1. Developments in fishery statistics and related information which have been undertaken by CCAMLR since CWP-19 (July 2001) have included the further development of the Catch Documentation Scheme for Patagonian toothfish, the publication of a set of species identification sheets for scientific observers and the development of a vessel registry (CWP-20/CCAMLR).
2. In addition, CCAMLRs reporting policy in relation to the nationality of catches has been revised. CCAMLR has agreed that, whilst acknowledging that joint ventures may occur, joint ventures should not allow non-CCAMLR flagged vessels to fish inside the Convention Area. Any sort of devolution of the responsibilities of Flag States should be avoided and only vessels under the jurisdiction of CCAMLR Flag States should be issued with licences to fish in the Convention Area (Conservation Measure 10-02).
3. With regard to vessel monitoring system, Conservation Measure 10-04 (Automated Satellite-Linked VMS) has been revised. Contracting Parties are now required to notify the Secretariat of the movement of flagged fishing vessels in to, and out of, statistical subareas and divisions within the CCAMLR Convention Area. Notifications are required within two working days of the vessels movements.
4. A database manager commenced duties with the Secretariat in September 2001. Prior to this date, the CCSBT had no centralized statistical or data management role, except for management of the CCSBT Trade Information Scheme (TIS). Progress in data and statistical related issues since CWP-19 has included:
Implementation of a new computer system in the Secretariat;
Implementation of an SBT tagging program;
Identification of deficiencies in Members data collection systems and recommendations for improvements in a number of areas;
Tentative agreement from CCSBT Members on the required fields of information (with respect to catch effort, total catch by fleet and catch at size data) to be submitted to the CCSBT central database;
Design and implementation of the table structures for the new relational database, including structures for catch and effort, total catch by fleet, catch at size, TIS, tag recapture, and reference data;
Development of data entry and project management interfaces for the tag recapture, TIS, and reference data modules of the database;
Cleaning and transfer of the historic TIS data to the new TIS database module;
Review and enhancement of the TIS scheme;
Limited progress towards populating the database with historic catch effort data, total catch by fleet data and catch at size data;
Development of a new CCSBT web site, including a private document and data exchange area for CCSBT Members;
Development of draft standards for a CCSBT scientific observer program. It is planned that the standards be finalized during 2003, after which, scientific observer data will become another important component of the CCSBT central database
5. Despite considerable progress on technical data issues, difficulties have been experienced in reaching agreement on issues such as: the resolution of data that should be provided; whether data for catches of species other than southern bluefin tuna should be provided; what data sets should be provided in raised form; and confidentiality of the data (which has now been resolved). In addition, provision of historic data for the database is taking longer than initially expected. There are many reasons for the delays, including other commitments of Members, and enhancement of some national data sets prior to providing the data.
6. Since CWP-19, Eurostat has modified the EU catch legislation to increase the coverage of Elasmobranch species. A proposal is being developed for a modification to the legislation for the NE Atlantic incorporating NEAFC's request for a finer breakdown of ICES divisions X and XII.
7. A proposal for a modification to the legislation on landing statistics is also being developed, to include the reporting of the data by the flag of the vessels making the landings.
8. Studies have been undertaken on the availability of employment data in the fisheries sector of both EU Member States and the Candidate Countries and a trial questionnaire has been introduced.
9. A study is near completion on socio-economic indicators for fisheries and Eurostat is assisting in EU work on the development of indicators of sustainability in fisheries.
10. Close contacts with EEA national authorities is maintained through the annual meetings of the Working Group Fishery Statistics, through bilateral contacts and by means of a twice-yearly e-mailed Newsletter. The development of contacts with the EU Candidate Countries continues and the NewCronos database includes much data for these countries.
11. The publications programme of a Yearbook of Fishery Statistics, an annual CD-ROM copy of the contents of the NewCronos FISH database and short reports in the Eurostat series Statistics in Focus has been maintained.
12. Eurostat has made a major contribution to the compilation of the CWP integrated data-file for Atlantic catch statistics and has aided the ICES and NAFO secretariats in updating their FISHSTAT Plus data files.
13. The development and implementation of the statistical programme depends heavily on the good relationship and collaboration developed with the Commission's Directorate-General for Fisheries, the main customer for Eurostat's data. At the same time a central point in the programme is the collaboration with the CWP and its member agencies.
14. The FAO databases on capture, aquaculture, commodities production and trade of fishery products have been updated with 2000 data and work is under way to complete the 2001 statistics, which are expected to be released at about March 2003. Regional capture databases (i.e. CECAF, GFCM, and ex-ICSEAF area) follow this by a few months.
15. After a two-year intermission, a new issue of the FAO Fisheries Circular No. 821 (Fish and fishery products: World apparent consumption statistics based on food balance sheets), covering the 1961-1999 period, has been published.
16. The last issue of the Bulletin of fishery fleet statistics was published in 1998 with data coverage up to 1995. FAO subsequently changed the basis of its fleet statistics from GRT (or GT) to length overall (LOA) and changed the ISSCFV classification used as a basis for the inquiry; changes endorsed by CWP-18 and CWP-19, respectively. These changes caused disruptions in the time series and delays in country reporting using the new system and in processing the statistics at FAO. Even with the simplified questionnaire, returns of the questionnaires by countries remain poor. However, although the coverage of data is partial and some of them are still under scrutiny, the fishing fleet database from 1996 to 1998 has been finalized both for decked and undecked vessels and these will be published in 2003, albeit with a revised structure due to the breaks in the time series, as a consequence of the changes mentioned above.
17. The backward separation of the aquaculture and capture production has now been accomplished for the 1950-69 period. From the next releases, both the aquaculture and capture production databases will be disseminated completely separated for the whole 1950-2001 period.
18. The revision of the ISSCAAP groups has been implemented in the first release (March 2002) of the FAO capture and aquaculture production databases following CWP-19 and, on the occasion of the publication of the ASFIS list, ISSCAAP codes have been assigned to all species items included in the list. The FAO fishery commodities classification has been modified in order to re-align it to the revised ISSCAAP groups and it has also been expanded to include about 20 new commodities.
19. Indexes of FAO English, French, Spanish and scientific names have been added to the capture and aquaculture yearbooks to facilitate access to the species items in the publications given the continuously increasing number of species items included (1,255 and 380 respectively in the capture and aquaculture yearbooks).
20. The FAO yearbook of fishery commodities has been also upgraded. A new table on The relative importance of trade of fishery products in 2000 has been added, the Appendix II Fishery production: estimated value by groups of species modified, and the section Fishery commodities: production, imports and exports by countries revised with the addition of 12 new tables following the changes made to the FAO fishery commodities classification.
21. During the intersessional period, the number of national correspondents utilizing electronic questionnaires to return fishery statistics to FAO has greatly improved, with all the questionnaires of the FIDI fishery statistics inquiries (i.e. AQ, IW, FC1, DNC, FTR, FF, FM) and the STATLANTs 34A and 37A now available in electronic format and made available at a dedicated ftp site (ftp://ftp.fao.org/fi/STAT/e-questionnaires/).
22. Several regional meetings were held in support of capacity building for fishery statistical development:
The Regional Workshop to improve coastal fishery statistics for the Small Pacific Island States (Nouméa, New Caledonia, 16-18 July 2001) which was organized by the FAO Subregional Office for the Pacific Islands under a Japanese Trust Fund Project and hosted by SPC.
The Regional Workshop on Improvement of Fishery Statistics in Asia and Pacific Countries in Bangkok, 6-10 August 2001, funded by a Japanese regional project.
The FAO-SEAFDEC Workshop Regional Training on the Use of Statistics and Other Information for Stock Assessment, Bangkok, Thailand, 9-12 September 2002, which was attended by representatives of 13 countries from South and Southeast Asia.
The FAO/MRC/Government of Thailand/Government of the Netherlands Ad Hoc Expert Consultation on New Approaches for the Improvement of Inland Capture Fishery Statistics in the Mekong Basin, 2-5 September 2002, Udon Thani, Thailand, at which strong evidence was presented that small-scale and subsistence inland fishery catches and numbers of fishers in Southeast Asia are significantly greater than officially reported.
The Expert Consultation on Land and Water Use in Aquaculture (Rome, Italy, 7-10 October 2002), with a view to generate primary baseline information and expert advice on trends, patterns, opportunities and challenges of land and water use in the various forms of aquaculture farming systems and practices.
23. FIDI participated in the 19th Session of the Asia and Pacific Commission on Agriculture Statistics (APCAS) in Seoul, from 21 to 25 October 2002 and presented a paper on shortcomings in fishery statistics in the region and on the proposed Strategy for Improving Information on Status and Trends of Capture Fisheries. FIDI prepared a paper on the regional programme for fishery statistical development for Africa for the African Commission for Agricultural Statistics (AFCAS) in Pretoria 27-29 November 2002.
24. FIDI was directly involved in project identification, formulation, implementation, backstopping and follow-up in the following countries: Ghana, Benin, Togo, Cameroon, Gabon, Angola, Madagascar, Congo DR, Congo RP and Burundi. FIDI also contributed to a regional workshop in Djibouti organized by the PERSGA project.
25. During 2000-2001 FIDI developed a number of technical documents and computer software geared towards design and implementation of national fishery statistical programmes. These include:
A training and planning handbook on sample-based fishery surveys (FAO Fishery Technical Paper No. 425).
Operations manuals for the consolidated Artfish package for the storage and analysis of basic fishery data resulting from sample-based fishery surveys (Artbasic, Artser modules of the Artfish 2000 for Windows, suite of statistical approaches and software).
Planning for and initial development of linkages between Artfish and WinTuna was undertaken.
26. Other outputs during the intersessional period included:
Development of a new version of the FISHSTAT software that is expected to be released in 2003.
Work on the re-assignment of FAO capture statistics by Large Marine Ecosystems was finalized and results analyzed clustering LMEs; a study on trends in oceanic captures (either epipelagic or deep waters) funded by the World Resources Institutes was also completed. FAO has published Fisheries Technical Paper No.435 Trends in oceanic captures and clustering of large marine ecosystems which includes these two complementary studies.
Preparation of medium and long term fish supply and demand projections for all countries taking FIDIs food balance sheets as a reference base which are expected to be finalized and published during 2003.
A study commissioned by FIDI which utilized some FAO capture fishery production statistics was published as FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 410 entitled Climate change and long-term fluctuations of commercial catches: The possibility of forecasting.
A chapter entitled Gathering data for resource monitoring and fisheries management authored by Richard Grainger (Chief, FIDI) and David Evans (consultant) published in the Handbook of Fish Biology and Fisheries by Blackwell Publishing in 2002.
27. The FAO Evaluation Service undertook a review of the statistics programmes for agriculture, fisheries and forestry utilizing several consultants and an external Review Panel. The report will be presented to the FAO Programme Committee in 2003.
28. The processes of Task I (nominal annual catch) data are now operative in the new relational database (ICCAT-RDB). Outputs of tables and figures generated by this new procedure are almost fully automatic. Progress has also been made on the historical updates tracking process.
29. The Secretariat will propose formalizing the process through an ICCAT data exchange protocol, the main objective of which is to govern efficiently data submissions and information requested. ICCAT continues to collaborate with other regional fisheries agencies in the integrated data base. At the time of writing, CATDIS (catch distribution by 5° x 5° area), adapted to FAO area, is being updated to 2000.
30. A workshop was held in Canada in September 2001 to evaluate the availability of data for shark species. On the basis of this workshop, assessments for two species - blue shark and shortfin mako shark - have been scheduled for 2004. The SCRS recommended further coordination and collaboration with other international organizations, especially ICES and GFCM, for the assessment of Atlantic and Mediterranean stocks of porbeagle, blue and shortfin mako sharks. Work on integrating shark data into the ICCAT RDB is still underway.
31. The ICCAT Bluefin Tuna Statistical Document Program continues to be in operation. At the 2001 Commission meeting, the Commission also adopted similar programs for bigeye tuna and swordfish. Some Contracting Parties also submit trade data relating to other species. These data are used to estimate unreported catches of tuna and tuna-like species.
32. Conversion factors are currently applied to all bluefin tuna products, converting product weight to round weight, although there is still some uncertainty involved in these conversion factors. Furthermore, there is a danger of double-counting, as various products from the same fish may be converted.
33. The new ICCAT-RDB now incorporates identifiers for the type of data reported (landings, discards, catch). FISHSTAT Plus should be improved to incorporate these fields
34. The Commission, at its 2002 meeting recommended that farming statistics be reported, and that this information include:
the number of cages used by each party,
the estimated quantity (in kg) of the catches which enter and leave the cages, both in weight and size.
It is hoped that this will help to eliminate possible double reporting from trade data, and also improve knowledge about the implications of this technique.
35. At its 2002 Commission Meeting, ICCAT also adopted Recommendations regarding the listing of vessels fishing for tuna and tuna-like species in the Convention Area. A list of vessels targeting northern albacore continues to be maintained.
36. ICCAT together with other regional fisheries organizations has collaborated with FAO in the development of a prototype of FIRMS. The SCRS endorsed the Secretariats proposal that ICCAT put the Executive Summaries of the SCRS in FIRMS.
37. ICES has continued with its parts of the STATLANT programme as in previous years. This includes collection of data submitted on STATLANT form 27A, compiling and publishing these data. This is done in close cooperation with Eurostat as most countries fishing the Northeast Atlantic are EU or European Economic Area (EEA) Member countries. The scope of the statistics includes all fisheries with the exception of tunas that are the remit of ICCAT. Eurostat and ICES in February 2002 held a joint meeting with the national statistical offices. This meeting reviewed progress of the statistical programmes.
38. ICES published its fisheries statistics on CD - the data are presented under the FISHSTAT Plus system - the most recent CD was published in February 2002 and was for the period 1973-2000. It is expected that the next CD will be published in February 2003 holding data for 1973-2001. The ICES Statistics CD includes the Integrated fisheries catch statistics for the Atlantic. ICES is very thankful to Eurostat for producing this data file.
39. The database system used to handle the STATLANT data in the ICES Secretariat was replaced at the end of 2002. The new system is based on a relational database programmed in MS SQL SERVER. Furthermore, in 2003 the database system will be expanded with tools to handle the NEAFC data (monthly statistics for selected species by NEAFC regulatory areas and by EEZs) and the so-called rec. 12 catch data. These data are preliminary annual catch statistics by ICES divisions for selected species submitted by 1 February the following year. These two sets of statistics provide the assessment group with catch information for their work at a time in the year when the final catch statistics have not yet been submitted.
40. NEAFC, Eurostat and ICES have worked on defining refinements of the ICES divisions used for fisheries statistics discussed under Agenda item 8.
41. Eurostat and ICES have discussed a more efficient split of the work. EU member countries have legal obligations to supply Eurostat with fisheries statistics following the STATLANT manual. Among the 19 ICES member countries only 5 are not a member of or are expected shortly to become a member of EU (Canada, Iceland, Norway, Russia and USA). Of these Iceland and Norway under the EEA arrangements are obliged to supply data to Eurostat and at present Canada and USA are not fishing in the Northeast Atlantic (FAO Area 27). Furthermore, Greenland and the Faeroe Islands have sovereign fisheries management rights for areas in the Northeast Atlantic and provide their own statistics. Thus, there is a significant overlap, and Eurostat and ICES are discussing how best to arrange the work in the future. It is expected that a revised arrangement between Eurostat and ICES will release some resources mainly in the ICES Secretariat. It is the intention to use these resources to initiate a project to extend the electronic database holding catch-data back in time; there are published statistics for some species and for certain areas back to the beginning of the 1900s.
42. IOTC reported intersessional progress in data acquisition, gathering, processing and dissemination. The mandatory reporting standards for contracting and collaborating parties were updated to include the reporting of sample sizes and effort data related with fishing on fish aggregating devices by industrial purse seiners (Resolution 01/05). The improved vessel record provided useful information on the number of Distant Water Fishing Nations involved in fishing for tunas and related species in the IOTC Area of Competence, allowing an increase in the list of countries to which to address data requests. The estimation of both current and historical catches of non-reporting longliners and purse seiners benefit also from this improved vessel record. The IOTC extended the sampling of landed catches of fresh-tuna longliners to ports in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. This sampling allowed a better estimation of nominal catches of all fresh-tuna longline fleets operating in the IOTC Area. The catches of artisanal fleets operating from several Indian Ocean coastal countries were estimated from several sources, mainly from the FAO FISHSTAT database. The IOTC and the FAO have been exchanging their capture datasets since 2001 so as to avoid as much as possible the dissemination of different catch statistics.
43. IOTC reported on the ongoing cooperation between the IOTC Secretariat and the Overseas Fisheries Cooperation Foundation of Japan with the objective of implementing different projects in developing countries of the region to address their main needs regarding data collection and statistics. The Project will extend over the period of one year (April 2002-March 2003) at a level of funding of about US$500 000, extending to up to five years at a similar level of funding upon mutual agreement. IOTC reported several areas of improvement since the inception of the Project, such as the implementation of a multilateral catch monitoring programme in Indonesia, the inception of a sampling program in Oman, the organization of a training workshop on WinTuna 2000, the software developed by the Secretariat to collect and process fisheries information, and the transferring of technology and technical assistance to several countries in the region. WinTuna is used as reference software in all IOTC sampling programmes as well as fisheries data entry and processing software in other countries of the region. Future priorities include the description of data collection and processing systems of several developing countries of the region, as well as a workshop on data collection and processing systems with the participation of the countries concerned, together with direct assistance as required in each participating country.
44. IOTC informed that its database structure had been changed to include fields to allow recording of several catch, effort and size data sets for different fleets of individual countries and to record the quality of the data in each stratum. Thorough reviews were carried out consequently to record the quality of all records in the IOTC databases. The creation of several standard validation and verification processes at the Secretariat help in the conduct of these reviews and will be used to validate all new data submitted.
45. IOTC further reported on the creation of several processes to extract and format the data from the IOTC databases before dissemination. Catch-at-size matrices and standard reports and catalogues summarizing the situation of the data gathered at the Secretariat for species managed by IOTC were also created during the intersessional period.
46. NAFO continues the acquisition of fishery statistics for the Northwest Atlantic (FAO Fishing Area 21) through the STATLANT system. Timely submission of data appear to have improved, however, individual incidents (such as a major reorganization of the USA database) have resulted in significant delays and restructuring of the NAFO Statistical Bulletin. Data reports for 2000 to 2001 have been received from most countries, however these publications are significantly delayed due to the absence of a few submissions.
47. NAFO 21A data, in a standard ASCII file format, is now placed on the NAFO website and updated data are uploaded as they are received. Data is now available for 1960-2002 (www.nafo.ca). Data are also available on request from the Secretariat as electronic or hard copies. In 2001 the NAFO 21A files were converted to the format necessary to run under the FAO FISHSTAT Plus program. The data file and links to the FAO Software were published on the NAFO Website. Subsequently, technical problems emerged and there were some problems with the user support provided by FAO for this Software. NAFO data files have not been updated since January 2002.
48. The Scientific Council (SC) noted that some clarification was required between the officially reported STATLANT catch statistics and the data used in SC stock assessments and recommended that catch statistics used in SCs Scientific Advice to management and produced in SC tables and in the Scientific Council Summary Sheets should include both catch data used by the stock assessment (STACFIS estimates) as well as the officially reported STATLANT 21A data.
49. The SC hosted a major Symposium on Elasmobranch Fisheries: Managing for Sustainable Use and Biodiversity Conservation on 11-13 September 2002, during the NAFO Annual Meeting held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The Keynote address summarized the current state of shark management issues worldwide. Fifty three (53) oral presentations and 30 posters were presented in the proceedings divided into four sessions: Life History and Demographic Analysis; Stock Identity; Stock Assessment and Harvest Strategies and Biodiversity Maintenance. The Symposium discussions are summarized in the September Scientific Council Report (www.nafo.ca/scicoun/2002/2002index.htm on NAFO website) and the proceedings will be published in the NAFO Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science (expected by early-2004).
50. The comprehensive Vessel Monitoring System to be used by NAFO Contracting Parties was installed at the NAFO Secretariat, and has been operational since July 2001. The system provides uninterrupted reports to the NAFO Computer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from vessels themselves, and also from VMS of the Contracting Party conducting fishing activities in the NAFO area. Types of information recorded on this system include: entry reports, departure reports, movement reports, zonal reports, transhipment reports and position reports. The North Atlantic code format is used for digitized records. There is a proposal to include additional reports, e.g. catch reports from vessel captains, observer reports (both of these will be used in a pilot project when finally approved by NAFO Fisheries Commission).
51. The NAFO SC was informed of the progress made over the last 2 years on FIGIS-FIRMS. The Scientific Council observed several areas of concern regarding the Fisheries Global Information System and its development, including workload issues for the NAFO Secretariat as well as Scientific Council, questions on maintenance of data and preserving the wording of scientific advice provided by the Scientific Council and its advice to NAFO managers, possible involvement of some national agencies and level of support provided by FAO. The Scientific Council noted further discussion will be required in the Scientific Council Standing Committees as well as in other Committees within NAFO before specific recommendations concerning this project can be made. The SC will review the outcome of CWP-20 and other FIGIS related meetings, at its meeting of June 2003.
52. The Oceanic Fisheries Programme (OFP) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is responsible for compiling and disseminating data on tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. In addition to annual catch estimates and catch and effort data and length data grouped by time-area strata, the OFP also compiles operational-level catch and effort data (longline and purse-seine sets; pole-and-line and troll days fished), unloadings data, port sampling data, observer data and other types of data.
53. Compilation of annual catch estimates from Indonesia and the Philippines, which represent about 20 percent of the catch of pelagic tuna in the WCPO, have been problematic. Although Indonesia and the Philippines recently provided estimates of total catches of tuna for recent years, up to 2000 and 2001 respectively, the estimates have not been provided by gear type and catches of bigeye and yellowfin have been reported as combined catches. Both of these problems can be resolved through port sampling. In the Philippines, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has recently established the National Stock Assessment Project of which the largest component is port sampling; at the end of 2001, there were more than 200 ports covered by sampling. Regarding Indonesia, the OFP, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia and the Directorate General of Capture Fisheries of Indonesia are developing a proposal for a joint port sampling programme.
54. In the past, the compilation of logsheet data covering the domestic fleets of certain SPC member countries has been difficult. The coverage of logsheet data held at SPC for the longline fleets of Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tonga improved considerably in 2001 and 2002 in response to measures taken by those governments.
55. The OFP provides both financial and technical support for sampling programmes in member countries and territories. The OFP has recently recruited a Port Sampling and Observer Manager (Mr Peter Sharples, New Zealand), a Fisheries Monitoring Supervisor (Ms Deirdre Brogan, Ireland) and a Port Sampler and Observer Trainer (Mr Siosifa Fukofuka, Tonga).
56. The Fifth Meeting of the SPC/FFA Tuna Fishery Data Collection Committee was held on 2-6 December 2002 in Brisbane, Australia. The meeting reviewed data collection forms, the status of sampling programmes, and sampling protocols.
57. The SPC Regional Tuna Bulletin, which presents monthly catch rates for certain fleets, was recently modified to monitor fishing activities in the WCPO, rather than just the EEZs of SPC members and adjacent waters; it has therefore been renamed the WCPO Tuna Bulletin. It is now available semi-annually, rather than quarterly, and only on the website; the Tuna Bulletin will no longer be printed and distributed.
58. The Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean was adopted at Honolulu on 5 September 2000. Simultaneous with the adoption of the Convention, a resolution was adopted establishing a Preparatory Conference for the Establishment of the Commission. Three sessions of the Preparatory Conference have been convened: PrepCon1 was held from 23 to 28 April 2001 in Christchurch, New Zealand; PrepCon2 was held from 25 February to 1 March 2002 in Madang, Papua New Guinea; and PrepCon3 was held from 18 to 22 November 2002 in Manila, Philippines. Three working groups have been established by the Preparatory Conference: (I) Organizational Structure, Budget and Financial Contributions; (II) Scientific Structure and Provision of Interim Scientific Advice; and (III) Monitoring, Control and Surveillance. Working Group II is concerned with the data requirements and the research needs of the Commission. Working Group II further established a Scientific Coordinating Group (SCG) to assist in carrying out those terms of reference which require special scientific and technical consideration. The first meeting of the Scientific Coordinating Group was held from 29 to 31 July 2002, immediately following the Fifteenth Meeting of the Standing Committee on Tuna and Billfish (SCTB). The SCG recognized that the existing regional arrangements for the compilation and dissemination of data coordinated by the SCTB are suitable in the interim period (prior to the entry into force of the Convention and the establishment of the Commission). These existing arrangements are (a) the provision of fisheries data by flag states and coastal states to the OFP; (b) processing and management of these and other data by the OFP; and (c) the dissemination of data according to procedures established by the SCTB Statistics Working Group, including the dissemination of public-domain catch and effort data on the OFP website and the regular publication of statistical bulletins by the OFP. At PrepCon3, Working Group II accepted this and other elements of the report of the SCG. It also agreed that the detailed technical work in relation to the Commissions data requirements (as opposed to the interim requirements) should be handled by the next meeting of the SCG, which is scheduled for 17 to 19 July 2003 in Mooloolaba, Australia, immediately following SCTB16. The issue of scientific structures to address scientific functions on the Commission was also discussed by Working Group II at PrepCon3. Delegates reinforced the requirement in the Convention to make use of existing regional organizations, to the greatest extent possible, and suggested that data functions and stock assessment should be closely linked, due to the dependency of the stock assessments on access to data.
59. The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) had initiated a fishery statistics program in 1976 with the first SEAFDEC Technical Workshop on Fishery Statistics convened in Singapore. SEAFDEC then began to organize the Technical Workshop on Fishery Statistics for the South China Sea Area at an interval of two or three years and to issue the Annual Fishery Statistical Bulletin for the South China Sea Area. The Bulletin has been published annually by SEAFDEC since 1978 starting with the statistics for 1976 with the aim to provide reliable and comparable fishery statistics with standardized definitions and classifications to facilitate the exchange of information for the management of fishery resources and the planning of various fishery development programs for countries bordering the South China Sea Area.
60. Due to an increasing concern about the quality of fishery statistics in support of sustainable development and management of fisheries, it is necessary to review and improve the current development and management plans and policy in response to the current regional fisheries situation, which will only be possible when it can be based on timely, reliable and sound fisheries statistics and information. This calls for a need not only for national efforts but regional attempts to tackle this problem. To assist the ASEAN Member Countries in the implementation of the Resolution and Plan of Action through the outcomes through the Regional Conference on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security in the New Millennium: Fish for the People, SEAFDEC in close collaboration with the Member countries has developed a 5-year follow-up program on Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security in the ASEAN Region. Fishery statistics was highlighted as a priority issue, and incorporated as an integral part of the follow-up program to ensure sustainable development of fisheries and food security in the ASEAN region.
61. In response to the regional fisheries policy framework to improve fishery statistics in support of sustainable development and management of fisheries, four major directions were identified to pursue this policy requirement: Fishery Statistics in Support of Fisheries Management Purposes; Comparable Fishery Statistical Systems, Capacity Building for Fishery Statistics at all Levels; and Improve Usage of Fishery Statistics through Better Presentation and User-friendly.
62. In line with the above-identified priorities, SEAFDEC in collaboration with the ASEAN Member countries is promoting activities to improve fishery statistics in the region. SEAFDEC is currently promoting capacity building, particularly human resource aspects of national fishery statistics which give priority to the least developing countries in the region, particularly Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam, to reduce technical disparity among the ASEAN Member countries and mobilize existing expertise and experience developed in the region, especially in the countries where fishery statistical systems have been well developed.
63. As part of the attempts to promote statistical data sharing for regional and global monitoring of fisheries as well as management purposes at the regional level, the existing SEAFDEC Fishery Statistical Bulletin in the Southeast Asia will be upgraded and improved. There is a need to review the current data reporting needs and tools and where possible they should be harmonized and integrated with FAO to reduce burden of the Member countries and eventually improve the quality of the fishery statistics. In addition, use of databases or electronic form or even web-based technology could be considered as a possible tool for this purpose.
64. SEAFDEC is also promoting the Fishery Statistics based Activities for the Improvement of Regional Fisheries that require attention in their statistical components which should be taken into consideration when improving fishery statistics as a whole. These activities should be developed with close linkages to the improvement of other national statistics. These include the detailed fishery statistics in support of the conservation and management of shark fisheries and sea turtles, as these two major groups of resources have direct linkages with the regional trade of fish and fishery products. Other areas of development which address fishery statistics support are: the use of indicators in management and development of fisheries; promoting a map-based information program entitled Digitized Atlas; developing the best scientific evidence including fishery statistics to support effective implementation of responsible fisheries in the region to assisting the Member Countries in the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF); the Improvement of Inland Fishery Statistics; and promotion on Information Collection for Sustainable Pelagic Fisheries in the South China Sea.
65. Based on the above-identified activities for the improvement of fishery statistics in the ASEAN region, SEAFDEC has exerted its efforts in the promotion of activities and mobilizing expertise and experience both within and outside the region. Many areas are proposed for collaboration with FAO and other related organizations to achieve the goal of improvement of fishery statistics in the region.