You want better data?... Invest more in people. / by Francisco Blaha

I wrote last week about the presentation from Brad Soule in the panel we participated at the Seaweb summit. So for those that asked me, here is the guts of what i had to say in that occasion, some of it was reported by undercurrent news and intrafish.

Pic by Dan Gibson

Pic by Dan Gibson

The author (Dan Gibson) got the message clear that any improvement in port inspections and sustainability enforcement will have to be driven by investment in the locals at the heart of the operation and so Data will be more verifiable.

He noted that the issue right now is not the fishermen that participate on the few traceability and transparency initiatives, like to ones run with blockchain, but rather those who work around the outside of the system, because they really don’t have to do anything else, since the clients don’t care or the regulatory frameworks don’t require full traceability.

I suggested that was up to the industry to do more and to empower and train fisheries officierss, rather than blaming local government for not doing enough.

“Under the present system of world governance, official guarantees are the norm and it is going to remain that way. You think the people at the ministry are useless? What are you doing to help? If you are pointing the finger at people, remember there are three fingers pointing at you.”

My message was clear: if industry members and NGOs want better data collection and enforcement of sustainability measures, it is up to them to provide fishermen with an incentive to gather their own data.

“You want better data? String in the people whose job is to bring in the data, and help them to provide that.”

"Regulators don’t create data, they verify data... so we can change paper for apps or whatever, but the key here is people. We need people."

Pic by Dan Gibson

Pic by Dan Gibson

And those people need to come not just from government and NGOs, but also the business community. "We need global commitment because any flow will take the path of least resistance. We need business support for that, not just government."

And at the same time: "How can you regulate what you don’t understand?" I asked… Regulators need more exposure to Industry practices and vessel operations… and better salaries… The Fishing sector expect excellence from the regulators in developing countries, yet they pay mediocrity.

Below are my slides… the people in the pictures are all people o l know and i work with… their weekly (or monthly in the case of the fisherman) salaries would be enough to cover the cost of the 3 nights of the hotel were the summit took place.

I finished with my favourite Maori proverb (Whakataukī):

He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.