Fisheries Information System|December 2017 Newsletter

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December 2017

FishNews 243 Council Appts Generic

2018 FIS-Funded Projects

In partnership with the National Catch-Shares Program, the National Observer Program, and the Office of Sustainable Fisheries, FIS has selected 31 proposals for fiscal 2018 funding totaling $5.3 million. These regionally based projects encompass electronic technologies pre-implementation and implementation, Fisheries Information Network (FIN) development, and quality management/continuous improvement initiatives.

Funds are awarded through a competitive RFP process designed to effectively address pressing issues, foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing across agency and regional lines, and avoid duplication of efforts. RFPs are open to states, FINs, Regional Offices, Science Centers, and Headquarters offices. Decisions for funding are made by teams representing a cross-section of agencies and regions.

The call for 2019 RFPs will be announced in early 2018. You can learn more about our funded projects on the FIS website.

Landings Query Tool Launched

The Access and Dissemination Professional Specialty Group has launched an updated version of the commercial fisheries landings query. The tool provides access to non-confidential commercial landings data from around the country through one flexible, web-based resource.

The revisions improve the experience for the query's user base, which includes fisheries scientists, researchers, legislative staffers, the media, and the general public. The tool now automatically imports data from our partners on a daily basis, ensuring information is as up-to-date as possible. It features more versatile search and analysis functions, allowing for selection of multiple years, regions, and species, as well as pre-generated reports to run routine queries. Results now indicate which species are aggregated as confidential data.

The tool is still under development, so users are encouraged to provide suggestions for further improvements in the Comments tab.

quick start guide is available here.

Solutions to Real-World Challenges

Enhancing the North Pacific Observer Program's Gear Inventory and Deployment System

The FIS Quality Management/Continuous Improvement Professional Specialty Group has developed a suite of tools and workshops to help improve processes and outcomes for any team working in fisheries-dependent data collection, reporting, and monitoring. Here’s one example of how it works:

The Challenge
Fisheries observers play a critical role in the sustainable management of our nation’s fisheries. While by nature the job can sometimes include long trips, close quarters, and intense work, it’s critical that the conditions observers work in be safe and professional, and observers have all of the gear they need to stay healthy and productive onboard. The program must maintain hundreds of inventoried items spread across multiple field stations serving hundreds of observers and thousands of sea days.

The Goal
The North Pacific Fisheries Observer Program turned to the QM/CI PSG to help create clear processes to ensure observers are properly equipped and ready to deploy quickly when an assignment comes in. The aim was to identify and root out inefficiencies that were costing time and money—and ultimately transition to a system that relied on effective processes instead of institutional memory.

The Approach
The QM/CI PSG used a Value Stream Map to create a visual accounting of each step in the gear procurement and deployment process, including approximately how long each step takes. The VSM revealed where bottlenecks occurred, and quantified how those delays impacted staff time and observer readiness.

The Outcome
The gear team was able to identify potential issues that might otherwise be invisible when looking at such a large program, and were empowered to rethink their current processes with fresh ideas and a fresh perspective. The VSM was the first step in a larger effort to improve efficiency in the gear program's processes, including prioritizing the development of an Observer Gear Inventory system.

In this Issue

2018 FIS-Funded Projects

Landings Query Tool Launched

Solutions to Real-World Challenges

Skills Sharing Presentations

Skills Sharing Presentations

Please join us for the next Centers of Expertise webinar:

Managing a Mature ER System
January 10 at 2:00pm EST
To RSVP E-mail 

Previous Center of Expertise webinars and presentations can be viewed on the FIS Bridge by navigating to the tabs at the bottom the spreadsheet.


Do you have work you'd like to share with colleagues, or an area that you'd like to learn more about? E-mail   with suggestions.

FIS Mission

We work collaboratively through partnerships to improve access to comprehensive, high-quality, timely fisheries information by investing in three broad areas:

  • Data gaps and data quality;
  • Efficient technology and data integration; and 
  • Effective coordination and communication in the design, collection, and uses of data.

Program Contacts

Alan Lowther
Program Director
(301) 427-8154

Daniel Elias
(323) 646-8880