to-three years, at the discretion of the Working Group, and is eligible for reelection for additional terms.
- Review of Recent Fisheries (Description of recent developments and issues of fisheries.)
- Fishery Statistics (Presentation of fishing area by gear, time series of landings or catches, catch-effort or CPUE trends, size composition and other biological statistics, e.g., sex ratio and by-catch.)
- Review of Biological Studies (Research results from biological working papers and summary of comments by participants.)
- Stock Assessment Model, Parameter Estimates and Runs (Selections used in the stock assessment)
- Current Stock Status (Stock assessment findings, conclusions from comparison with typically used biological reference points, uncertainties and conservation considerations.)
- Special Assignments. (Additional research needs to address uncertainties and work plan for next assessment.)
- Research Recommendations and Updated Work Plan (Recommendations should be reported by category, statistics, biological studies and stock assessment and focused for advancing understanding of the resource, particularly for more accurate stock assessments.)
- Administrative Matters (A catch-all section for time and place for next meeting, acknowledgments, and discussion of other administrative matters.)
Findings, conclusions, and decisions of Working Groups are to be agreed by consensus; however, if reasonable efforts are made and fail to yield consensus, reports and findings may reflect opinions and the differing views and provide suggestions for resolving or a research plan that would resolve or clarify the different views might also be proposed.
To achieve these goals, stock assessments should be based on best available scientific information (BSIA) on (1) fishery catch, effort and operational characteristics, (2) fishery performance statistics (i.e., CPUE) and (3) biological parameters. The stock assessment model should be chosen based on complexity, resolution and quality of BSIA. Stock status determinations should be provided relative to common biological reference points. To assist resource managers with their decision making, stock projections and harvest policy analyses should be conducted.
The frequency and level of stock assessments (benchmark and update) will be determined by the Working Group for consideration by the Committee.
The following are guidelines for developing BSIA for ISC stock assessments and should be incorporated into all ISC stock assessments where possible:
- For developing BSIA on fishery catch:
- Accurate Species Identification
- Spatiotemporal Estimates of Catch, Fishing Effort and Size or Age compositions by Fishing Fleet and Gear
- Characterization of Uncertainty in Catch Reporting Including Bycatch and Discards
- For developing BSIA on fishery CPUE standardizations:
- Fishery Descriptions Including History of Fishery Development and Changes
- Describe Data Selection, CPUE Standardization Model, and CPUE Estimates
- Provide Model Diagnostics and Goodness of Model Fit Criteria Relative to Alternative Model Configurations
- Compare Nominal and Standardized CPUE
- Characterize Uncertainty in Estimates of Standardized CPUE
- For Developing BSIA on fishery stock assessment:
- Description of Model Structure and Assumptions
- Document Statistical Formulation
- Provide Diagnostics of Model Fit to Data
- Describe Model Results Including Stock Status Relative to Biological Reference Points
- Characterize Uncertainty in Model Results Including Sensitivity Analyses for Key Parameters
- Provide Projections of Management Actions
- Components of a structured ISC stock assessment document.
- Executive Summary
- Background on Biology, Fisheries, and Previous Assessment
- Data Used for Assessment (describe any of the following used)
- Spatial Stratification
- Temporal Stratification
- Catch Data
- Abundance Data, e.g. CPUE
- Tagging Data
- Assessment Model (describe any of the following available/used)
- Population Dynamics
- Cohort Dynamics
- Initial Population Size
- Sexual Maturity and Fecundity
- Natural Mortality
- Stock-Recruitment Resilience
- Fishery Dynamics
- Fishery Selectivity
- Catchability for Abundance Indices
- Tagging Dynamics
- Likelihood Components
- Observation Error Model
- Process Error Model
- Prior Distributions or Parameter Constraints
- Model Parameters
- Process Dynamics
- Model Results
- Model Convergence Diagnostics
- Fit of Model Predictions to Observed Data
- Model Parameter Estimates
- Biomass and Fishing Mortality Estimates
- Biological Reference Points
- Stock Status Assessment Results Determination Relative to BRPs
- Population Dynamics
- Projections and Harvest Policy Analysis (include if developed for stock)
- Kobe Status Plot
- Retrospective Analysis
- Harvest Projections
- Fishery Performance Indicators
- Average Yield and Variability
- Probability of Overfishing and Overfished Status
- Probability of Exceeding Threshold and Target Biomass
- Kobe II Strategy Matrix
- Guidelines for the Executive Summary of a stock assessment conducted by the ISC.
- Status of Stock Assessment results relative to BRPs
- Management Conservation Advice
- Three-Year Forecast Table
- Landings and Status Table
- Landings by Fleet
- Spawning Biomass
- Fishing Mortality
- Exploitation Rate
- Stock Identification and Distribution
- Data and Assessment
Biological Reference Points
- Review of Data Requirements for Stock Assessment and Fishery Monitoring
- Review of Data Collected and performances by Participants
- Updating of Data Inventory and Depository
- Review of Data Reporting Protocol (reporting schedule, data access and availability, data correspondence)
- Conclusions, Recommendations and Updated Work Plan
- Administrative Matters
- Report Preparation
Page 1 of each report should include Annex number (to be provided by Chairman), working group name, date and location of the meeting. Text must be typed single-spaced in 12 point Times New Roman font throughout. All reports should have the Working Group abbreviation on the top right of each page. These are as follows: Albacore Working Group (ALBWG), Billfish Working Group (BILLWG), Pacific Bluefin Tuna Working Group (PBFWG), Shark Working Group (SHARKWG), and Statistics Working Group (STATWG).
The entire text should be well written and free of grammar errors, therefore someone whose primary language is English should contribute to reviewing and editing the report before it is submitted to the Chairman. A brief INTRODUCTION should include which working group met and when, the objectives of the meeting, and participating members (countries). The remainder of the Report sections will depend on the agenda but each report should include the following, if available:
- WG schedule - Date and place of future meetings.
- Work plan including names of responsible parties.
- Attachment 1: List of Participants with contact information.
- Attachment ?: List of Working Papers with contact information.
- Attachment ?: Agenda
- Attachment ?: Report (special session or analysis conducted at meeting)
Headings within each section must be short, reflect a logical sequence, and follow the rules of multiple subdivision (i.e. there should be no subdivision without at least two items). Each section with a Discussion should include issues raised by the paper(s), arguments and conclusion.
Working Papers: If working papers are presented, the title, author and WG paper number should be listed in the WG report. If the document will be made available on the ISC website, include only conclusions and elements referenced in the Discussion. Otherwise, a summary of the document should appear before the Discussion. In addition, the title and authors name(s) should appear in the List of Working Papers along with authors’ contact information for acquiring the document, if appropriate. Working papers should be numbered systematically and include the WG abbreviation, e.g. ISC/08/BILLWG-1/01.
Spell out all acronyms and abbreviations the first time they are mentioned. The scientific names of species must be written out the first time they are mentioned; subsequent mention of scientific names may be abbreviated. Dates should be written as follows: 11 November 2008. Measurements should be expressed in metric units, e.g., metric tons as (t); if other units of measurement are used, please make this fact explicit. Write out numbers zero through nine unless measurements (e.g., nine fish vs. 9mm). Because WG reports are considered drafts until accepted by the ISC at the annual meeting, include a DRAFT watermark on all reports.
- Tables and Figures
- Cite in numerical order in the text.
- Each should have a caption that clearly explains the content and allows table or figure to be intelligible on its own.
- All axes should be labeled.
- Capitalize the first letter of the first word in the axes labels.
- Zeros should precede all decimal points for values less than one.
- Sample size, n, should be italicized.
- Do not use overly large font sizes in figures.
- Use Times New Roman 12 point font in tables.
- Maps should have a North arrow and/or latitude-longitude lines.
- Indicate direction (east-west, north-south) of degrees longitude and latitude on maps (e.g. 170˚E)
- Table headings should be short.
- Explain all unusual symbols in the captions.
After a WG Workshop or major meeting, the Working Group should concentrate on cleaning-up its report in order to provide a clean report to the ISC Chairman within four (4) weeks after the Workshop. If the Workshop ends less than four weeks before the start of the ISC annual Plenary meeting, a clean Workshop report needs to be provided no later than two (2) days before the start of the Plenary meeting. The Working Group and the ISC Chairman will work with an editor to revise each report to ensure that the writing is grammatically correct and understandable to outside audiences.
In order to address a delay of about one year between ISC Plenary approval of stock status advice and conservation information by the ISC and its entry into the IATTC management decision-making cycle, the following procedure should be followed. The Chair/Vice Chair of Working Groups that complete a stock assessment and wish to provide stock assessment results and science advice to the IATTC SAC meeting forward the Executive Summary (see W8 for guidance) of their assessment as a stand-alone document to the ISC Chair for review no later than one (1) month prior to the SAC meeting. The ISC Chair will forward the draft Executive Summary to the Heads of Delegation and will provide comments back to the Working Chair/Vice Chair as soon as possible. Once the ISC Chair and the WG Chair/Vice Chair agree on the revised text, the ISC Chair will provide approval and the Executive Summary will be forwarded to the IATTC. This approval will be given no later than two weeks prior to the meeting to allow time for posting. Only the Executive Summary will be forwarded and it will be clearly marked as “Draft, Subject to Change by the ISC Plenary” in the header on each page. This procedure will be followed for both update and benchmark stock assessments presented to the SAC Meeting.
There may be other occasions when this procedure needs to be followed. These occasions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the ISC Chairperson.
The Steering Group is an ad hoc body consisting of the ISC Chairperson and Vice Chairperson, Chairpersons of the Working Groups and one to three experienced Committee scientists invited to serve by the ISC Chairperson. This Group is responsible for assisting the ISC Chairperson in planning, organizing and coordinating activities and meetings of the Committee and for providing advice to the ISC Chairperson on administrative matters that arise during the intercession period.
Data Protocol -- Data Reporting and Exchange Requirements
The ISC’s minimum fishery data reporting and exchange requirements for its members are similar to those of other highly migratory species RFMOs and are designed for advancing the ISC objectives of fishery monitoring and resource assessment. The Committee, however, recognizes that members have the capability and the appreciation for collecting and maintaining a much broader suite and finer detail of data than required. Members are encouraged to continue and expand their efforts in this regard and to regularly review the adequacy of their data collection requirements. Members are also encouraged to archive their holdings in electronic files for easy access. This latter point is important because ISC stock assessments and other analyses frequently require input of detailed data or results from analyses of detailed data that must undergo efficient scrutiny by ISC working groups. Furthermore, the ISC may decide in the future to require Members to submit the detailed fishery data for the ISC database.
Data Reporting and Exchange
The minimum data members are required to report to and exchange with ISC fall into three categories:
- total annual catch (round weight by species) and total annual fishing effort (active vessels by fishery);
- catch-effort (summary of logbook data);
- biological data, (size composition, length or weight frequencies, sex information).
CATEGORY I (Total annual catch and total annual fishing effort):
Total annual (calendar year) catch (including bycatch species) in metric tons (round weight) should be reported by gear, species and country for fisheries in the North Pacific Ocean (north of the equator). When established, data should be reported by subarea. If round weight is estimated from processed weight, the conversion procedure is to be noted. If other conversion methods are used, they should be reported. For some bycatch species when tonnage is unavailable or difficult to estimate, number of animals may be reported.
Total nominal effort in numbers of active vessels fishing should be reported by fishery, gear and vessel size category for fisheries in the North Pacific Ocean. As with catch, effort should be reported by subarea of the North Pacific Ocean. However, if effort cannot be reported by subarea or even for the North Pacific Ocean as a whole, effort should be reported for the smallest area available and the size of area noted. Vessel size categories to be used in reporting effort are:
1. Distant-water and 2. offshore (e.g.,Chinese-Taipei)
1. Distant-water, 2. offshore, and 3. coastal (e.g.,Japan)
1. large (>260 cubic meter carrying capacity; >~300 mt)
2. small (<260 cubic meter carrying capacity; <~300 mt)
1. distant-water, and 2. offshore (e.g.,Japan)
|Harpo Troll, gill net, etc.||aggregated by type of gear|
CATEGORY II (Catch-effort):
Catch and effort (from logbooks) data should be reported by country, gear, and month. For each fleet, the unit of effort, and temporal and spatial resolution, that are required are as follows:
|Longline||5x5 deg.||.no. or wt.||hooks (directed at all species)||entire Pacific|
|Purse seine||1x1 deg.*||wt.||day fishing (include searching)||entire Pacific|
|Troll||1x1 deg.||no.||days fishing (include searching)||North Pacific|
|Gill net||1x1 deg.||no.||tans or net-days||North Pacific|
|Harpoon||1x1 deg.||no.||days fishing||North Pacific|
|Handline||1x1 deg.||no.||Number of lines||North Pacific|
|Pole-and-line||1x1 deg.||no.||Number of poles/successful days||North Pacific|
|Other||1x1 deg.||no.||or wt. as needed||North Pacific|
*5x5 degree data if 1x1 degree data are not practicable
CATEGORY III (Biological data):
Size composition (length or weight frequencies) and sex data (for swordfish, striped and blue marlins) should be reported for the same strata as required for Category II data. However, coarser spatial and temporal resolution may be substituted if the finer resolution cannot be applied. Reporting of length-frequencies should be with intervals (bins) of 1 or 2 cm. Standard measurements are round weight for individual fish weighed fork length for tuna and shark and eye-fork length for billfish. If standard measurements are not used, actual sampling measurement units should be reported.
All size composition data should include notes on collection method, e.g. port sampled, observer sampled, fisherman sampled, etc. Accuracy of measurement should also be reported (e.g. to the nearest cm, next larger cm, nearest kg, etc.).
Data Access and Availability
Data provided for use and held by the ISC in whatever form remains the property of the individual . Release of these data to the general public is governed by the policies of the contributor.
Data in ISC databases that do not contain proprietary information should be made available to the general public in summary form. For example, Category I data or in aggregated form for the entire North Pacific will be considered public domain (PD) data and can be released to the public.
Category II and Category III data contain proprietary information and therefore, shall be made available to contributors and members of ISC working groups for use in the work of the Working Groups only. They are not to be retained or shared with non-members of the Working Groups.
Japan will be responsible for managing the central data depository and will designate a Data Administrator for implementing the ISC data access and availability guidelines. When a request for non-PD data is received from a member of the general public or an unauthorized person, the Data Administrator will obtain approval and conditions for release from the contributors of the specific data requested prior to release. A record of all requests received from the general public and the disposition of the request will be maintained and made available at each meeting of the ISC Plenary.
Requests for non-PD data by contributors for purposes other than ISC activities will be handled by the Data Administrator, following the same procedures delineated in the previous paragraph.
Besides the Data Administrator’s role in maintaining proprietary data, each species Working Group may designate a data manager to assist in collecting and maintaining detailed data from Working Group participants and making these data available to Working Group member’s for special studies. The ISC rules for handling of these data will apply, (i.e., ownership rights, assess for specific purposes only, and honoring security procedures.)
While there is consensus among all contributors regarding the data access rules outlined above, there is concern that these rules may be changed at some point in the future without the consent of all contributors. It was recommended that the rules not be changed without consensus of all contributors.
Data Reporting Schedule
Data correspondents will submit Category I, Category II, and Category III data to the ISC annually on or before June 1st and metadata are due by July 1st. Data are to be submitted electronically to the Data Administrator. Further updates submitted to Working Groups will be on as-needed bases; Working Group Data Managers will notify the DA to expect these changes with the next July 1st submission. These annual data submissions will have two components:
- preliminary estimates of all available statistics from the previous year (Category I, Category II and Category III); and
- all available updates of Category I, Category II, and Category III data from all earlier years.
Category II, longline fisheries contain catches of many species and each species is of interest to a different species Working Group. Standardization and validation of the data, especially fishing effort, should be performed once rather than by each species Working Group independently. The STATWG will coordinate this task with involvement of experts from the species Working Groups.
Adopted February 4, 2004 (ISC4)
Amended March 30, 2005 (ISC5), July 20-25, 2011 (ISC7), July 15-20, 2015 (ISC15) and July 12-18, 2022 (ISC22)