Need for validating information

Whatever methods are used, the quantity and quality of the data collected will have a direct influence on the quality of the management which can be exercised, and so the most effective use must be made of personnel and facilities available for data collection.(ii) The verification or validation of data is essential to ensure that it is accurate, complete and gives a true indication of the state or value of the factors under consideration.

The problems associated with the collection of fisheries data mean that the risks of collecting erroneous or inappropriate data are very high without careful and statistically valid design and monitoring of sampling approaches.(iii) Different types of data will need to be verified in different ways.

Regular and frequent, typically annual, assessments of fisheries and resources, and a review of appropriate management options in response to changes are essential, and these can only be effective if they incorporate reliable and up-to-date data and information.

With due regard for confidentiality requirements (see Section 2.1.5), management authorities should participate in and encourage sharing of information and data amongst different agencies and interest groups with genuine needs for these (7.4.6; 7.4.7).(ii) Collection of appropriate and high quality data can be complex and costly but, in view of the above, fisheries management authorities must ensure, through the provision of adequate support, that the necessary data collection and analysis systems exist and function effectively.(iii) Particularly where distances between sampling points are great as, for example, with highly migratory or straddling stocks, the potential role of data transmission by radio, fax, Email and satellites or transponders installed on commercial fishing vessels should be considered.(i) It is usually important to the fishing industry and to individual fishers to know that aspects of the information which they supply to fisheries management authorities are kept confidential, in particular that information or those data which could be used by their commercial competitors to gain an advantage.

Therefore, fisheries management authorities need to advise policy-makers on the potential implications for other fisheries of any changes in policy for a given fishery (7.2.3).(iii) Fish stocks depend on their environment, and the nature of this dependence may differ for different life-stages. FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. Hence information is required on the main factors contributing to the broader economy, the main factors driving or hindering development within this broader economy and the influences or potential influences of any development on the fisheries sector.(iv) Social, economic and even institutional characteristics are as dynamic as biological features and tend to change with time. These provide comprehensive information on the requirements for monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing operations, with particular emphasis on larger vessels.(ii) In setting fisheries policy, the previous records of success and failure in monitoring, control and surveillance in the fisheries of the region, State or local area are important in evaluating the likelihood of success of the approaches proposed in any new policy.(iii) The costs of monitoring, control and surveillance to a fisheries management authority can be substantial and need to be considered in setting policy.

National policy decisions which have implications for the environment of stocks important to fisheries, even if the decisions do not directly involve fisheries, need to be made taking cognizance of their implications for affected fisheries (7.2.3; 7.3.5; Fishing operations. It is therefore important to monitor and provide information on trends in these factors, including on issues such as demographic changes, movements of people, trends in the markets and issues related to costs in order to assist in the development of policies which will not rapidly become obsolete.(v) Fisheries are frequently marked by conflicts between different sectors or within sectors, and an important role of policy is frequently to determine a fisheries environment in which conflict or the potential for conflict is minimized. In some cases, the value of the fishery to the users or society may not be sufficient to justify the costs of a proposed monitoring, control and surveillance system and cheaper alternatives may need to be developed.

Therefore, there must be a clear understanding of the position and status of fishing in the national economic and social interest.(ii) Fisheries usually generate benefits in terms of economic return, employment and food production and in terms of recreational opportunities.

Failure to do this could result in policies which lead to unrealistic social or economic expectations and hence encourage over-exploitation.(ii) There is frequently interaction between fisheries for different resources in an area, and, as mentioned in 1.3.1, fishery activities on one stock or biological community may impact others. FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. Policy should endeavour to minimize negative interactions which could lead to conflict or to poor performance by one or more fishery.(iii) Policy should take cognizance of the impact of fishing operations on the environment and hence encourage practices which are sustainable and do not result in avoidable damage (7.2.2f) and g); 7.6.9, and Fishing operations. Collection and analysis of data on relevant social, economic and institutional factors is therefore essential for responsible fisheries management (7.4.5).(ii) At the level of policy, the decision-makers should have information on the following:, the interest groups, their features and their interests in the fishery; (iii) The economic role and performance of fisheries is influenced by the whole regional, national or local economy, and information on these influences is required for wise and responsible policy development.

Some examples of methods to validate data include: (iv) Adequate training and supervision of staff involved in monitoring are essential if the data collected are to be valid.

Staff involved in data collection are frequently relatively junior in organizational hierarchies.

Again, this could lead to difficulties obtaining data or to falsified or incomplete data.(i) The collection, collation and dissemination of data should be carried out in the most cost-effective manner possible so as to minimize costs while acquiring the required information.

Collection and analysis systems should be based on appropriate statistical designs to ensure that sufficient but only necessary data are collected.(ii) Duplication in data collection and analysis should be avoided unless deliberately intended for validation purposes or for other reasons related to maintaining quality.

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In view of this, fisheries management authorities must implement policies and strategies which ensure confidentiality of data falling into this category.

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