July 14, 2004
"In the initial phase we will be simplifying the paperwork for Alaska's Bering Sea crab fishermen," said Dr. James Balsiger, head of NOAA Fisheries in Alaska. "We hope to get the new program finalized as this crab fishery undergoes the consolidation and management changes we call 'rationalization'."
"This system will ultimately benefit all three agencies and the commercial industry by eliminating the current duplicate reporting of the same data for multiple purposes", said Dr. Bruce Leaman, Executive Director of the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
"The goal of the Interagency Electronic Fishery Information Collection and Management Project is to create a joint electronic data repository that provides increased timeliness of data availability, improved quality of data submitted, and reduced redundant reporting by the seafood industry, " said Kevin Duffy, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. " Once we finish and test the program for Bering Sea crab, we will expand it to include the remaining Bering Sea-Aleutian Island shellfish fisheries, and statewide ground fish and halibut. The last phase will include the remaining Alaska fisheries."
Wostmann and Associates, Inc. of Juneau has been hired to work with the agencies to design and develop the system, under a contract with the Pacific State Marine Fisheries Commission.
The Interagency Electronic Fishery Information Collection and Management project underwent scoping and technology demonstration phases in early 2004. Planners hope to have a functioning system for Bering Sea and Aleutian Island crab fisheries in August of 2005.
The traditional reporting method for commercial fishermen is to complete a series of fish tickets with commercial fisheries processors to record information of the commercial harvest. For many reasons a single fishing trip can result in several fish tickets. Fish tickets include data on catch species, amounts, gear, and geographical collections.
Fishermen and processors using the newly envisioned system will log onto the interagency reporting system using personal identification and password before entering fisheries information such as fish species, area fished, vessel number and boat name. Duplicated information will be minimized using the online program.
The central system and data
repository will be housed in Juneau.
Source of News Release: