Strategic Framework for Fishery Monitoring and Catch Reporting in the Pacific Fisheries

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4. Summary and Next Steps

To support sustainable fisheries management and other Pacific Region priorities, fishery monitoring and catch reporting must be improved in all harvest sectors across the majority of Pacific fisheries.  The Strategic Framework establishes a consistent basis for the development of catch monitoring standards in all fisheries. The second principle requiring consistent application of criteria to determine the level of information requirements and the third principle which recognizes that differences exist between fisheries and must be appropriately considered, are particularly relevant for applying the framework to the development of monitoring standards specific to each type of fishery.  The ultimate objective is to build trust in Pacific fisheries and their management by enabling accurate, timely and accessible information in which harvesters, other fishery interests and the public can have confidence.

Implementing the strategic framework will involve a multi-year process with harvesters and other partners, the details of which will be determined through existing advisory processes.  Important early steps for proceeding with implementation are:

  • Local Actions:
    • Resource Managers to collaborate with fishery representatives (First Nations, harvest advisory groups, etc.) to determine the fishery specific information requirements. The Strategic Framework risk-assessment criteria are then used to determine the level of monitoring.
    • The current monitoring programs can then be reviewed against these requirements to identify gaps and areas for improved monitoring.
    • Monitoring program options must be considered and analyzed for operational feasibility and affordability. If harvesters are unable to support the required monitoring program , a discussion about more conservative or limited access (e.g., a change in the management regime) will need to occur.
  • Regional Actions:
    • Changes to monitoring programs within a harvest sector typically require an integrated and coordinated approach to achieve affordability, consistency and effectiveness. Thus the development of a strategy to move forward with changes within harvest sectors and major fisheries is required.
    • Regional discussions will assist in developing priorities for improvements and changes (where required) and developing options for phasing in improvements.  Opportunities to link mechanisms for cost effective implementation should be considered. 
      For example, significant progress has recently been made in the development of a recreational monitoring strategy by a Sport Fish Advisory Board (SFAB)/DFO Catch Monitoring Working Group. This broad strategy, using the Strategic Framework for guidance, links together similar recreational fisheries throughout the region and establishes standards for monitoring programs for recreational fisheries of similar risk. In this way recreational fisheries at each level will be using the same fundamental monitoring tool and/or program mix.  Area Resource Managers will continue to work at the local level to review specific fisheries with local SFAB groups following the local actions described above, but would incorporate the regional strategic approach described here.  Other key processes in place include the Catch Monitoring Working Groups of the Commercial Salmon Advisory Board and the Sardine Integrated Advisory Board.
      Regional advisory processes (e.g., Groundfish Integrated Advisory Board, Commercial Salmon Advisory Board, Herring Advisory Board and Sardine Integrated Advisory Board) will include strategic discussions on minimum standards and longer term monitoring objectives ·        
    • DFO remains committed to consulting with First Nations on the implementation of their FSC fisheries and associated monitoring programs. However, there are many opportunities for improved coordination, consistency and effectiveness by interacting at area aggregates or tribal council / watershed levels.  Common FSC implementation issues and challenges (such as fishery monitoring and catch reporting) can also be effectively considered at the regional First Nation Fisheries Council level. 
    • Continue to support PacFish development, implementation and the associated ongoing maintenance.
    • Two key positions established in Pacific Region, The Regional Monitoring Coordinator and the Regional Fisheries Data Coordinator are central to the implementation and coordination of this framework.  The Regional Monitoring Coordinator will support the development of fishery-specific monitoring standards, coordinate implementation of monitoring programs across fisheries and harvest sectors to ensure consistent application of the risk-based criteria and identify emerging information requirements.  The Regional Fisheries Data Coordinator will guide the implementation of standards, data management accountabilities, common technologies and the consolidation of data into designated enterprise databases to support the effective management and use of fisheries data.  These two positions will work together to ensure that data collected by fishery monitoring programs meets objectives, is of sufficient quality and timeliness and is available to all users. C&P will work with Resource Managers and harvesters to develop fishery-specific compliance targets and clearly outline responses to non-compliance.