Opportunities to improve fisheries management through innovative technology and advanced data systems   / by Francisco Blaha

I have in the past blogged about other Ghoti papers, is that I enjoy them because they are challenging in terms of their concepts yet accessible in terms of their language. And this one by Bradley et all, is no different.

Data overload is a thing…

Data overload is a thing…

I like to point that fisheries related data management should be learning a lot from banking, where information is shared and the technology is constantly updated. I can take money from my accounts in Majuro and transfer in to my dad’s account in Argentina from my phone while in small village in Mozambique in between several currencies… yet we struggle to organize ourselves on multi-jurisdictional fisheries management 

While of course future realities are never as easy as presented in a paper, some guidelines and pointers can be used.

As usual read the original, particularly if you are interested in the state of play around electronic monitoring (EM), reporting (ER), but not so much on mobile computing (our Pacific FIMS and the SPC driven ones are not even mentioned)… In any case I just quote the abstract and conclusions which are good thinking suff.

Fishery-dependent data are integral to sustainable fisheries management. A paucity of fishery data leads to uncertainty about stock status, which may compromise and threaten the economic and food security of the users dependent upon that stock and increase the chances of overfishing. Recent developments in the technology available to collect, manage and analyse fishery- relevant data provide a suite of possible solutions to update and modernize fisheries data systems and greatly expand data collection and analysis. Yet, despite the proliferation of relevant consumer technology, integration of technologically advanced data systems into fisheries management re-mains the exception rather than the rule. In this study, we describe the current status, challenges and future directions of high-tech data systems in fisheries management in order to understand what has limited their adoption. By reviewing the application of fishery-dependent data technology in multiple fisheries sectors globally, we show that innovation is stagnating as a result of lack of trust and cooperation between fishers and managers. We propose a solution based on a transdisciplinary approach to fishery management that emphasizes the need for collaborative problem-solving among stakeholders. In our proposed system, data feedbacks are a key component to effective fishery data systems, ensuring that fishers and managers collect, have access to and benefit from fisheries data as they work towards a mutually agreed-upon goal. A new approach to fisheries data systems will promote innovation to increase data coverage, accuracy and resolution, while reducing costs and allowing adaptive, responsive, near real-time management decision- making to improve fisheries outcomes.

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As a growing human population continues to drive up demand for seafood  (Hall, Hilborn,  Andrew, & Allison, 2013), it will become increasingly imperative to achieve sustainable resource use in all sectors of capture fisheries to safeguard food and livelihood security, and to maintain the ecological integrity of the ocean. There is an exciting opportunity to use technology to vastly improve fishery data systems. New tools can expand data collection, analysis and distribution to achieve more sustainable resource use by empowering fisheries stakeholders with data that are spatially and tempo-rally relevant for fishing and fisheries management. Existing uses of technology in fisheries highlight the vast potential of technology to improve fisheries outcomes across fishing sectors; yet, the relative paucity of innovation and adoption of new technologies suggests that significant challenges have limited support for new technologies in much of the world's fisheries. We suggest transdisciplinary fisheries management as a pathway towards achieving greater buy-in and ultimately uptake of new fishery-dependent data technologies. By working together towards a shared goal, fisheries managers can use fishery-dependent data technology as a value proposition to fishers: by employing tools that streamlines and/or automates data col-lection and analysis, and returns information to users about where and how to best fish and/or improve market access, the adoption of innovative data systems can improve fishery outcomes for multiple stakeholders. There is often a steep learning curve associated with the adoption of new technology. Developing and synthesizing information from fishery data systems designed to meet global challenges including rapidly changing ocean conditions due to anthropogenic climate change and natural climate variability may therefore necessitate expanded public/private partnerships to leverage external expertise that may not exist within either management agencies or the fishing industry. At the same time, management institutions need to support the uptake of new and improved data streams. For example, an important advantage of a high-tech fishery data systems is the shortened time lag between data collection and action (i.e., management intervention, chosen fishing location) for fishers and managers alike, which can be institutionalized if embedded in an adaptive management framework. We acknowledge that once established, improved data streams may come with associated challenges such as general information overload and overconfidence in models and resulting analytics. Data alone will not result in more sustainable fisheries, and data itself do not lead to better decision-making, but it is a key component to effective management, no matter the fishing sector or type of management institution. Ultimately, embracing technological advancements in fishery data systems can lead to win–win scenarios in which managers and harvesters experience improved fishery outcomes through better data.