Potential for E-Reporting and E-Monitoring in the WCPFC.pdf

Dunn S, Knuckey IA (2014) Potential for E-Reporting and E-Monitoring in the WCPFC.pdf. WCPFC, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands

This report defines E-Reporting and E-Monitoring, and documents products and programs involving both. It makes recommendations about what the Commission, regional organisations, and Commission members should be doing next. The project has involved discussions and consultations with a wide range of stakeholders including flag States, coastal States, fishing companies, and technology and solution providers (Appendix 8). Those responsible for fisheries management are becoming increasingly dependent upon electronic solutions for information management. These solutions have continued to evolve to the point where computers and tablets can be used to capture fishery data through electronic logsheets, observer reports, and offload records; cameras can record fishing activity and catch, and sensors can report on winch, drum, hydraulic system pressure, and engine activity. Geo-fences can be readily set up to report EEZ transits, and protected area incursions. Data can be transmitted in near real time, or stored for retrieval at a later date. E-Reporting and E-Monitoring both involve electronic technology; they are interwoven through logistics, communication demands, and the need for effective information management, but distinguished by their specific purpose and goals. For the purpose of this report the following definitions have been developed: E-Reporting is generally considered to be “open system” because manual inputs are required and accepted, for example from skippers and observers. Examples of E-Reporting include electronic entry and transmission of catch logsheets, observer reports, transhipment reports, and offload records. E-Reporting provides the opportunity for real time reporting of critical information through satellite transmission or mobile networks, as well as to store data for download at the end of a trip. E-Monitoring is generally considered to be “closed system” because it does not accept external or manual input that impacts on its core functionality. It relies on automated operations, and sealed and tamper-evident equipment. The most common example of E-Monitoring is a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), where GPS position and time data are collected automatically, and securely transmitted at prescribed intervals to relevant agencies. This project reviewed E-Reporting technology revealing an abundance of products and worldwide adoption of this technology in both large and small fisheries. The ability to record catch and effort logbook data and observer information with simple-to-use software loaded on computers or other purpose-built hardware is well established. E-Reporting brings improved data quality through ease-of-use tools such as drop-down boxes, data input checking, and the automatic capture of GPS data. E-Reporting is revolutionizing fisheries information in terms of timeliness, convenience, efficiency, and quality, as well as driving down total cost. There are now no barriers to implementation of electronic logsheets in developed countries, and no insurmountable barriers in developing countries. The capacity to transmit data in near real time provides a range of further opportunities for research, compliance and management. The review of E-Monitoring products and programs shows a worldwide adoption of VMS technology, but only very limited adoption of video, sensor, and other systems. There is a steady adoption of enhanced mobile transmission units (E-MTU) on VMS which enables the use of VMS communication channels for other purposes. Whilst the definitions for E-Monitoring are broad, and other technologies are mentioned, this project has ultimately confined itself to consideration of E-Monitoring using video and sensors, and E-Monitoring using just sensors. The use of the terms E-Monitoring or E-M in this report should therefore be read narrowly, with that in mind. Technologies such as VMS are already well established, and other technologies were not sufficiently advanced or significant enough to distract us from the principle E-Monitoring technologies under scrutiny. There is significant potential for video and sensor systems to improve the quality of fisheries information, and to support science and compliance in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). This technology can go where observers cannot, can supplement human observer programs, an underpin management objectives, provide a wealth of data in support of stock assessment and other scientific programs, and can support regulatory and enforcement programs. There are barriers to implementation of this technology including politics, bureaucratic change, cost, human capacity, logistics, and geographical remoteness. But none of these are insurmountable. Video and sensor technology are in common use in other environments. We see it every day in the street, in workplaces, and on public transport. But it has not developed in the fisheries sector to the point it can be considered mainstream. There are only a handful of hardware and software providers focussed on the fisheries sector and just four we have identified who have implemented E-Monitoring with video and E-Monitoring with sensor programs to meet regulatory requirements in a fishery. The progress the Commission makes in implementing E-Reporting and E-Monitoring solutions will depend on undertaking a comprehensive preparatory and planning process, and consideration of a number of key factors. These include the regulatory framework, an effective approach to the development of standards, specifications and type approval s, the benefits to stakeholders in terms of cost and efficiency, the preparedness to invest time and money, and effective collaboration at all levels, in particular the involvement of industry. It will be challenging and the implementation project will need to be properly resourced. This report has determined: •E-Reporting will offer significant benefits to improving both the quality and timeliness of fisheries data, and should be implemented without delay across all fisheries with significant adoption anticipated within five years. E-Reporting is a critical step towards improving the science and compliance upon which the tuna fisheries depend. •The use of video and associated sensor monitoring systems is a feasible option to monitor the Commission’s Conservation and Management Measures (CMMs). Such technology should be progressively rolled out based on a comprehensive program design phase, which would see staged implementation over a ten year timeframe. Its use should initially be focussed on vessels where observers are not deployed to an adequate level (e.g. longline, pole and line, and carrier vessels), and should further be considered for purse seine vessels operating at certain times and in certain places (e.g. during FAD closures or when risks of interactions with threatened, endangered and protected TEPs are deemed likely). This report does not recommend any particular hardware or software for either E-Reporting or E-Monitoring. Rather, we recommend the development of standards, specifications, type approvals, and certification as a key basis of the proposed framework. If these processes are done well, the market will respond and the widely available products will be introduced into the fishery. This report recommends the establishment of E-Project Working Groups (EWGs) for each technology, under the guidance of an Internal Governance Committee. Technical experts and technology providers must be involved in this process. The two technologies are at quite different stages in terms of their development and implementation, and in many ways operate exclusively. They are not the same, they have different requirements, and separate programs should be established for each. Further, given their different stages of development, we believe that including them under a single program would hold back the implementation of E-Reporting. To make progress with the implementation of E-Reporting and E-Monitoring, the report recommends that the Commission Secretariat lead a substantial part of the implementation process. We also envisage leadership roles will be essential for the Secretariat to the Pacific Community (SPC) with respect to E-Reporting, and for the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) in terms of E-Monitoring. There are a number of areas of preparation that need to occur prior to any coordinated implementation of either E-Reporting or E-Monitoring. The development of the standards, specifications and type approval process is a critical first step for both technologies, and the process to progress this phase needs to commence as a first order priority. Also, a more detailed and comprehensive analysis of the costs/benefits of implementation needs to be undertaken at the CCM level. Further, and also at the CCM level, there must be a full review of both national and regional legislation to ensure the transition to E-Reporting and E-Monitoring meets all legal obligations and requirements. Finally, it’s important that Pacific Island countries understand that whilst the review recommends a common approach to standards and specifications, and a coordinated approach to implementation, within their jurisdictions, these programs will be under their control.