National Fishery Monitoring
Monitoring systems
Tuesday, 12 October 2010 14:00

Fishery Monitoring is the process of gathering information about a fishery. Historically the need to collect information was driven by purely scientific needs, and most especially the preparation of stock assessments. More recently this has evolved into a more ecological assessment of the fishery. Additionally the monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) or a vessel’s compliance with  conservation goals and management measures is growing aspect of fishery monitoring, along with the newly emerging catch certification schemes which aim to reduce IUU fishing. Still, the basic type of data required (i.e. vessel name, fishing location etc) to monitor these evolving and diverse goals is often the same and careful reflection on the type and format of the data that is  collected will help met these goals. At its best a fully integrated fishery monitoring system will deliver all of the indicators required by fishery managers to assess the biological, economical, compliance and social impacts of their current fishery measures.


Having clear legislation in place is the corner stone of a good fishery monitoring system. Fishers can be asked to submit information on a voluntary basis, or be encouraged to submit data through a reward system,and in small national fisheries this may be the most successful approach. Generally,  however, strong legislation (international and national) that outlines the data reporting requirements and the penalties for non-compliance is the basis of a  strong fishery monitoring system.

Development of tuna fishery sampling protocols
Tuesday, 12 October 2010 14:01
Support provided for national tuna fishery monitoring
Tuesday, 12 October 2010 14:03



The Fishery Monitoring Section assists Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) to set up and implement tuna data collection systems that are appropriate to their fisheries, considers their regional reporting obligations and are aligned to their national needs.  The section suggests appropriate data collection systems for a wide range of tuna fisheries from the large scale industrial purse-seiners to much smaller vessels like alias.

Tuna data collection systems gather information from vessels as well as collecting independent data through sampling programmes (observer and port sampling). The collected data is used to manage the fishery and to assess the effectiveness of management measures.   The section’s guidelines for the establishment of tuna fishery data collection are available through the regional tuna data template (link) and through protocols for the collection of sampling data (link)

Data collection  protocols are supported by regionally standardised data collection forms. The Fishery Monitoring Section takes a lead role in organising the tuna fishery data collection meeting which creates tuna data forms that ensure PICTs receive the data they require to manage their fishery and meet their international reporting requirements, most especially to the WCPFC.  This meeting is run in conjunction with FFA and invited Pacific Island guests as funding allows. 

System review

Once implemented the Fishery Monitoring Section continually reviews tuna data collection systems in member countries. In previous years reviews have been continuous, but without recognised outputs.  Formal reviews through data collection system audits, and follow-up reviews are being implemented in 2011.  Audits are formal checks or assessments of the data collection procedures and processes.  Countries are encouraged to carry out self-audits, which they might choose to do before a more formal audit.  The documentation to guide countries through self-audits is currently under development.  Audits highlight if the data collection system (procedures or protocol) are appropriate, whether staff have the necessary skills to carry out the work and if resources (equipment, staffing resources, housing etc) are adequate.



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