Thursday, 19 October 2017

A toolkit for small scale fisheries routine data collection.

In the name of creating robust and transparent industry data Through the Gaps has long since been championing the cause for collecting fisheries data in real time - especially given the advances in technology that not only allow the easy creation of apps and software but also the ability to transmit data, live, in real time and affordably - if needed.  When a need is perceived and an industry responds at a grass roots level the resultant product is very often 100% fit for purpose - a local example would be the iCatch app developed for fishermen to pass on their monthly shellfish returns - developed for fishermen by someone who fully understands the need - not something forced on them from above out of political expediency.

In Kenya, low tech phones are now responsible for a huge percentage of street trade - thanks to a simple app that allows people with even the most basic mobile phone to exchange goods for money - start watching Billionaire Deals and how they changed your world from 49m 33s to see just how the system works for even the smallest trader. So it is great to see another app developed for the benefit of small scale fishers that meets their needs - interestingly mobile phone technology is proving to be the great liberator for small (as in micro businesses) right across the African continent.  

Read on:

Among the major tasks of FAO is the promotion of improved approaches and techniques for the collection of data on agricultural statistics, including fisheries and forestry. The need for reliable and comprehensive statistics has always been extremely important, all the more so at the present time, as they provide the essential basis for planning sustainable harvesting and environmental
protection within a precautionary approach.

Collection of basic data on catches, fishing effort and prices provides the primary data for a wide variety of statistical applications. In addition, more detailed data extracted from regularly conducted sample-based fishery surveys–notably those relating to fishing vessels, gear and operations; socioeconomic data, etc–are an important source of fishery information with a broad scope and utility.

To help meet national needs for basic fishery data, FAO has been assisting countries in upgrading their data collection, processing and reporting capabilities. Technical assistance at the national and regional level is a significant component of the FAO technical units’ work programme, which
is responsible for the statistical development of fisheries and involves both normative and field programme activities.

FAO developed and made ARTFISH available to users in 1993. ARTFISH stands for Approaches, Rules and Techniques for Fisheries statistical monitoring. It has been developed as a standardized tool adaptable to most fisheries in developing countries. Its design was driven by the need to offer users robust, user-friendly and error-free approaches with computer software, and achieve the implementation of cost-effective statistical systems for fisheries with minimal external assistance. A major step in fisheries data collection systems was the development of the “Strategy for improving information on status and trends of capture fisheries” (the Strategy). This Strategy was adopted by
consensus at the Twenty-fifth Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) and endorsed by the One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Session of the FAO Council and by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2003. The Strategy provides a practical framework for the improvement of knowledge, as well as an understanding of fishery status and trends.

During the implementation of a number of activities to support this strategy, it was recognized that a new, user-friendly version of ARTFISH was needed. With the support of FAO, tailor-made OPEN ARTFISH systems were developed in a number of African countries over the period 2011–2015. Furthermore, in 2015–2016 FAO successfully tested a mobile phone application for fisheries data
collection and its inclusion in OPEN ARTFISH.

With this manual and accompanying software, FAO provides the generic version of OPEN ARTFISH and the FAO ODK mobile phone application.