PICES member countries have significant resources for monitoring environmental conditions and fisheries in coastal waters, while developing nations are far more limited in their capacity for collecting data needed to improve their management practices. Citizen-based monitoring is an approach designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of monitoring efforts when technical and financial resources are not sufficient. There are successful examples of citizen-based monitoring in developed countries, however this approach has not been widely applied yet to the collection of environmental and fisheries data in developing nations.
The extensive use of smart phones in developing countries offers a creative potential for implementing two major project initiatives through a mobile-phone-based GIS monitoring system used by local fishers that could help: (1) to inform fisheries managers on the near real-time spatial catch data and fishing intensity and (2) to monitor useful water quality parameters.
At PICES-2017 (Vladivostok, Russia), Governing Council accepted a request from the Government of Japan to undertake a project entitled “Building capacity for coastal monitoring by local small-scale fishers”, to be funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Japan, through the Fisheries Agency of Japan (JFA). The maximum project lifetime is 3 years: from the starting date of the project in 2017 to March 31, 2020. Funding for Year 1, with ending March 31, 2018, is set at $96,385. The MAFF contribution is from the Official Development Assistance Fund and therefore, involvement of developing countries in project activities is required.
The project will be directed by a Project Science Team (PST) co-chaired by Drs. Mitsutaku Makino (Fisheries Research and Education Agency, Japan) and Mark Wells (University of Maine, USA). The PST is responsible for the detailed planning and execution of the project, and annual reporting on scientific progress to MAFF/JFA and to PICES Science Board through the Human Dimension Committee. The report to MAFF/JFA should be submitted within 90 days after the close of each project year ending March 31, and include a summary of the activities carried out in the year, with an evaluation on the progress made, and a workplan for the following year. Within PICES, Science Board takes the responsibility for reporting to Governing Council on the progress and achievements of the project.
The PICES Executive Secretary, or a person designated by the Executive Secretary, is responsible for the management of the fund and annual reporting on its disposition to MAFF/JFA and PICES Finance and Administration Committee. The report to MAFF/JFA should be submitted within 90 days after the close of each project year ending March 31. Within PICES, the Finance and Administration Committee takes the responsibility for reporting to Governing Council on the financial and management aspects of the project.
The project is expected to interact with, and support relevant activities of PICES Scientific Committees on Human Dimension (HD) and Fishery Science (FIS), PICES Technical Committee on Monitoring (MONITOR), and PICES FUTURE (Forecasting and Understanding Trends, Uncertainty and Responses of North Pacific Ecosystems) Program (specifically, Research Theme 3 on “How do human activities affect coastal ecosystems and how are societies affected by changes in these ecosystems?”). All these groups are represented on PST.
The project goal is to enhance the capacity of local small-scale fishers to monitor coastal ecosystems and coastal fisheries in Pacific Rim developing countries.
The project key questions are: