Natural and anthropogenic pressures are generating changes in the marine ecological system, and the effects of these changes on the well-being of people living in coastal areas are difficult to predict because of the lack of understanding and many uncertainties in social and ecological systems. Therefore, one of the most important tasks for marine researchers is to scientifically assist coastal communities in adapting to social and ecological changes for their sustainable livelihood and better well-being. This was the rationale for a PICES project entitled “Building capacity for coastal monitoring by local small-scale fishers" (acronym FishGIS) and funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Japan, through the Fisheries Agency of Japan (JFA), from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) Fund.
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 these essential data to advance 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 smartphones in these countries offers a potential for creating smartphone-based monitoring tools to be used by local coastal communities.
The request to undertake the project was accepted by PICES Governing Council in November 2017.
The project is expected to interact with, and support relevant activities of, PICES Scientific Committees on Human Dimensions (HD) and on Fishery Science (FIS), PICES Technical Committees on Data Exchange (TCODE) and on Monitoring (MONITOR), and PICES FUTURE Science Program (Research Theme 3 on “How do human activities affect coastal ecosystems and how are societies affected by changes in these ecosystems?”).
The project is being directed by the Project Science Team (PST) formed in December 2017 based on principles and procedures detailed in the PICES Policy for approval and management of special projects (Decision 2017/A/7). All PICES member countries and all the above mentioned Committees are represented on the PST (see membership below), co-chaired by Drs. Mitsutaku Makino and Mark Wells. The PST Co-Chairmen are 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 HD Committee.
The Project Coordinator, Dr. Alexander Bychkov, is responsible for the management of the fund and annual reporting on its disposition to MAFF/JFA and to PICES Finance and Administration Committee.
Annual reports to MAFF/JFA should be submitted within 90 days after the close of each project year ending March 31. Within PICES, Science Board takes the responsibility for reporting to Governing Council on the progress and achievements of the project, and the Finance and Administration Committee takes the responsibility for reporting to Governing Council on the financial and management aspects of the project.
Funding for Year 1 (FY 2017, ending March 31, 2018) was set at $96,385 CAD, and this amount was transferred to PICES in December 2017.
Funding for Year 2 (FY 2018, ending March 31, 2019) was set at $96,383 CAD, and this amount was transferred to PICES in July 2018.
Funding for Year 3 (FY 2019, ending March 31, 2020) was set at $96,383 CAD, and this amount was transferred to PICES in July 2019.
The overall goal of the project is to enhance the capacity of local small-scale fishers in Pacific Rim developing countries to monitor their local coastal ecosystems and coastal fisheries.
Indonesia was chosen as a developing Pacific Rim country to implement the project. The importance of having more effective fisheries management practices is widely recognized in Indonesia. This has led to support by the Indonesian government and the willingness of local communities and stakeholders to consider new approaches, such as development and implementation of a citizen (fisher)-based observation system, linked with fisheries scientists and managers.
The project key questions are:
Winter 2021, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 16–20
Smartphone -based tools to enhance fishery sustainability for coastal communities in developing nations: The PICES–Japan MAFF FishGIS project
Summer 2019, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 16–21
The PICES–MAFF-sponsored Project on “Building capacity for coastal monitoring by local small-scale fishers” (FishGIS): Incorporating community-based research principles
Winter 2019, Vol. 27, No.1, pp. 16-18
The PICES MAFF-sponsored Project on "Building capacity for coastal monitoring by local small-scale fishers" (FishGIS): Mobile phone-based monitoring technology and training workshop
Summer 2018, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 20-24
A new PICES/MAFF-sponsored project: Building capacity for coastal monitoring by small-scale fishers