Fisheries Monitoring and Socioeconomics Division

The Fisheries Monitoring and Socioeconomics Division (FMSD) specializes in the collection, management, and analysis of data from U.S. fisheries in the Pacific Islands Region. The FMSD monitors and reports on U.S. fisheries; provides technical support to the PIFSC partner agencies in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in developing and administering local fisheries monitoring programs; and conducts social and economic research on marine resource use. Fishery-dependent data are collected, processed, and analyzed by FMSD. Products derived from the data comprise most of the information requests received by FMSD from fisheries scientists and managers. They support fishery monitoring and fish stock assessment and are the foundation of many fisheries management decisions. Socioeconomic data collection and research provide valuable insights into the effects of those decisions on fishery participants. FMSD provides fisheries statistics to fulfill U.S. obligations for data exchange and reporting under several international agreements.

The FMSD is organized into four programs:

FMSD has a staff of 30, including 13 federal employees, 14 JIMAR employees, and others. Personnel and grants made up the largest fractions of expenditures in FY 2008.

Key 2008 Accomplishments

Many products provided by FMSD are recurrent. Examples are quarterly and annual summaries of logbook statistics for longline fisheries in Hawaii and American Samoa, sections of annual reports for Fishery Management Plans, and annual inputs to Fisheries of the United States. Some of the Division's new initiatives and accomplishments in 2008 included the following:

Challenges, Problems, and Limitations

Fisheries Monitoring and Socioeconomics Division FY 2008

The FMSD must meet increasing demands for improved fisheries data collection, management, and reporting to enable agency compliance with federal statutes and regulations. FMSD will continue to help the WPFMC in providing monitoring and scientific information for amending Fishery Management Plans and developing Fishery Ecosystem Plans. New mandates under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) with respect to permits, reporting, and management of total allowable catch will provide challenges in the Pacific Islands where regulations governing such management measures are mostly absent. Challenges in fisheries data collection are anticipated as the agency implements annual catch limits and meets new mandates for catch monitoring in domestic and international arenas, including domestic recreational fisheries. Accordingly, the FMSD must ensure sufficient PIFSC staffing levels, invest in technical training, build greater technical capacity of WPacFIN partners, increase the efficiency of data operations, and improve the timeliness of reporting. The importance of economics and human dimensions research will continue to grow as broader, ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management are developed, requiring FMSD to seek new partnerships and sources of funding. In all programs, FMSD staff will need to maintain comprehensive metadata and documentation of data collections, procedures, reports, and data products.

Future Focus and Direction

WPacFIN will continue to improve long-term data collection programs and address new developments. Our staff will work closely with partner offices throughout the Pacific Islands Region to identify ways to improve data collection and coverage and help local fishery offices implement new monitoring programs. WPacFIN will continue to develop database applications to support several projects, including integration of HDAR fish catch data with fish dealer sales data, improvement of recreational fisheries monitoring, and collection of data on local fishing fleets and fish imports in CNMI and American Samoa. WPacFIN also plans to improve its Web site content, data request service protocols, and documentation for data collection programs and database applications.

FMAP will provide technical assistance for ongoing efforts to develop simpler and more efficient alternatives for reporting of catch and effort by fishers. In particular, FMAP will assist with development of electronic logbooks and electronic transmission of logbook reports which will enable secure, efficient, and timely compliance with federal reporting requirements and quicker and more accurate fishery monitoring. FMAP will also develop software applications that integrate data from different data sets, perform fishery analysis and monitoring functions, and generate the summary statistics needed to meet the agency's domestic and international reporting requirements. FMAP will also continue to improve its section of the PIFSC Web site and enable ready online access to current, nonconfidential fishery statistics, fishery reports, and other information. EP will continue to seek support for expanded research in American Samoa, Guam, and the CNMI. EP intends to expand its research on the economics of coral reef resources, protected species, and ecotourism.

HDRP plans to complete profiles of fishing communities in Hawaii and American Samoa as required by the MSA, complete a framework for long-term monitoring of the human dimensions of coral reef ecosystems in the main Hawaiian Islands, and further develop its geographic information systems to support analysis of fishing impacts at the sub-island scale in the main Hawaiian Islands.

HDRP will continue research and training activities in support of the WPFMC and other clients, including expansion of programs begun in 2008. HDRP will continue to work with other PIFSC divisions toward a better mutual understanding of the human dimensions of challenges facing the region. HDRP will also continue to provide social science assistance and advice to partners in the Pacific and U.S. mainland.