(By Niue Ocean Wide (NOW) Project – Niue Island)
Niue has been collecting data from sport and artisanal fishers for many years, traditionally through the use by fisheries officers of paper logbooks. One of the purposes of the collection of fishing data is to underpin decisions made with respect to the conservation and management of our marine resources.
With the unprecedented changes to our climate and what appears to be significant changes in our local catch rate and seasonality of species, the collection of data is critical to monitor changes over time and to hopefully support migration measures and interventions in the fishing sector.
Collecting catch rate data over time has been an ongoing issue in Niue, with no real incentive in recent years for the fishers to provide the information required.
Through the provision of electronic logbooks (tablets), the Niue Ocean Wide (NOW) Project hopes to instill a greater incentive for the fishers to provide the much-needed data.
The NOW Project has purchased multiple tablets and a full set of accessories, including a mounting block which enables the devices to be attached to each vessel. These tablets, as approved by SPC, are being distributed to Niue's local fishing charter boat operators, in collaboration with the Niue Fisheries Department.
Prior to distribution, the "Tails” app -which was developed by SPC- has been downloaded to each device. Existing fisheries staff have received refresher courses on Tails App usage and new fisheries officers have received a full training, which SPC provided through an online platform.
The first introductory training for the local charter boat fishers for electronic data collection was conducted in September 2020.
In May 2021, an additional workshop was conducted. The skippers who participated in the training, under the guidance of fisheries staff and their online trainer from SPC, were provided with "how-to” and “what-to-enter" courses using the "Tails app" on their new tablets.
Tails is an innovative mobile and tablet application, launched by the Pacific Community (SPC) in 2016, and designed for use by small-scale fishers to collect “catch” information, recording the quantity of fish they catch and the different species. Tails allows fisheries officers to collect data when they are out in-the-field, even when they don’t have access to internet. Once they are connected to the internet, data is then automatically synced, uploading catch information to national datasets through integration with the ‘Tufman 2’ data management system, also developed by SPC. The data collected by members are essential to the regional stock assessments conducted by SPC and fundamental to the conservation and management of the tuna resource in the western and central Pacific Ocean.