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At its Thirtieth Session in July 2012, COFI encouraged Members to respond to the questionnaire on the implementation of the Code and supported web-based reporting for the questionnaire. The Committee also supported gathering more information on regional efforts to implement the Code facilitated by a content review of the questionnaires for regional fishery bodies (RFBs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), along with the introduction of web-based reporting for these entities.

In 2013, the COFI Secretariat developed a tailor-made web-based questionnaire (http://www.fao.org/fishery/code/codequest) for Members (in 6 official languages), RFBs and NGOs, together with a related database and information system, with inbuilt data management and data processing tools, useful in analytical and monitoring processes. The questionnaire online system is accessible through a dedicated portal on the FAO domain using unique usernames and passwords, and meets the necessary confidentiality, security and usability requirements.

Considering the positive results of the web-based reporting system, which practically doubled FAO Member responses, the questionnaires on the implementation of Articles 9 and 11 of the Code were transferred to the platform in 2014, in preparation for the 8th Session of the COFI Subcommittee on Aquaculture and the 15th Session of COFI Subcommittee on Fish Trade. Users have the convenience of accessing the same portal, thus benefitting from a single entry-point and layout and a better user experience. Familiarity with, and continuous improvement of, the web-based reporting system is expected to continue to raise response rates over time.

The main features of the web-based reporting system include:

  • Routing users to the correct questionnaire (General CCRF questionnaire as FAO Member, RFB or NGO, Aquaculture questionnaire or Fish Trade questionnaire) based on credentials
  • The option to change language at any point
  • Easy access to related documentation and explanatory text
  • Automatic saving of answers at regular intervals to avoid data loss
  • Continuous monitoring of questionnaire completeness
  • Online submission for certification of responses and generation of an immediate email receipt
  • A related internal management application which facilitates administration of users and mailing lists by the Secretariat, as well as automatic communication with the respondents
  • Direct access to the data through a post-processing tool which generates the required statistical results at the click of a button
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