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(Agenda item 10; Document CWP-21/7)

110. FAO introduced the agenda item on fishery data quality indicators by explaining that the document CWP-21/7, Fisheries Data Quality: Review of progress and possible approaches to addressing data quality and cost-effectiveness, had been further revised since it was last discussed in the CWP intersessional meeting.

111. The document consists of two parts, a review of current issues and programmes, and a section proposing actions for FAO’s continued work. FAO suggested that the review part of the document be published as a FAO Fisheries Circular or similar document. It was pointed out that some time had passed since the draft was prepared and that it may need further revision. It was agreed that OECD and Eurostat would review relevant sections of the document and provide comments to FAO by 1 July 2005 after which the report will be published. FAO was requested to ensure that the date of the preparation of the text clearly appears on the document.

112. With reference to descriptions of data quality indicators given in the review of the report, the CWP noted that independence is an important principle of data quality. Eurostat informed the meeting of work carried out on quality assessments, including, among other things, timeliness, and offered to circulate relevant documents to the CWP members.

113. With regard to the continuation of FAO’s work on fishery data quality, the report gives suggestions for "Next steps" covering three phases. These three phases covered the establishment of a working group, the organization of an Expert Consultation and a process of ACFR review.

114. The activities are suggested within the framework of the Strategy STF. Paragraphs 39 and 40 of the Strategy STF state that FAO should develop practical guidelines for quality assurance, transparency and confidentiality.

115. The meeting discussed the difficulty of defining quality and how this should be dealt with in the process of developing practical guidelines. ICES explained that the organization has several working groups working on issues related to data quality. The experience is that data quality is context dependent and that the quality requirements depend on the end use of the data, including the objectives of the users. Recognising this, the meeting recommended that FAO reverse the order of the first two phases of the proposed activities:

It was felt that the overall framework and specifications of relevant data quality situations should be discussed in an Expert Consultation before more detailed work was proposed to a working group.

116. FAO aims at having the draft guidelines ready for review by the Twenty-second Session of the CWP in 2007.

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