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46. Mr Robin Allen (former Chairperson of FIRMS) and Mr Marc Taconet (FIRMS Secretary) made a presentation under this agenda item supported by a paper on "Implementation of the Fisheries Resources Monitoring System (FIRMS) Partnership Agreement: Status and Prospects", and by a draft of the FIRMS web-site. Mr Allen noted that FIRMS is an arrangement to provide access to a wide range of information on global monitoring of marine fishery resources and as such is part of the Strategy for Improving Information on Status and Trends of Capture Fisheries (Strategy-STF). It will address global fisheries trends and report available information in a web-based harmonized format. He noted that current FIRMS partners include a wide spectrum of RFBs, that the arrangement is open to new RFB Partners willing to join, and will later be extended to national agencies. Mr Taconet outlined various technical aspects associated with FIRMS and noted that the development of a web-based operational model is currently being undertaken and that the third FIRMS steering committee meeting will be held next year, following a meeting of the technical group which will involve FIRMS data managers from various partner organizations and RFBs. He also indicated the importance of adequate training in ensuring FIRMS' operational efficiency.

47. In discussion, the Vice Chairperson of the Coordinating Working Party on Fishery Statistics (CWP) conveyed a message on behalf of the CWP, explaining recent developments and future challenges including electronic data communication and new data requirements for ecosystem considerations. A summary of conclusions and recommendations from the FAO Expert Consultation on Data Formats and Procedures for Monitoring, Control and Surveillance relevant to the CWP was also presented. This included details on the future adoption of the north Atlantic format (NAF) for data communications. It was noted that much of the CWP's future work will depend on RFBs establishing common MCS objectives and standards, completing their work on catch documentation and harmonization, and identifying ways to assess compliance, including attached data needs.

48. Key information conveyed by FIRMS and the CWP is provided in the paper RFB/IV/2005/9. The Meeting expressed appreciation for FAO's ongoing support of FIRMS' work and stressed the need for making FIRMS prototype report accessible to the general public as soon as possible.

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