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Para. 30. CWP welcomed the preparation of more field guides for the identification of elasmobranchs and agreed that further practical field guides were required to allow the at-sea identification of sharks based on fins and other body parts, which are often the only parts landed.

Para. 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.

Para. 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.

Para. 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.

Para. 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.

Para. 42. CWP noted that several general purpose fishery data systems are used or under development by different RFBs or individual countries. The 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.

Para. 44. There was considerable discussion concerning to what extent CWP should involve itself in advocacy for improved statistics and in support of statistical development. While all participants agreed that CWP should play a more active role in drawing attention to shortcomings in current fishery statistics and the need for improvements, opinions varied as to how far this should be taken. It was finally agreed that the first option presented in the Review paper, which involves taking advantage of opportunities as they arise to draw attention to shortcomings and the need for improvement, should be pursued for the foreseeable future. The second option, which would be much more pro-active, would probably require a change to the CWP Statutes and additional funds for a work programme. Although many CWP agencies have a mandate to pursue such initiatives, it is doubtful that CWP has under its current Statutes.

Para. 45. There was also considerable discussion concerning the lack of recognition by many governments of the need for reliable statistics as a basis for fisheries policy making and management. It was agreed that a 1-2 day workshop on this topic should be held prior to CWP-21. If the FAO Strategy for Improving Information on Status and Trends of Capture Fisheries is adopted, the workshop could focus on implementation of the Strategy with a focus on the national level, and on the needs of developing countries in particular.

Para. 46. It was agreed that in future CWP should aim to promote its work for the improvement of fishery statistics more widely, as at the national level it was little known. In pursuing such wider recognition in future, it is better to avoid the term “advocacy” when considering CWP’s role, but rather to use alternative terms such as “advisory”.

Para. 57. CWP recommended that importing and exporting countries should transmit full trade document information to the RFBs and requested FAO to send the draft forms of the standard documents which FAO is designing to the RFBs concerned, prior to the next meeting of RFBs in March 2003. CWP recommended that the Agencies concerned should liaise on the aspects related to the conversion factors, and the exchange of catch certification and trade documentation information.

Para. 63. CWP noted that, while the terms “nominal catch”, “landings” and “product weight” have been defined in various publications of CWP agencies (including the Handbook of Fishery Statistical Standards), some of them tended to be used rather loosely (for example “catch” being used when “nominal catch” was the more accurate term). Data collators were urged to avoid confusion for the data users by applying the terms in a more rigid manner. CWP recommended the use of the term “gross removals” to cover the nominal catch (the live weight equivalent of the landings) plus the quantities discarded (also expressed in live weight) and that this also be reflected in the text of the Handbook.

Para. 69. CWP recommended that a common format and similar graphic user interface for sharing and presenting vessel records be agreed and adopted. Such a goal could be achieved through setting up a common system to share, manage and present data. In that respect, CWP further recommended that the documents prepared by FAO be reviewed by interested parties, with feedback provided by May 2003, and that close collaboration between FAO and interested regional fishery bodies take place, regarding both system design and layout.

Para. 72. The meeting noted that the CWP has participated according to its mandate in the meeting of Regional Fishery Bodies (RFBs) and the above-mentioned technical consultation. The RFBs have also participated in the development of the proposed FAO Strategy for Improving Information on Status and Trends of Capture Fisheries. The meeting agreed that CWP would be prepared to facilitate implementation of the Strategy within areas of its mandate.

Para. 74. Following considerable discussion on the position CWP could take in relation to the proposed Strategy at the forthcoming COFI meeting, it was agreed that the CWP position, which should be conveyed to COFI, is as follows:

Many elements of the proposed Strategy fall within the remit of the CWP and CWP is striving towards the same objective as that specified in paragraph 12 of the Strategy document, albeit in the narrower context of statistics;

In pursuit of its drive for improved fishery statistics at the national, regional and global levels, CWP supports the proposed Strategy as an overall framework within which its own aims clearly lie;

CWP is prepared to actively facilitate implementation of the Strategy for those elements of the Strategy which fall under its mandate.

Para. 75. CWP noted with great interest the report of the Second FIGIS-CWP Meeting of 20 January 2003 and the draft Partnership Agreement which are presented in Appendix 7. CWP agreed with the distinction made between the roles of CWP and FIGIS Steering Committee (FSC) as stated in paragraph 38 of the report in Appendix 7.

Para. 78. FAO informed that there had been consideration by the SEAFO process concerning the boundary line between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans as to whether 30°E or 20°E would be more practical as a boundary for its convention area (see CWP-17 report, paragraph 131). Similarly, there are boundary concerns regarding CECAF and SEAFO areas (in a small area of the northern boundary of area 47). CWP recommended that in general ad hoc adjustments to statistical boundaries should be discouraged and that any statistical boundary changes, which inevitably require changes to statistical data reporting questionnaires, should only be implemented if historical data can be adjusted to retain consistent time series (see CWP-17 report, paragraph 130). CWP further recommended that the Secretariat once again inquire of SEAFO as to its intentions concerning the boundary between areas 47 and 51 and, if the 30°E boundary is to be retained. The development of the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) will also require similar considerations of its western boundary.

Para. 81. CWP reviewed the proposed revision of the ISSCFV classification, noting that an earlier review was described in the report of CWP-19 (paragraphs 157-162). After extended discussions by CWP members, it was restated that the ISSCFV categories should be based on consideration of vessel structural characteristics, but agreed that some category terms should be revised to better reflect vessel types currently used in fisheries. Whilst FAO has had extensive consultations with fishery technologists, CWP recommended fisheries statisticians should also be consulted to develop suitable criteria and nomenclature. It was noted very few regional fishery bodies now use vessel types for statistical recording, and that most agencies now use gear types extensively, particularly in tuna fisheries. Thus, guidance was provided for improving the current proposal:

Purse seiners: the sub-categories American seiner and European seiner should be reworded to ‘Purse Seiner: American type’, and ‘Purse Seiner: European type’. The introduction of a ‘Purse Seiner: Chinese type’ category should be considered. To that effect SEAFDEC will liaise with FAO;

Multipurpose vessels: ‘Polyvalent should be renamed ‘Multipurpose’; the multipurpose category should be reduced as much as possible, in order to avoid facilitating reporting against this opened category; the ‘Pelagic trawler - purse seiner’ would be an obvious category under multipurpose vessels;

‘Platform for aquaculture’ and ‘Fishing vessels using pumps for fishing’ should be deleted;

‘Local vessel types’ (e.g. ‘bottom otter trawler’) may be added as required at the third level as examples of vessel types under either first level or second level of standard categories.

CWP recommended that after considering these inputs, the Secretariat revise the proposed revision and circulate it for comments.

Para. 87. The primary medium for dissemination of the new version of the Handbook is the Internet, although it was suggested that dissemination of the Handbook on a CD ROM would also be useful, and CWP recommended that FAO consider this. The content of the Handbook will be subject to ongoing revision and therefore CWP recommended that version control should be carefully maintained. It was also suggested that an appendix that lists the abbreviations of units of measurement would also be useful. The meeting congratulated FAO and Eurostat on their considerable efforts which have resulted in an extremely useful document.

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