Managing Data Key for Pacific’s Fisheries Challenges

5 3, 2016

Improving the way Pacific Island nations and territories manage and share fisheries information was a key insight for a delegation of government ministers and officials from the region, who attended a recent series of workshops in New Zealand to learn from that country’s experience.

FINNZ’s General Manager, Mark Jones, was part of the New Zealand delegation providing insights to the ministers and officials on the New Zealand model for managing commercial fisheries.

The 40 strong delegation were keen to understand how they could continue to improve their ability to manage their rich fisheries stocks to balance economic development and conservation needs in the Pacific.

Mark Jones, pictured on the far right next to several fisheries ministers & offi

Mark Jones, pictured on the top far right next to several fisheries ministers & officials from the Pacific.

Dr Colin Tukuitonga, Secretary-General of the Pacific Community, the principal scientific and technical organisation in the region, was quoted in the New Zealand media as saying the workshops were a useful experience, and offered some key insights to attendees. “. . . on data management, information management, information sharing, that there's clearly going to have to be work that has to go on, by the right experts if you like from the region, learning from the New Zealand experience,” said Dr Tukuitonga.

A key presentation at the workshops was made by representatives of FishServe, a commercial company owned by the New Zealand seafood industry that helps administrate commercial fishing quotas. Fishserve outlined how they help manage 100 quota species and 635 quota stocks; annual catch entitlements of 610,000 tonnes across 1,537 Quota share owners, 1,050 Permit holders and 1,200 Vessels.

They outlined how since early 2000s they had been able to improve the efficiency of providing these administrative services, while substantially the cost of doing so. Information technology has played a key role in this.

Mark Jones of FINNZ commented in his presentation that FishServe have “. . . invested in good people, developed good fisheries data management processes, actively sought cost efficiencies and invested in technology . . . they’ve done all of those things to ensure the robust management of fisheries data. That means scientists, enforcement officers, policy people, industry and fisheries managers have timely access to reliable data and therefore can make informed fisheries management decisions.”

As FishServe’s business development company, and a provider of advice and IT services to other fisheries organisations around the world, FINNZ have learnt a lot about using technology to manage fisheries data effectively, said Mr Jones. A key insight has been that IT solutions needed to fit a customer’s needs - simply implementing a packaged solution wouldn’t produce the right results.

Mr Jones outlined how the new software product FINNZ had developed and were releasing in mid 2016 was designed to be a flexible platform that could be applied to differing fisheries around the world. While initially providing powerful functionality to manage fisheries data for NZ’s quota management regime, the software has been intentionally architected in a manner to be readily adaptable to the business and regulatory models of other fisheries jurisdictions.

Read about how FINNZ helped the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO), an 11 nation organisation committed to sustainable use of the fishery resources in the South Pacific, to gather data so its members can get a better picture of the impact of commercial fishing on their region.

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