July 2023
This is the final annual report for INT2021-04 Collection and curation of tissue samples from protected fishes and turtles 2022/23.


The Protected Species Tissue Archive (Fishes and Turtles) is currently held at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum and has been running for 18 months. The archive is an extension of project INT2018-04 Improving the collection of data and samples from bycatch basking sharks (Francis 2019, Finucci et al. 2021). It ensures appropriate curation of tissue samples obtained from protected fishes and turtles, improved visibility of and access to samples by researchers, and will track the fate of samples, as well as the outputs of research that they are used for.

A total of 114 samples from 62 individuals of protected fishes and reptiles were curated in the tissue archive in the second year of the project (July 2022 – June 2022). Samples collected as part of the POP2021-05 project (Finucci & Maolagáin 2022) were provided by NIWA and have been integrated into the archive. Only 10 samples from three individuals were collected by the fisheries observer program.

The limited number of tissue samples (three individuals) collected by fishery observers represents a missed opportunity. Tissue samples from bycaught species allow for ongoing genetic monitoring of populations, including estimation of population size, stock structure, interand intra-group relatedness, movements and connectivity of populations and identification of source populations (e.g. Pardini et al. 2001; Hoelzel et al. 2006; Gubili et al. 2012; Francis & Ritchie 2016; Corrigan et al. 2018; Hillary et al. 2018; Lieber et al. 2020; Jensen et al. 2022). As a result of the limited numbers Auckland Museum will prioritise the integration of existing samples held by DOC and researchers in the 2023-2024 year including researchers from Massey University and Auckland Zoo to integrate existing sea turtle samples into the Archive.

Publication information

Bray, R. 2023. Annual report 2022/23 - Collection and curation of tissue samples from protected fishes and turtles. INT2021-04 final report prepared for Conservation Services Programme, Department of Conservation. 13 p.


Conservation Services Programme
Department of Conservation
PO Box 10-420
Wellington 6143


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