FAQ

Do people in developing countries work with EDF scientists/staff to enter the data?

FISHE is a participatory process that is initiated and run by local organizations to support the goals for priority fisheries. The process depends on the expertise of fishermen, local experts, and local managers. In Belize, for example, Belizean scientists and managers worked directly with EDF scientists to analyze data and interpret the results of data limited assessments.

How do you approach fishing communities about using the FISHE tool and are they open to it?

We often do a presentation about the importance of management – period – and on how basing management on science can improve fishery outcomes, like jobs, profits, and food. Many fishermen already understand the importance of collecting data because that’s how they find fish – by noticing changes in the weather, sea state, water temperature etc. that they know affect the distribution and abundance of fish. In other words, they are used to the notion of using data to find fish, so it’s a small leap to the notion of using data to manage fish. So far we have observed a great deal of open-ness and eagerness to use FISHE.

How do you determine the accuracy of an assessment?

Using stakeholder-defined goals as a foundation, fishery performance indicators are chosen that can be evaluated easily using available data. Multiple performance indicators from multiple data streams are used to gain a more complete understanding of the fishery and to reduce the implications of uncertainty; corroboration between indicators can allow for a confident interpretation of fishery performance.

Real time monitoring of the performance of the fishery in response to management measures provides additional confidence in the accuracy of an assessment. There are many ways to measure the accuracy of an assessment – e.g., simulation testing, comparing it to other assessments, etc. But the best way is to see how the fishery performs: if the assessment says that the stock is depleted and managers act on that information by reducing harvest rates, does the stock recover? In addition, we recommend the use of multiple independent data streams and multiple assessment methods to gain a more complete understanding of the fishery and to reduce the implications of uncertainty; corroboration among results can allow for a confident interpretation of fishery performance.

What do I do if my fishery has NO data?

See drop down on Get Started page

Does data collection using fishing vessels (e.g. trawlers) during closed seasons constitute “Fisheries-Independent Data”?

Monitoring the catch via sampling independent of the fishery with various fishing gears is another form of fishery independent data collection and widely used. Information gathered this way can fit into many of the methods that use fishery dependent and independent data. The appropriate method would depend on the question at hand.

Many of the examples used reference coral reef fisheries. Can FISHE be applied in other environments, for example muddy bottom or rocky reef fisheries?

While some of the methods included in FISHE have been developed with coral reef fisheries in mind, most are meant to be adaptable and applicable to fisheries in any type of system. Data collected through the methods discussed (fishery dependent and independent) will be equally applicable to these methods.

Any plans to make the tools available as an online service where we can submit data to them from our own database and get the results back electronically?

The intent of FISHE is to provide both a repository of information and a fully interactive website where users can input their own data and store their results for future reference.

Will FISHE be translated into Spanish or any other languages?

We are working to translate the various methods that we’ve created in-house into Spanish, and all methods will be updated with versions in other languages as they become available. We are also aiming to translate the website interface into Spanish as soon as we can.

Have you identified which tools best complement each other?

The six-steps of the FISHE framework are design to complete increase knowledge and certainty on the health of the fishery.

When we know nothing about a reef-based tropical small scale fishery but assume that target species are heavily overfished, what is our level of confidence that biomass actually picks up in the next, say 5 years if you “do the right thing”?Is it possible that a stock is so hammered that it won’t recover at all in the near future?

This question partly relates to the problem of raising expectations with communities.

It can take time for a fishery to recover, even minimal to no-fishing conditions. In many instances, the length of recovery time will depend on the level of depletion and the biological of the targeted stocks. For example, is the target a slow growing species? If so, that might prolong the recovery period, especially if recruitment is limited.

When both reserve and the outside of reserve is highly overfished, ratio will be 1 but ecosystem not healthy. How do you solve this problem when you don’t know how far your reserve is “away” from virgin biomass?

Use of no-take reserves as an assessment method assumes that a fully-functioning and well-enforced no-take reserves has been sited appropriately with representative habitat inside and outside of the no-take reserves, and has been in place long enough for the population living inside the no-take reserves to be a proxy for an un-fished population.

Do marine reserves also serve to replenish exploited stocks thus adding to the resiliency of those stocks? Is that accounted for in FISHE?

Several of the methods recommended in FISHE use well placed, designed and managed no-take reserves as a tool in the assessment process. Data from no-take reserves and can be very helpful to understand the current status of the exploited stock and potential for recovery.

Can the tool be used for non-fish marine resources such as queen conch?

Many of the methods identified within FISHE support assessment of fished targets that are not fish. It is always recommended to either have knowledge or work with local experts that know the biology of a targeted species, this information is useful for identifying which methods might be most appropriate for the species of interest.