(Agenda item 8; Documents CWP-20/FAO)
32. Eurostat drew attention to methodological reports published by Eurostat on the methodologies used by EU Member States and Candidate Countries in collecting and compiling statistics on catches, landings and aquaculture production. These were submitted by the national authorities under the terms of the relevant EU legislation and are being revised as necessary. Eurostat has also compiled reports on the quality of fishery statistics. These resulted from assessments by Eurostat of the collection and compilation of the fishery data by the national authorities and of the methods of processing and dissemination of the data by Eurostat. They were presented to Eurostats Working Group Fishery Statistics and it is Eurostats intention that up-dated reports should be periodically reviewed by the Working Group.
33. FAO briefly illustrated the Agricultural Bulletin Board on Data Collection, Dissemination and Quality of Statistics (ABCDQ) project that is presently under development by the FAO Statistical Division. The web page of the project (http://faostat.fao.org/abcdq/) provides information on the sources and methods of national agriculture data collection and dissemination and on their quality. Quality is defined by the project as Relevance, Accuracy, Timeliness and Punctuality, Accessibility and Clarity, Comparability, Coherence and Completeness, and sound Meta Information. FAO presented a sample of the FIGIS template designed to host the descriptions of the FAO fishery statistics databases.
34. In 2001, ICCAT distributed among contracting parties a questionnaire on data collection systems. Responses to this survey continue to be collected. A summary of the responses received was included in the ICCAT agency report. In the IOTC database, different sources are flagged for their quality although it is often not easy to rank them. The criteria used by IOTC in the assignment of the quality codes are shown in Appendix II of the agency report to CWP-20.
35. CWP recognized that methodological descriptions of national fishery statistics programmes provide very useful indications of statistical quality and recommended that such descriptions be collated and made available by CWP agencies as far as possible.
36. A beta version of the developing new FISHSTAT Plus (version 3.0) was presented by FAO. In this new version, data are imported from a XML format that allows compatibility and easier data exchange with other platform like FIGIS and with common formats such as Excel or CSV text files. The version presented still misses some of the functionalities included in the previous version. CWP recommended that once a more stable version is completed, it will be sent to those CWP members which are presently using FISHSTAT Plus as a medium to disseminate their statistics (i.e. ICCAT, ICES, IOTC, NAFO) to allow them to comment before the final version is released. It was further recommended that following the release of the new version, it be possible for a certain period to continue to support the data format used in the previous version, preferably through a conversion facility or at least retention of the old version of the software, in order to allow a smooth transition between the two versions.
37. CWP recommended that FAO should continue to support and maintain the development of FISHSTAT Plus and provide assistance, including the provision of simple data import procedures which can be used by CWP agencies to implement data updates or revisions.
38. For the collection and compilation of fisheries statistics in the South East Asia region, CWP recommended that FAO and SEAFDEC investigate the feasibility of harmonising their data collection inquiries in order to reduce the burden on countries submitting statistics to both organizations, taking note of the particular requirements of the SEAFDEC region concerning small scale fisheries.
39. IOTC presented the WinTuna 2000 software which is intended for data entry and processing of fisheries-related information. WinTuna was designed following state-of-the-art modularization principles, making it a flexible tool, which can be easily extended and/or customized to fit the particular needs of different countries and agencies. It is language-independent and provides a robust security level in a distributed computing environment with an enterprise-level database engine. WinTuna is being used in a number of IOTC countries, notably in the context of the IOTC/OFCF statistical development project, as the core fisheries statistical data entry and processing system. It is the intention of IOTC to provide institutions with responsibility in fisheries statistics with the source code of the programme as well as a programmers guide in an open source context as a wide user base is more likely to ensure long-term support for the system. IOTC and FAO are collaborating in providing an Artfish module to cover sample survey situations.
40. Currently, WinTuna provides a set of core modules that allow data-entry, analysis and data-exchange for longline and purse-seine fisheries. Among these, are modules for maintaining a vessel registry and licensing, a trip registry, landing data, and logbooks for those fisheries. Additionally, WinTuna includes a sampling module that can be adapted to many different sampling schemes, as well as several other utility modules to perform other data-related and administration tasks and a report writer for output and analysis of data.
41. CWP congratulated the IOTC for the work carried out during the intersessional period and the quality of the software presented. Some CWP participant agencies expressed great interest in the software, noting that it could be adapted to serve different data entry and processing purposes.
42. CWP noted that several general purpose fishery data systems are used or under development by different RFBs or individual countries. CWP recommended that characteristics of such information systems should be compared and evaluated in a workshop organized by FAO that should be convened before CWP-21 which could consider the outcome.