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MIROSAWA MARCINIAK

ZUT SZCZECIN
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY APPLICATION IN FISHERIES
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Summary
Integrated information technologies making use of relation databases (catch
registration, fishing vessel register and licensing systems) together with
satellite-based vessel monitoring system data to provide real-time fisheries
monitoring and control systems. In Poland is implemented the Sea Fisheries
Information System, which applied this approach based on GIS technology
and relation database system (Oracle). Additionally, polish fisheries
administration and research institute used system NPZDRpl to store and
process an economic data received from the owners ships questionnaires.
However, it is necessary to include an electronic logbook system in the
current information management system.
Keywords: information technology, fisheries management system, fisheries information
system, vessel monitoring system
1. Introduction
A fishery system is a part of broader natural and human systems and is affected by the
global environment, economy, and society within which it exists. Fishery systems have
evolved in an unpredictable manner, changing natural productivity and species
composition, fishing technologies and strategies, markets, and products. Fish stocks and
fishery economies have sometimes collapsed despite dedicated attention. As arenas for
economic and social development, they remain difficult to understand, forecast, control,
and optimize [4]. Fisheries management is really a multidisciplinary task involving biology,
ecology, economics, sociology, anthropology and political science. Biology and ecology
are needed to understand the processes that determine fish availability and its response to
harvesting and other human activities. Economics is needed to convert fish availability into
potential for human gain and to design ways to realize this potential. Sociology and
anthropology offer help in understanding the social relationships pertaining to institutional
change and facilitate the assessment of social values that are not adequately represented by
market prices. Finally, political science throws light on the power structures related to the
fisheries management regime and its modification[1]. Many aspects of the application of
the above sciences to fisheries management are technically demanding. It generally requires
good quality data for extensive biological, economic and social modeling. The collecting a
large set of information from many heterogeneous sources is difficult, but with support a
information technology is possible to do.
The purpose of this paper is, by means of a case study of the information management
system used in Poland by fisheries government, to describe an information technology
application in fisheries management. Based on literature study, there are described selected
issues concerned with construction of fisheries system and computer applications support

Mirosawa Marciniak
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY APPLICATION IN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
SYSTEM

its information systems. Particularly is discussed the process of data registration direct
related with fishing activity vessels including satellite-based vessel monitoring system.
2. The selected problems of fisheries management
The fisheries problem derives fundamentally from inappropriate social institutions
controlling the fishing activity, the foremost of which is the common property arrangement.
Fisheries management consists of replacing these institutions with more appropriate ones.
Which institutions are most appropriate depends on the social objectives of the fisheries.
There are strong economic arguments for the view that there should be only a single
objective, namely to maximize the present value of the flow of benefits from the fisheries.
In reality, different interest groups often push for several, often conflicting, objectives.
All fisheries, irrespective of whether they are explicitly managed or not, are subject to
an overall framework of social institutions. This institutional framework is known as the
fisheries management regime. Essentially, the fisheries management regime is a set of
social prescriptions and procedures that control the fishing activity. All fisheries
management regimes must logically comprise the following three basic components:
(i) The fisheries management system specifies the regulatory framework for the fishing
activity. It consists of all the rules that the fishing activity must obey such as gear
and area restrictions, fishing licenses, catch quotas etc.
(ii) The monitoring, control and surveillance system is to observe the fishing industrys
activities and to enforce its adherence to the rules of the fisheries management
system. Its secondary, but nevertheless very important, task is to collect data about
the fishery that can be used to improve both the fisheries management and judicial
systems as well as the monitoring, control and surveillance system itself.
(iii) The fisheries judicial system processes alleged violations of fisheries management
rules and issues sanctions to those deemed to have violated the rules. The FJS thus
complements the monitoring, control and surveillance activity in enforcing the
fisheries management rules.
Each one of these has to be appropriately designed and implemented.
To solve the fisheries problem, a great number of different fisheries management
systems have been suggested. Most of these, however, may be conveniently grouped into
two broad classes: biological fisheries management and economic fisheries management.
Economic fisheries management may be further divided into: direct restrictions and indirect
economic management. The difference between these two categories is that direct
restrictions impose explicit constraints on the activity of the fishermen, while indirect
management merely changes the incentives facing the fishermen. Finally, indirect
economic management may be divided into two categories: taxes and property rights
(fig.1).
Property rights based approaches to fisheries management attempt to eliminate the
common property problem by establishing private property rights over the fish stocks.
Since the source of the economic problems in fisheries is the absence of property rights,
this approach should in principle be successful in securing full economic benefits from the
fishery. Several types of property rights regimes have been employed to alleviate the
fisheries problem including: fishing licenses, sole ownership, territorial use rights in
fisheries (TURFs), individual catch quotas, community fishing rights [1].

Mirosawa Marciniak
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY APPLICATION IN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
SYSTEM

Fisheries management system

Biological fisheries
management

Economic fisheries
management

Direct

Indirect

Taxes

Property
rights

Fig.1. Classification of fisheries management systems [1] pp.745


Very important problem for fisheries government agency is management of property
rights (rights to catch sea fish). This agency decides on an overall total allowable catch
(TAC). Permitted users have shares of that quota, and they are assigned individual
allowable catches for a particular period of time [3].
3. Information systems used by polish agencies of fisheries government
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Department of Fisheries
in the ministry are the competent bodies for fisheries management in Poland. The three
Regional Inspectorates of Fisheries, located in Szczecin, Supsk and Gdynia, are
responsible for management, monitoring and surveillance of fisheries at territorial level.
The main goal of Polish fishery policy is to keep a sustainable presence of fish industry in
the national economy through improvement in its effectiveness, competitiveness and
rational exploitation of living marine resources. Since 1 May 2004, when Poland joined the
EU, its resource management policies have been harmonized with the Common Fisheries
Policy (CFP) and Poland has been represented by the European Commission in
international fisheries organizations (i.e. NEAFC1, NAFO2, CCAMLR3), through which
management and quota allocations are decided.
In Poland fisheries management system is supported by two computer systems: Sea
Fisheries Information System (SFIS) - managed by the Fisheries Department and NPZDRpl
system - managed by the Sea Fisheries Institute in Gdynia. SFIS contains information about
fishing capacity (fishing vessel register), fishing activities (catch and landing by weight,
catch compositions) and vessels trips.
SFIS is a modular system and includes following components:
(i) Fishing Vessel Register (FVR)
(ii) Quota Management System (QMS)
1

NEAFC North East Atlantic Commission


NAFO Northwest Fisheries Organization
3
CCAMLR Commission for the conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
2

Mirosawa Marciniak
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY APPLICATION IN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
SYSTEM

(iii) Vessel Monitoring System (VMS)


(iv) Report and Statistics (RS)
(v) Administration (ADM).
The integration between SFIS modules is performed with aid a shareable structure of
relation database (Oracle) and data interchange interfaces (database link) linking database
servers (VMS and SFIS). Moreover, the system can interchange information with external
systems such, that: union vessel register, union quota management system (FIDES), other
VMS and LES (land earth station in INMARSAT - satellite system). The presentation layer
is dedicated to service systems user; it empowers an access to data stored in the database
layer and useful functions defined in the application layer. However the application layer is
heterogeneous and for simplification an access to applications is realized by client server,
which serves all modules except VMS. The structure of Sea Fisheries Information System
and data flow directions are illustrated bellow (fig.2).
Database layer

VMS

LES

VMS
module

Other
VMS

Main Database SFIS

VMS
copy

ADM
module

FVR
module

QMC
module

RS
module

VMS
Application layer

VMS client
VMS

Client Server

SFIS client

Web
Server

SFIS client

Presentation layer

Fig.2. The logic structure of Sea Fisheries Information System.


For fishing vessel (above 12 m total length) all event at the sea (cruise to fishery,
fishing, return to port) are noted in a logbook catches. The document includes that
information so: weight of fish by species, used fishing gears and fishing place
(geographical coordinates according to ICES4 areas). After fish landing in port skippers are
obligated give out a landing declaration and then a sales notes. While, when logbooks from
polish fleets are not yet recorded electronically on board.
Established in 2004, the Fisheries Monitoring Centre in Gdynia (FMC) is responsible
for operating the VMS and fisheries reporting system (catch and landings reports). All
owners of fishing vessels are obliged to deliver to FMC information about fishing activity
(paper pages from logbook), sales notes and landing declarations. The documents are
4

ICES International Committee Explore Sea

Mirosawa Marciniak
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY APPLICATION IN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
SYSTEM

register into database (by used QMC) and then is involved the cross-checking process
(comparing data obtained from logbooks with VMS data vessel trip). In this way, SFIS
linked data on landings or logbook catches (in weight) with fishing effort (tonnage and
power of vessel, used fishing gears) to estimate and map rates for each target species.
The second system, NPZDRpl contains information special important for decisionmakers, which manage property rights. All owners of vessels are legally obliged to deliver
to Sea Fisheries Institute their economic statement (by questionnaire) for previous year
until March next year. The questionnaire was elaborated to investigate an economic
performance of fishing vessels. The frame of data collecting and their sources includes
table 1.
Tbl.1.
Index description

Parameter

Information source

Income

Total and by species

- Sales notes, Logbooks (SFIS)


- Fishing vessel economic statement
questionnaire (NPZDRpl)

Production costs

Crew, fuel , repair and maintenance,


other operational costs

- Fishing vessel economic statement


questionnaire (NPZDRpl)

Fixed costs

Average cost

- Fishing vessel economic statement


questionnaire (NPZDRpl)

Financial
position

Share of own / foreign capital

- Fishing vessel economic statement


questionnaire (NPZDRpl)

Investment

Value

- Fishing vessel economic statement


questionnaire (NPZDRpl)

Prices/species

Value/quantities

- Sales notes, Logbooks (SFIS)

Employment

Number

- Fishing vessel economic statement


questionnaire (NPZDRpl)

Fleet

Number , tonnage (GT), power


(KW), age vessel, used fishing gear

- Vessel register, Logbooks (SFIS)

Effort

-Vessel register (SFIS), Log-books (SFIS)

Landings by
species

- Monthly
- Stock (by ICES area)
- Market category

- Sales notes (SFIS)


- Logbooks (SFIS)

Income

- Subsidies

- Fishing vessel economic statement


questionnaire (NPZDRpl)

Prices/species

Value/quantities
- monthly
- market category

- Logbooks (SFIS)
- Sales notes (SFIS)

Employment

Skill/education

- Fishing vessel economic statement


questionnaire (NPZDRpl)

Source: own elaboration on based [6]

For vessels of length less than 10 m the estimation is made on the basis of volume of
landings and average prices obtained from questionnaires or information reported by these

Mirosawa Marciniak
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY APPLICATION IN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
SYSTEM

vessels that are obliged to submit sales notes. Price information are aggregated on a
quarterly basis.
NPZDRpl was implemented on IBM server and plugged into SFIS computer net. It uses
Windows 2003 as operating system and MS SQL Server 2000 as RDBMS. Row data are
stored in SQL Database and then transform to averages per vessel as well as aggregated for
each segment. More sophisticated calculation can do using MS Access or MS Excel. The
database will have possibility of exporting data to Excel or Access software so it will be
possible to link information from NPZDRpl with that provided by SFIS database. Second
IBM server is plugged into SFI computer net to prepare of infrastructure for web services to
exchange Polish DCR type data written to EU DG-Fisheries database (model: Codification
Standard Document, 27.10.2004). It was started the implementation of web services created
by JRC, Ispra Italy, in form adapted by Polish IT company DomData which is producer
of NPZDRpl system [7].
4. Further development of fisheries information systems
There are a number of aspects to the problem. The first is the absence of a flexible and
comprehensive system for capturing essential data during fishing operations. A large
amount of environmental data is lost simply because of the difficulty of recording this
information easily in real time. This is despite the advent of a complex array of sensory
equipment available in the bridge of modern fishing vessels. As a result, environmental
patterns become part of skippers experience, and seldom if ever become formally available
to scientists or managers of fishing operations. For scientists unreliable data leads to a poor
basis for stock assessment models and management programmes. For industry the lack of
sound data significantly reduces its fishing efficiency, since past performance cannot be
studied properly. As a result poor management decisions based on unreliable analyses are
made, often with substantial cost and risk to fish resources and the fishing industry.
Although there is presently greater awareness amongst scientists and fisheries managers
about the importance of collecting fishing data there is still confusion about exactly which
data are needed, and how to collect and store them. It is common for skippers to record
scientific data in one form, for shore managers to use another for commercial purposes, and
for skippers to keep separate fishing logbooks. These data are then transferred to different
computer systems, often complex spreadsheets, or sometimes are left in paper format in
large inaccessible books and files. There is a degradation in the quality of data because of
the multi-stage process of transcription from handwritten logbook sheets to paper forms and
then to computer databases. The most logical first point of data entry should occur in digital
format directly into a computer.
Nowadays, in some country are implemented electronic fishing books, which can be
used by skippers, managers, and scientists during fishing operations and for scientific
surveys. For example, Amos Barkai and Mike Bergh developed an electronic, fishery data
management system, named Olfish, which is a software program for capturing, storing,
summarizing, and reporting of fishing data. It It provides a comprehensive, user-friendly
means of compiling data reports. One of the most important features of this system is that it
virtually. Olfish can, virtually, transfer each vessel in the fishing fleet into a research station
able to collect vast amounts of valuable data with great accuracy and minimal effort [2].

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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY APPLICATION IN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
SYSTEM

Interesting solution has Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), which is implementing
assessing multi-channel technology innovations under an overall strategy for one-time
electronic fishing activity data capture at source (e-collection). Data collected are used to
support science, fisheries management, and compliance monitoring and observation
objectives. Innovative tools already in place or in the pilot stage include a GIS-based
National Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), electronic fishing logbooks (E-Logs) including
web-based catch reporting, an automated Observer Trip Information System (OTIS), and
telephone-based voice recognition systems for hailing out and license renewal. DFO is
piloting a Mobile Office and integrated reporting application supporting data capture and
remote access by field officers, resource managers, and scientists.
Data captured at source are stored in legacy systems in each DFO region and/or a newly
constructed and growing common repository or Operational Data Store (ODS) based on
national data standards, common language tools, and integrated access and reporting
interfaces. Specialized modular web-services tools, sharable from one data access
application to another, have been developed to access the ODS and, where necessary,
regional back-end legacy systems [8].
5. Concluding remarks
Fisheries management is continually frustrated by the lack, or poor quality, of critical
data on fish catches, sizes, fishing locations, and relevant environmental conditions. One of
the difficulties with fisheries data is the complexity of the logical linkages between the
different types of data. Any reasonable approach to the problem requires the use of modern
relational databases which are able to address the multidimensional complexity of the
problem. The best method of data entry, the fishing vessel skipper, should register
information in digital format directly into a computer. Therefore, only integrated
technologies making use of relation databases (catch registration, effort, and licensing
systems) together with real-time data from satellite-based vessel monitoring system (VMS)
to provide real-time fisheries monitoring and control systems [5].
The modular architecture of SFIS is providing a complete range of solutions for catch
reporting, vessel registration and licensing, monitoring, control and surveillance including
satellite based vessel monitoring and biological sampling. Data collected are used to
support fisheries management regime, and compliance monitoring and observation
objectives. However, it exists necessity of introduction a multi-channel electronic data
capture at source has led to improvements in the quality and timeliness of monitoring and
compliance data. Multiple data tools and integrated databases have increased the polish
fisheries government agencies capacity to develop exception- reporting applications
designed to contrast and compare fishing activity data from multiple sources in order to
identify potential occurrences or violations
6.

Literature

1.

Arnason R. Fisheries management and operations research. European Journal of


Operational Research 193 (2009): 741751.
Barkai A., Bergh M.: OLFISH: Commercial electronic fishery management system .
in: Technologies for monitoring fishing activities and observing catch, ICES, 2007.
McCay B. ITQs and Community: An Essay on Environmental Governance.
Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 33/2 (October 2004): 162-170.

2.
3.

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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY APPLICATION IN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
SYSTEM

4.
5.
6.
7.

8.

Garcia, S. M., and Charles, A. T. Fishery systems and linkages: from clockworks to
soft watches. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64 (2007): 580587.
OShe B., Thopmson S. The innovative application of vessel monitoring systems for
effective fisheries monitoring control and surveillance, ICES CM 2006/N:11, 2007.
Polish National Programme for collection of fisheries data for 2006, Sea Fisheries
Institute and Department of Fisheries Ministry of Agriculture And Rural
Development, Gdynia 2005.
Polish National Programme for collection of fisheries data for 2007, Sea Fisheries
Institute and Department of Fisheries Ministry of Agriculture And Rural
Development, Gdynia 2006.
Tremblay D., Sullivan G.: Technologies for monitoring fishing activities and
observing catch in Canada. Technologies for monitoring fishing activities and
observing catch, ICES CM: 2006/N: 4. pp.231.

MIROSAWA MARCINIAK
e-mail: miroslawa.marciniak@zut.edu.pl
Zachodniopomorski Uniwersytet Technologiczny w Szczecinie
Wydzia Ekonomiczny
Zakad Analizy Systemowej
Janickiego 31, 71-270 Szczecin, Poland