Quality assurance

Consistency and Accuracy

Parallel to the activity of data collecting and database development, FAO, within the Compliance Agreement Framework, is working towards the promotion of standards. The adoption of unique vessel measurements and identification systems is, in fact, essential when gathering data from multiple data sources, as is the case in this International Agreement. The lack of a unique and stable vessel identifying element has, in fact, been stressed in various international meetings (e.g. 19th session of the Coordinating Working Party on Fishery Statistics / CWP).

Processing Method

When a dataset is received - usually in the form of an Excel spreadsheet - the information contained will serve as the basis to populate and update the current HSVAR data. New vessels are assigned an internal identification number that will be provided back to the data owners to allow for more efficient data update trackings, then the content of each provided field is checked against the FIGIS reference codes and against a set of business rules to spot any inconsistency or mistake that will be in turn reported back to the reporting Party. Then, once the dataset has been correctly validated, it will be committed in the HSVAR data and the new data will be immediately accessible through the portal.


To make the update process simpler, reflecting the changes in the shortest time, tools are being developed to allow Parties to submit bulk data in a standard XML (eXtensible Markup Language) format and modify their own individual records remotely via the web (e.g. to change authorization status with immediate effect).

Coverage completeness

The degree of completeness of the information communicated by data providers varies widely. In few instances all of the mandatory information requested by the Agreement has been provided for each vessel. Thus, in the process of record keeping and maintenance it has been often necessary to validate the information received by comparing it with other sources of reference (e.g., Lloyd’s Maritime database, EC Fleet Register on the Net, tuna organizations, and several other vessel search engines available in the Internet). Such exercise is almost unavoidable given the need to identify each vessel in a uniquely way in order to prevent duplications. The information for individual vessels maintained in the HSVAR, although supplemented as described before, is still far from complete. Table 2 below summarizes the status of the current information. In particular, the IMO number is only available in a limited fraction of the authorized vessels. There are still several problems regarding the quality of the data received from Parties to the Agreement, but FAO is making every effort to work with data providers for the betterment of the information and to actually make the HSVAR a useful tool for the purposes it was created.

The HSVAR at a glance

The following tables offer the possibility to dynamically query the HSVAR to obtain summary statistics. We invite you to explore their possibilities and gain an idea of the current status of the HSVAR database (currently containing [ calculating ] vessels).

Important notice: some aggregated figures in tables 2 to 8 may report a total percentage exceeding 100%. This is due to some vessels having two or more different values of the same attribute (the one being considered in the table) valid at the same time.

Table 2. Degree of completeness of the information maintained in the HSVAR database