Home WORK AREAS Data Management WCPFC E-Reporting/Monitoring SPC/WCPFC E-Reporting/E-Monitoring Study - Background
SPC/WCPFC E-Reporting/E-Monitoring Study - Background
Tuesday, 16 July 2013 14:52

SPC is the Pacific Island region’s principal technical and scientific organisation. It delivers technical, scientific, research, policy and training support to Pacific Island countries and territories in public health, geoscience, agriculture, forestry, water resources, disaster management, fisheries, education (community, TVET, quality and standards for all school levels), statistics, transport, energy, ICT, media, human rights, gender, youth and culture. For more information, visit http://www.spc.int .

Within SPC, the Oceanic Fisheries Programme (OFP) has the goal of ensuring fisheries exploiting the western and central Pacific region’s resources of tuna, billfish and related species are managed for economic and ecological sustainability using the best available scientific information (for further information see http://www.spc.int/oceanfish/ ).

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) is responsible for international management of tuna fisheries throughout the region. The WCPFC membership includes all 26 SPC members, as well as Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, the European Union, Japan, Korea and Philippines. The OFP provides data management and stock assessment services and advice to WCPFC under an annual service agreement. For more background on the work of the WCPFC see http://www.wcpfc.int .



E-Reporting in the context of WCPFC Tuna Fisheries is the electronic recording of data “in the field” by vessel captains/officers/crew and fisheries department field staff (e.g. observers, port samplers) according to pre-determined data collection protocols and forms.

E-Monitoring in the context of WCPFC Tuna Fisheries is the use of electronic equipment as an alternative (or as an adjunct to) to humans “in the field” in recording various data/information on fishing activities. The Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) is a good example of E-Monitoring.

E-Reporting would typically be used to collect scientific data and data for catch certification/documentation systems, while E-Monitoring would typically be used to address Compliance/MCS requirements.  However, there are instances when the inverse would also be true, for example:

  • The output from E-Monitoring (e.g. video recording of fishing activities) could be used after the vessel trip to generate electronic scientific data;
  • VMS data (E-Monitoring data) can be used to enhance scientific data (e.g. coverage and accuracy of spatial data)
  • Some ‘E-reported’ data collected by observers are considered to be important for MCS. However, some argue that important MCS data currently collected by the observer should be moved to “E-Monitoring”.

At this stage, we consider that E-Reporting would generally be used to collect scientific data and data for catch certification/documentation systems, and E-Monitoring would generally be used to cover Compliance/MCS, although this study should attempt to verify or refute this view.


Fishery data collected through a variety of sources (e.g. by vessels, observers, port samplers, agents) are essential to the work of the SPC/OFP in assessing the status of the tuna stocks in the western and central Pacific Ocean, with the output scientific advice used by the WCPFC to manage the fishery. The scientific fishery data used for SPC/OFP and WCPFC work are defined at here and there .

Fishery data are collected and provided in hard-copy form but there is no widespread, nor sustainable, E-Reporting occurring in the WCPFC tropical tuna fisheries at this stage, despite the clear advantages evident with the establishment of this type of data collection in other fisheries.  The main area where E-reporting has been identified as providing significant efficiency gains is with OBSERVER and LOGSHEET DATA.

The SPC/OFP and the WCPFC have a common interest in investigating the potential usage of E-Reporting and E-Monitoring in the region’s tuna fisheries. While the SPC has a real interest in E-Reporting of data to assist with the timeliness and accuracy of the science assessment, the WCPFC has interests in both E-Reporting and E-Monitoring. The WCPFC interest in E-Monitoring and E-Reporting is to assist members improve the compliance of fleets, including with the CMMs developed for management and compliance in the fishery.


At WCPFC9 the Commission in adopting the TCC8 Report decided on the following approach to Electronic Reporting:

  • 307. WCPFC9 adopted TCC8 recommendations contained in paras. 169 & 189 of the TCC8 Summary Report concerning ROP data entry. (the text of the TCC8 recommendation is included in Attachment N)

Information Management System

  • 308. FFA members welcomed the implementation of electronic solutions for improved data management, but reiterated the need to ensure the migration of capacity from the regional to the national level over time. In addition, the importance of demonstrating the effectiveness of new technology before reducing funding for existing systems was emphasized.
  • 309. The EU also supported the IMS and continued assistance to SIDS for programmes such as debriefer training and observer data management.
  • 310. WCPFC9 adopted TCC8 recommendations contained in paras. 184-185 of the TCC8 Summary Report concerning the Commission’s Information Management System. (the text of the TCC8 recommendation is included in Attachment N )

The TCC recommendations included:

  • 184. TCC8 recommended to WCPFC9 that it task the Secretariat, in cooperation with the scientific services provider, to consider electronic data entry for ROP as a priority.
  • 185. TCC8 recommended to WCPFC9 that coastal States developing Information Management Systems receive assistance, including training of de-briefers, to improve their ability to meet their national obligations in providing observer data.
  • 189. TCC8 recommended to WCPFC9 that the Secretariat be tasked with undertaking a more comprehensive analysis of future options for ROP data management, including options raised in the Cost Recovery and Optimization of Commission Service Costs Report.

This study aims to address, inter alia,  work on Regional Observer Programme (ROP) data entry and cost optimisation identified by the WCPFC Secretariat in response to recommendations made during WCPFC9 (December 2012) and TCC8 (October 2012) meetings.

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