In the western and Central Pacific Ocean mark-recapture experiments have been an integral part of monitoring tuna stocks since the late 1970s. The data from tagging campaigns have been included in stock assessments since the 1980s and in integrated analyses since the late 1990s. Ensuring that tagging experiments are implemented in a manner that satisfies the incorporation of the data in stock assessment is important to maximize the return on investment. We review three large scale tuna experiments implemented in the western and central Pacific Ocean to synthesize the lessons learned so that future tagging programmes can save considerable time and money, and maximize the quantity and quality of the data needed to obtain more accurate and precise assessments of stock status. We highlight particular knowledge gaps that require further attention, and suggest some approaches, both technological and methodological, from which future studies could benefit in order to improve our understanding of tuna biology.