DATA COLLECTION FOR FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
The BHSFU has the responsibility under the High Seas Fisheries Act, 2013 for implementing efficient, cost effective, sustainable fisheries management. The BHSFU utilizes data it collects to monitor and manage the impact of fishing to achieve its legislative objectives.
Data collected is primarily used in the analysis and assessment of the status of harvesting of fishery stocks, both target and by-catch in accordance with relevant RFMO and national legislative requirements. Information from stock assessments is used to make management decisions. Data collected is also sent to relevant Regional Fisheries Management Organization to assess and monitor our performance in managing fisheries.
Belize’s main data collection programs conducted by the BHSFU include:
- Catch and Effort Logbooks
Our logbook program is one of the most important tools for fisheries managers and researchers to ensure accuracy and quality of data. Logbook data is used to assess fish stocks and set sustainable catch limits. Data received by logbook are evaluated and compared to other data to ensure accuracy and is also used to identify fishing trends and to determine whether management changes are necessary.
The logbook provides for the recording of information on the location, time, gear and method of fishing, as well as the catch of each operation. Completed log books are returned to the BHSFU where the information is entered into a central database for further evaluation.
Belize is currently working on replacing the paper logbooks with an electronic catch reporting system.
WHAT IS THE CATCH AND EFFORT DATA USED FOR?
Logbook data is mainly used in the stock assessment process to determine the level of management of the fisheries in which our vessels engage. Our international obligations also require these data to be provided to Regional Fisheries Management bodies for stock assessment purposes as well.
Belize has recently implemented its electronic catch reporting system which has been integrated into the vessel monitoring system.
Electronic monitoring integrates digital video, electronic services and programmable loggers to create powerful data collection tools for the provision of near real time information.
Electronic reporting can provide autonomous, dependable, tested and accurate data on catch and effort activities. If utilized properly it can be used to validate, supplement or replace other catch reporting measures such as the logbooks and ‘at sea observers’.
The observer program is also used to collect data on the vessel’s activities at sea and its interaction with other non-harvested species.
The inspection program is used to collect landing data which is analysed and compared to data received through other data collection programs. The inspection program also assists in ensuring compliance with relevant RFMO and domestic requirements.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS REQUIREMENT MAY BE OBTAINED BY CONTACTING THE OFFICE OF THE BHSFU.
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