Home WORK AREAS Data Management SPC Members E-Reporting eTUBS: On-board observer entry
eTUBS: On-board observer entry
Tuesday, 11 June 2013 16:38

eTUBS is a web-based OBSERVER database management system developed by the SPC/OFP to enter purse seine and longline observer data collected on the SPC/FFA Regional standard observer forms.

Previous versions of this system (e.g. TUBS) have been used at SPC for more than 15 years and this latest web-based version is also installed and operational in the WCPFC offices, FFA offices (for the US purse seine Treaty observer programme), in addition to the offices of PNG National Fisheries Authority and Solomon Islands Fisheries on a trial basis.


Features of eTUBS include:

  • Provides user-friendly data entry forms that correspond to the regional standard observer data collection forms;
  • Extensive on-line error checking built into the system to ensure the data quality;
  • Compatible with common web browsers, maximising the user-friendliness and logical navigation between forms; and
  • Comprehensive reporting system providing information retrieved from one observer trip to all observer data.

Trials for on-board observer data entry by the observer using the previous version of TUBs installed on a laptop in the purse seine fishery were successfully conducted in collaboration with the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA) during 2011-2012.  SPC/OFP and NORMA are planning more comprehensive trials during July-October 2013.

The following scenario for large-scale implementation of on-board observer data entry is currently being investigated. Essentially, it places the onus of purchasing and maintaining equipment used by the observer on the vessel, and the establishment of technical support staff in each of the major ports for purse seine unloading/transhipments to oversee the training of observers in using eTUBs, installation of eTUBs and conduct of technical audits of the computer equipment used by observers on-board vessels.

  • National and regional authorities will establish guidelines with the requirement for fishing companies/vessels to support the observer data collection and data processing on-board the vessel. This will include, but not be restricted to:·
    • Clear specifications for the configuration of computer equipment/software (i.e. Windows-based laptop) to be purchased and maintained by the vessel in sound working order, including backup equipment in the event of failure;
    • Requirement for the vessel to cover the costs for purchase, ongoing maintenance and replacement of the “observer” laptop (that remains on-board the vessel) according to specifications;
    • Requirement for the observer’s laptop to be available for software updates (e.g. latest version of eTUBs) and hardware/software technical audits at any time by the authorised on-shore technical support staff;
    • Requirement for the vessel to act on the recommendations from the technical audits prior to embarking on the next trip; and
    • An indication of what will happen in the event of non-compliance with these requirements (which would require the observer to fall back to manual recording on the hard-copy forms).
  • The observer will only enter non-sensitive ROP observer data on-board the vessel using the eTUBS system, so, potentially, the vessel would be authorised to receive these data.  Non-sensitive data make up the most of the data entered by the observer.  The observer would continue to record the sensitive observer data (e.g. GEN-3 form) on hard-copy forms and, since the volume of non-sensitive data is very small, these data can be entered during the debriefing session when the observer returns to port.
  • At the end of the trip, the observer will back-up their data onto their own external hard-drive through an option in the eTUBs system.

As soon as possible following the end of the trip, the observer's data will be audited as a part of the debriefing process which will involve the locally-based technical support officer and the observer debriefer.

Once the data have been cleared, the technical support officer will facilitate the import into the national TUBS observer system in place, and also facilitate transmission of data to the respective regional agencies (SPC, WCPFC, FFA) according to agreed data protocols.


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