User Needs and Capacity Development Assessment - Global Record
The Global Record will be a valuable resource tool to a wide range of users across the global fisheries and maritime sectors. Its potential utility will be limited only by the willingness or otherwise of the international community to address the non-transparency concerns that pervade the international fisheries sector. Initially, its core function will be to provide a quick reference point through which fishing vessels can be accurately identified and pertinent vessel-related information made available but ultimately, through its modular design, it could become a 'one-stop shop' for a wide variety of information.
With this in mind it is important for the project team to understand who the potential users are and what their needs will be. In the case of developing countries it will also be important to assess current capacity and capability to maximise the benefits of a fully functional Global Record, and to identify strategies to provide for any development needs identified.
The immediate focus of the project team will be on Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) users to identify how the Record could best cater to their needs but in order to do this, the project team needs to improve its understanding of current structures, relationships and capacities.
A number of specific activities and fact-finding exercises are contemplated to gain an understanding of the depth of development support that might be needed to make the Global Record fully effective. Discussions with a number of Regional Groupings are occurring with a view to understanding:
Presentations will also be made in other forums so that the wider potential of the Global Record is debated and understood.
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Beyond basic vessel identification (which would be a significant improvement in itself), the Global Record has the potential to offer MCS Users a range of information-related benefits in a modular format. For instance:
Other sectors of the global fisheries community will also be able to use the Global Record is a productive way. It will give them access to real-time data in a way that has never been possible. It should enhance decision-making and provide legitimate fishermen and fish processors with the reassurance that improved transparency will advance their business image and potential.
Other potential applications for the Global Record include:
Each of these areas highlights a current information void that the Global Record can provide a solution to. Moreover, the Global Record, by using the UVI system as its foundation, can accurately link pertinent information to the vessel with a level of assurance not otherwise possible.
The ability of individual State Agencies to effectively utilize a developed Global Record will vary widely. The Project Team intends to work closely with several blocks of countries to understand the issues that may impede full participation and to develop recommendations as to how those issues might be addressed.
One of the most important cornerstones for effective participation is a fully functioning vessel registration system and an integrated system of licensing which controls access to the fishery. All too often, fishing vessel registers are poorly maintained and the communication and coordination between the government agencies responsible for the various functions is also poor. Access to technology and the internet may also be a barrier.
Given the importance of a comprehensive fishing vessel registration system as a cornerstone to effective fisheries management (including an effective MCS regime), the Project Team intends to use its proposed workshops to better understand the current situation and work with development partners to improve this fundamental building block where necessary.