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Fishery Statistics
Introduction of distant water fisheries statistics system

Fisheries statistics are not only a science of numbers but also historical records of fisheries development. The patterns of fishing activities could be revealed through long term data collection and systematic analysis. Since July 1996, this Council has been commissioned by the Government of Taiwan to conduct distant water fisheries statistics program, and the major works of this program include:

1.Estimation of total catch amount of distant water fisheries

The total catch amount is the most important figure in the fishery history, and is also the vital information for the Government to manage fisheries and assist the development of fishing industries. The estimation of total catch amount is the fundamental work for fisheries statistics. At present, the statisticians of this Council compile various fisheries data and verify those data through cross-checking with other data and/or information, such as logbooks, statistical documents, and catch trade records from fishing vessels, trading agents, or fish markets, so as to estimate the annual catch amount of distant water tuna longline fishery, tuna purse seine fishery, squid jigging fishery and saury fishery respectively.

2.Compilation of data related to fishing operations

In the past, captains of distant water tuna longliners, tuna purse seiners, squid jigging vessels and saury fishing vessels must fill in the paper logbooks, and deliver to the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan for forwarding to this Council for data entry, verification and archiving, for the purpose of statistics analysis.

In recent years, this Council has completed the development of real-time catch reporting system, i.e. the electronic logbook (e-logbook) system, whereby distant water fishing fleets can immediately send data related to fishing operations to this Council through satellites. The e-logbook system was initially applied to the longliners targeting bigeye tuna in the Atlantic Ocean, squid jigging vessels and saury fishing vessels. Then, starting from the end of 2015, all distant water large scale tuna longliners have transmitted catch-related data through such system. The distant water small scale tuna longliners on the other hand started the trial in 2015, and have reported through the e-logbook system since June 2016. As for tuna purse seiners, the iFMIS (integrated Fisheries Information Management System) was trialed in 2014, through which the data are transmitted by satellite internet to be stored in the cloud database. The tuna purse seine fleet nowadays has deployed the iFIMS to report catch data. Hence, this Council combines those data collected from the e-logbook system as well as the iFIMS and enhances its data processing procedures so that all data related to fishing operations could be compiled in the short time and be provided to the fisheries authority for reference.

3.Creating databases by each distant water fishery

The vast amount of fisheries statistic data includes logbook data, trading data and biological data. Detailed and accurate fisheries data not only can reflect the temporal and spatial distribution of fishing activities, but also is the vital information for stock assessment. Therefore, another major task of this Council is to create comprehensive databases by fisheries. On this account, statistics databases of distant water tuna longline fishery, tuna purse seine fishery, squid jigging fishery, and saury fishery have been set up by this Council.

4.Experience exchanges with foreign research institutes and data provision to RFMOs

In order to strengthen the capacity on data processing, this Council has dispatched its statistician to relevant international fisheries organizations for further training, in the hope of learning the data compilation system, data processing procedures, and data management principles of regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs). The precious experience learned greatly assisted this Council in establishing the processing system of fisheries statistic data. In addition, the statisticians of this Council also collaborate with RFMOs for the detailed analysis of data from distant water tuna longline fishery. Such collaboration benefits the data-processing capacity of staff of this Council as well.

To fulfill the obligations of providing fisheries statistic data to RFMOs, this Council has annually provided fisheries data in accordance with the requirements of each RFMOs, and the statisticians of this Council also attend scientific meetings of RFMOs to explain the status quo of Taiwan’s distant water fisheries and the data collection, with the aim of ensuring the rights and benefits of Taiwan’s distant water fisheries.