The purpose of this project was to examine the feasibility of developing a generic (generally applicable) Fisheries Information Management System (FIMS) or database to improve the comanagement and appropriate development of artisanal fisheries. Generic information requirements to support the main co-management roles of fisheries departments were identified from literature reviews and case studies of fisheries in Bangladesh and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Generic inputs (fields) to support these requirements were identified from common data fields found in survey forms and databases. Generic FIMS software to support the co-management roles and corresponding data and information requirements was developed using relational database and systems engineering theory. The system, designed to run under Microsoft ACCESS97, comprises a set of linked reference and survey tables, data entry forms, and predefined SQL queries. The system can store and process of a wide range of data and information collected using common methodologies. All the data and information contained within the database can be stratified by more than 5 criteria, spatially referenced, grouped by 40 attributes and either plotted in a variety of formats or exported in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format. A user manual has been produced to accompany the PISCES software. The system has been successfully tested using catch and effort datasets provided by the two case study fishery departments. It is likely that certain elements of the system will be more generally applicable or generic than others. It is likely that outputs that can be explicitly defined including catch and effort, biological, environmental, and control and surveillance data, and information required for international management and reporting responsibilities will all be well supported by the software. Although some customisation will be inevitable, it is estimated that the PISCES software could be installed and working within six weeks compared to six months typically required to develop a bespoke system. Significant initial costs savings are therefore anticipated, although potential long-term maintenance costs remain uncertain. The system is complex and therefore institutional strengthening and training programmes may be required for successful adoption and uptake. Further development of the PISCES software is required to provide the necessary fields and processing capacity to support the monitoring and evaluation of data relating to conflicts, the maintenance of traditional management practices, environmental data and employment in the harvesting (and processing) sectors. Further work is also required to improve the user interface and error checking functions. The system would also benefit from an expanded range of fields and processing functions for socio-economic data. Nonetheless, this research has made a significant contribution to the development of improved strategies and plans for the management of capture fisheries important to poor people.
Marine Resources Assessment Group Ltd, Fisheries Management Science Programme, London, UK, 231 pp.