Concept of protocols for data exchange
120. With reference to the Strategy - STF framework, and seeking to ensure that CWP members have a common understanding of the concept of Protocols for data exchange, FAO gave a presentation on what this concept would embrace. Data exchange protocols should cover the three following issues: consistency of definitions between data provider and data integrator, transmission channels, and ownership including integration and access rules. The presentation stressed that the "CWP Handbook of fishery statistical standards" covers rather well the definitions including glossary of terms, classifications, and reference metadata. The issue of transmission channels are only partially covered in the CWP Handbook with presentation of formats used to report statistics. With increasing use of internet technology and considering the various options offered (emails, data download, on-line editing, file upload, dynamic data extraction), the Handbook should be expanded to better cover transmission mechanisms.
121. The CWP Handbook at present does not really cover the issues related to ownership and the related property rights, including agreement between the provider and recipient parties on the integration process (e.g. degree of modification authorized on the source data and conditions under which such modification can arise) on the application of quality indicators (e.g. to qualify the quality of the integrator system and of its source components according to integrator data quality requirements), relevant usage to be made of integrated data (e.g. aggregation rules or levels authorized, search options, indicators which can be calculated), and dissemination formats made available to clients. Reference was made to FIRMS Information Management Policy which essentially aims at covering these data ownership aspects. In conclusion, the handbook could be further developed to cover these missing points, and organized in such a way to provide modular access to those various components (or building blocks) of a data exchange protocol. Such facility would constitute an appreciable web-service to fisheries information networks such as FIRMS which should ensure consistent presentation of their protocols.
122. The CWP members confirmed that they shared the understanding of the concept of data exchange protocol given in paragraphs 120-121 above. It was recommended that this concept as presented here be included in the Fisheries Data Quality indicator development framework (see paragraphs 110-116 above).
123. Eurostat mentioned the usefulness of the FAO Fishery Country Profiles which, however, in many cases are out of date. Eurostat and OECD offered to assist FAO in updating the profiles using information from their databases and acting contact points for relevant national authorities.
124. Eurostat pointed out that when modifications are made by RFBs or other agencies to data received from member states on the FISHSTAT or STATLANT questionnaires, it is important to inform the relevant authorities in the member state of the change. An incident with data reported to and modified by FAO was mentioned as an example and Eurostat urged the CWP members to ensure that proper procedures are followed. ICES reported to have similar experiences, also involving problems of data inconsistencies when databases are not updated simultaneously. CWP agreed that such procedures should be followed.