Volume 71

A SMARTer Approach to Collection of Catch Data for Conservation and Sustainability

Alexander Tewfik;Julio Maaz;Victor Alamina;Jon Ramnarace
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Date: November, 2018

Pages: 194-196

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: San Andres Island

Country: Colombia


Small-scale fisheries based around tropical reef ecosystems are critical to local livelihoods, food security and export earnings in many developing nations. However, the activities of small-scale fisheries are notoriously difficult to assess given the existence of numerous landing sites, the dynamic multi-species and multi-gear nature of extractions and the limited funding and personnel available to local resource managers. The recognition of these realities by governments and conservation organizations mandates improving data collection systems for successful biodiversity protection, sustainable fisheries and poverty alleviation. Specifically, there is a clear need for simple and effective electronic systems to record catch at specific sites and transferring these data to a centralized repository for near real-time monitoring and subsequent analyses. We examined the use of a customizable SMART (Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool) based software on Android tablets that provided trained citizen technicians with simple, menu- driven fields to collect detailed fisheries data (species, size, gear, area). This ongoing evaluation, initiated in February 2017, has provided a clearer understanding of the nature and availability of fisheries products (fish and invertebrates) to households and local businesses within many of the largest coastal communities in Belize. Such a data collection system could be transferable to the national management authority, integrated into existing enforcement patrols and replace fleet-wide hard-copy logbooks for the formulation of future taxa, gear, temporal and spatial specific management actions.

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