Fisheries Information System Program
The Fisheries Information System program is a state-regional-federal partnership supporting sound, science-based fisheries management. We do so by fostering collaboration and funding innovative projects to improve the quality of fisheries-dependent data.
Bristol Bay Tender Vessel
An integral part of FIS is our Professional Specialty Groups—cross-disciplinary teams that focus on specific fishery-dependent data challenges. These groups foster communications across regions to develop innovative solutions, reduce duplication of efforts, and enhance efficiency. Currently, our four PSGs are addressing issues related to electronic technologies, Pacific highly migratory species, software coding, design, and development, and quality management and continuous improvement.
Funding Innovative Projects
Our annual competitive request for proposals process supports initiatives that improve the quality and effectiveness of collecting, reporting, and managing fisheries-dependent data. Through coordinated funding of regional priorities, FIS promotes the sharing of intellectual and financial resources, while helping to reduce redundancy. Since 2013, we have supported more than 260 projects across all regions in the areas of:
- Electronic reporting development and implementation
- Electronic monitoring development and implementation
- Data improvements, modernization, and integration
- Fisheries Information Network development
- Quality management and continuous improvement
FIS projects are funded in partnership with the National Observer Program's Electronic Technologies program and the National Catch Share Program. Our request for proposal guidance document provides detailed information about the proposal submission and selection process, and our NOAA Library seminar presentation includes tips for preparing a strong proposal.
Supporting the Project Life Cycle
FIS funding and engagement yield positive impacts throughout each step in the project life cycle—beginning with evaluation, then moving through research and development, testing, pre-implementation, implementation, and back to re-evaluation—ensuring successful outcomes
Meeting Regional Priorities
FIS priorities are set by a Program Management Team whose members represent a broad cross-section of state, regional, and federal partners. This shared governance structure ensures FIS is meeting inherently regional fisheries-dependent data needs while sharing best practices and lessons learned across geographic boundaries and professional disciplines.
FIS Case Studies
Trip ticket reporting has been mandated by the state of Florida for commercial fishers since 1984. For nearly two decades, most dealers recorded and submitted data to state and federal fisheries management agencies through paper reports. Then, in 2003, Florida introduced software to enable electronic reporting via desktop computer. Today, a new web-based application, VESL, allows operators to use a mobile device or tablet. They can scan a barcode that captures a fisher’s commercial license and vessel identification numbers, and it auto-generates fields to fill in additional information required for post-trip reporting.
Historically, observers have collected data on paper forms for manual processing, but many programs are moving the entire data collection process to a paperless system. This improves cost and timing efficiencies while reducing potential errors in the data itself. Our Northwest Fisheries Science Center has put a new paperless system to the test, and the lessons learned can inform other projects across the country.
Fisheries monitoring and reporting programs have historically relied upon independent fishery observers, real-time vessel position reporting with vessel monitoring systems, fish landings reports, and self-reported vessel paper logbooks for most fishery-dependent data collection. Constraining budgets and increasing demands for data are driving the need to evaluate and improve cost-effectiveness and economies of scale. In the Pacific Islands, FIS has supported a recent study of electronic monitoring involving Hawaii shallow-set and deep-set longline fisheries, which shows promising results for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of data collection.
The region-wide stock assessment process coordinated by NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center brings together an enormous amount of data from a wide range of stakeholders. As part of an overall goal to increase the number of stock assessments and the quality of scientific advice, the data and assessments team at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center worked with the Quality Management and Continuous Improvement Professional Specialty Group to conduct a Value Stream Mapping workshop with team members and data customers to identify pain points and prioritize solutions.
NOAA is one of the agencies charged with managing the $8.1 billion settlement to restore the ecological impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. When the team leading Deepwater Horizon restoration efforts out of NOAA Fisheries decided to develop a program-level strategic plan, they turned to the Fisheries Information System Program’s Quality Management and Continuous Improvement Professional Specialty Group.