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Workshop Explores Avenues For Data System Improvements

Nov 3, 2014
Fall 2014

The Northeast Federal Fishery Dependent Data Visioning Workshop was held in New Bedford, Massachusetts on June 30th and July 1st, and brought together over 60 fisheries stakeholders from throughout the Greater Atlantic region. The purpose of the workshop was to explore the current and future fishery dependent data needs of the fishing industry, science, and management in the region.

As part of NOAA’ s National Marine Fisheries Service fishery dependent data modernization effort, the workshop was hosted by GMRI, UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), NOAA Fisheries’ Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO) and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). Workshop participants included harvesters, seafood dealers, industry associations, state agencies, academic and research institutions, conservation organizations, as well as groundfish sector managers, Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) staff, software developers, New England and Mid-Atlantic Council staff, and NMFS staff. One participant commented about the value of assembling a mix of fishery participants to discuss data issues: “There were a lot of great ideas. What really excited me was that there were industry, IT/communications system developers, and government staff all generating those ideas and committing to work together.”

This summer’s workshop followed months of interviews with commercial fishing industry members and representatives that focused on current data collection and the desired characteristics of an ideal data system. Similarly, NMFS staff led interviews with agency staff, state agencies, ACCSP, the New England and Mid-Atlantic Councils, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and NGOs.

Throughout the workshop, many themes emerged about how to improve regional fishery dependent data collections and systems. Fundamental themes expressed are listed below, and the full list will be available in the workshop summary:

Flexible: With so much variation across fisheries in the region, a new, modernized system must be able to accommodate a wide range of fishing operation, needs, and uses.

Integrated: Future systems should include data collected from the best source and have the means to link to other data sets to reduce redundancy and provide more accurate data.

Efficient: A new system should minimize redundant data reporting.

Balanced: Data collection requirements should prioritize need and use, while considering trade-offs of cost and burden.

Scalable: Methods for data collection can vary by tool and fishery as long as they meet the core set of data needs identified for a particular fishery.

NMFS will be processing interview results and information from this workshop in the fall. The next phase of GMRI’s involvement in the project is to convene NMFS staff, potential third party developers, and the industry around the development of data standards and processes.

To view workshop presentations and read interview and workshop reports visit: