We have extended abstract submissions ONLY for poster presentations until 15th of April. 

IFOMC Theme Sessions

Monitoring Fisheries

1. Why monitor fisheries and what to monitor – Lead: Prof Steve Kennelly

This session will explore the underlying reasons and requirements for monitoring fisheries.  It will examine the historical, legal and stewardship-related issues that have led society, governments, NGOs, eco-labels, etc. to require fisheries to be monitored. It will examine the many (and increasing) types of information needed from monitoring programs – for scientific, compliance and management purposes, to monitor bycatches of general discards and charismatic species, to monitor human rights abuses, pollution, seafood traceability, eco-certification, etc.

2. Industry engagement with monitoring – Lead: Lisa Borges

While fisheries monitoring programs can lead to tensions between regulators and industry, there are a number of examples where industry has become actively engaged in monitoring, leading to results that are better than those obtained when either group operates in isolation. This session will explore these collaborations to identify their essential elements, benefits and weaknesses. Contributions from industry participants are preferred.

3. Monitoring artisanal fisheries – Lead: Luis Cocas

Small scale artisanal fisheries occur throughout the world, ranging from one-man canoes in developing countries to greater than 20-m vessels in developed countries. They typically include a large number of boats and a diversity of fishing systems and gears, operating over wide geographical areas, making it difficult to monitor them for scientific and enforcement purposes. This session will focus on exploring these challenges, providing an opportunity to discuss successful experiences and different approaches used.  We will examine methodological aspects, innovative solutions, the use of alternative sources of information, along with human, social and economic aspects that need to be considered when working in these fisheries.

4. New approaches to analysing monitoring data – Lead: Elizabeth Scott-Denton

As knowledge and technology increases, we have adopted new tools and strategies to analyze data from observer and Electronic Monitoring programs. Moreover, other data sources including, but not limited to, environmental, biological and socio-economic data have recently been integrated into observer and EM assessments. These new strategies have reduced bias and uncertainty and have led to better bycatch estimates, bycatch reduction technologies, more robust single and multi-species stock assessments, and holistic ecosystem and probabilistic modelling approaches. In this session, we will explore how these new and innovative approaches to analyze data from fishery observer programs and EM are used in making management decisions.

Monitoring Programs

5. Assessing bias from monitoring programs – Lead: Jorgen Dalskov

Many countries run at-sea monitoring programs where monitoring takes place on board commercial fishing vessels but only covers a subset of the fleet. The monitored vessels should be representative of comparable fleet segments, but this is not always the case – especially in fisheries where the act of discarding is illegal. This session will focus on monitoring bias in at-sea monitoring programs and assess whether potential biases can be reduced or eliminated

6. Harmonizing and standardizing monitoring programs – Lead: Elizabeth Chilton

The harmonization and standardization of at-sea monitoring programs are key for maximizing data quality, particularly if the data from these programs are shared and pooled between countries, regions, and stocks. Examples of this are the disparate at-sea monitoring programs in the U.S. and EU and their common data uses. These co-ordinated approaches reflect the diverse needs of regional/national observer and technology based programs while achieving consistency in key areas of importance, such as funding, safety, health, and data quality. This session will review and identify the best practices adopted in national and regional programs and explore various approaches for coordinating monitoring programs.

Observer Programs

7. Briefing and debriefing observers – Lead: Jennifer Mondragon

Many, if not most, observer programs employ some means of communicating with observers while deployed on vessels in order to provide support and ensure proper sampling and data collection techniques are being followed. Subsequent to deployment, most observer programs require a formal, face-to-face debriefing with the observer to validate and ensure data quality standards were met. Both processes are extremely important in providing support, feedback, and ultimately improving the quality of data being collected by observers at sea. Formal debriefing and data quality monitoring processes occur in many observer programs and this session will examine examples of best practices for both approaches.

8. Observer training, safety and mental health – Lead: John La Fargue

Observers face many challenges and risks in the course of their duties. They must deal with cultural differences, stress, fatigue, isolation, unsafe vessels and sometimes even violence. Programs have the task of helping observers cope with these factors through support, training and the provision of technology/equipment. This session will explore some of the issues faced by observers and how protocols, training and technology can help reduce the risks associated with observing.

Technology-based monitoring

9. Technology used by observers – Lead: Amy Martins

Increasingly, observers rely on technological tools to improve data collection, efficiency, personal safety and other workplace issues. There are lessons to be learned from observer programs about different technology choices, in particular experiences with their integration and the benefits achieved. The focus of this session is on the operational impacts of technology, rather than specific features of the technology itself.

10. Operationalizing technology-based monitoring: learning from programs around the world – Lead: Howard McElderry

EM technology has been around for over a decade and many agencies responsible for fishery monitoring are eager to learn from the experiences of those who have fully operational EM programs. Issues such as program objectives, equipment choices, deployment and maintenance of gear, video/photographic examination, data accuracies and inaccuracies, funding models, etc. will be examined in an attempt to identify “best-practices” in establishing EM programs.

The future

11. The future of monitoring programs – Lead: Andrew France

This conference has shown us that, worldwide, there are already a number of different types of monitoring programs, designed and structured in a variety of ways. As demand increases for information and data from monitoring programs, so does the uptake of new methodologies and technology to provide electronic reporting, geospatial information and electronic monitoring. This session will identify changes that have already occurred in some programs, explore some of the types of monitoring programs that will potentially exist in the future and provide insights for new or emerging programs and the challenges that they face.