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The annual Standing Committee on Tuna and Billfish (SCTB) will be held in Tahiti, French Polynesia, from 16 to 23 June 1999, with new terms of reference and guidelines for participation. The SPC Oceanic Fisheries Programme serves as the Secretariat for this important regional advisory body.

The aims of the SCTB are to provide a forum for scientists and others with an interest in the tuna stocks of the western and central Pacific region to meet and discuss scientific issues related to data, research and stock assessment. The SCTB coordinates fisheries data collection, compilation and dissemination; reviews research on the biology, ecology, environment and fisheries of tuna and associated species; identifies research needs and provides a means of coordination to meet those needs.

Participation in the SCTB is open to scientists and others with an interest in the tuna fisheries of the western and central Pacific.

Scientists of coastal states and territories of the region, from countries whose vessels fish in the region, and from international tuna fisheries management organizations are particularly encouraged to attend.

About 80 participants are expected this year, including representatives of 14 Pacific Island nations, government and research agencies, Distant Water Fishing Nations such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and USA, other coastal states (Philipines), other interested nations (Canada), the Forum Fisheries Agency, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, the Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council, and the University of Hawaii.

The provisional agenda for the seven working days provides for a day to cover introductory and overview issues, and more than four days for the activities of the Statistics Working Group and the five Species Research Groups (skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye, albacore and billfish/by-catch), with a final day to consider common themes.

SECRETARIAT OF THE PACIFIC COMMUNITY BPD5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia TELEPHONE: +687 26.20.00 FAX: +687 26.38.18 E-mail: Contact: Dr A.D. Lewis, Oceanic Fisheries Coordinator, SPC, E-mail:

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