The Net Gains Alliance (NGA) has announced that it is providing funding for at least eight new projects that will, collectively, further spur the modernization of America’s fisheries information system, an effort viewed as critical by industry and fisheries managers alike for further improving overall management and enhancing environmental, social and economic performance. These are in addition to three projects funded in 2019.
“Since our launch last year we have begun investing in multiple data modernization projects across the U.S. that demonstrate the many benefits gained from a modernized, interoperable data backbone,” explained George Chmael II, CEO of Council Fire, the business management and sustainability consultancy directing NGA activity and funding. “Typically, these are projects that span regions or fisheries, build capacity and data literacy, meet a core need identified by fisheries managers or scientists, take pilots to scale, and inform national guidance or actions that smooth paths for broader advancement.”
The new projects cover a wide array of data modernization efforts and span regions from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Caribbean, and New England. They include:
- Supporting the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Association to explore a community-centered data management approach in the New England Groundfish Fishery, and develop a pathway for incorporating electronic monitoring data into stock assessments.
- Supporting the Center for Fisheries Electronic Monitoring at the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium to map data pathways and build linkages for utilizing electronic and human observer data in the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Fishery.
- Developing a community data sharing platform in the Western Gulf of Alaska with the Aleutians East Borough, the Peninsula Fishermen’s Coalition, Chordata LLC, and Saltwater Inc.
- Enabling CEA Consulting and a steering committee of Archipelago Marine Research, Teem Fish Monitoring, and Integrated Monitoring to create a dialogue among EM service providers around opportunities to advance interoperability, achieve alignment on standards, and develop educational materials supporting effective and affordable EM implementation in the U.S.
- Developing resources to help data modernization partners, including NOAA Fisheries, apply data visioning tools and principles that meet their needs.
- Partnering with Hemmings House Pictures to produce a data modernization film showcasing successes and the continuing need and opportunity for enhancing fisheries information systems.
- Collaborating with Working Ocean Strategies to research and recommend a model regulatory framework to support fisheries technology and innovation.
- Supporting Conservacion ConCiencia in the U.S. Caribbean to implement and catalyze the adoption of EM on small vessels that were not previously considered for advanced technology due to high costs and a lack of appropriate monitoring systems.
“Incorporating unbiased electronic monitoring data streams into stock assessments, providing fishermen with timely and simple access to their own data, and streamlining the process for scientists to access fishery data sets is critical to more effective fisheries management,” said Melissa Sanderson, Chief Operating Officer, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Association. “We hope the project results will not only help provide the best available science to decision-makers but empower fishermen to invest in and leverage the important data they collect at sea.”
A more complete description of each project can be found on the Net Gains Alliance website.