Fisheries Information System | June 2018 Newsletter

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June 2018

Commercial fishing vessels at sea

46 Proposals Received

We received a total of 46 submissions for the FY 2019 Fisheries Information System program/National Observer Program/Catch Shares Program Request for ProposalsThis year's RFP process began with a pre-proposal submission, which helped streamline applications and boost the number of collaborative proposed projects compared to previous years.

The RFP is a competitive process that enables FIS, NOP, and CSP to support projects in four areas:

  • Quality Management and Continuous Improvement (QM & CI) -- 11 proposals received.
  • Electronic Reporting (ER) -- 18 proposals received.
  • Electronic Monitoring (EM) -- 13 proposals received.
  • Fishery Information Network (FIN) Improvement  -- 4 proposals received.

The RFP was open to all NOAA Fisheries offices, regional Fishery Information Networks, and state agencies. The proposals will be reviewed between June 18 and August 10, with final decisions announced in September and funding made available sometime in spring 2019, once appropriations are received.

You can learn more about our funded projects from FY 2018 and earlier on the FIS website. View the guidance document here for complete details on the 2019 submission process.

New FIS Website Launched

As part of the overall update to the NOAA Fisheries website, the FIS web pages have recently been refreshed with a new look and new structure. Be sure to visit our new home and update your bookmarks! 

Solutions to Real-World Challenges

Expanding Electronic Monitoring Technologies in the North Pacific Fisheries

One of the top priorities of FIS is supporting the implementation of electronic technologies in fisheries. Here's one example of how FIS support is having an impact -- for more details, see the full story online.


This has been a multiyear electronic monitoring collaboration between the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and FIS to improve data collection through the development of innovative electronic monitoring technologies. The goal of the project is to automate video analysis for length measurement and species identification, and to integrate electronic monitoring data into overall catch accounting.

The Challenge

The biological and catch composition data gathered by independent observers on commercial fishing vessels through the National Observer Program play a critical role in stock assessments and fisheries management decision-making. However, on some vessels, space for human observers is limited and safety is a concern.

The Solution

In 2013, the AFSC and FIS began working to integrate EM technologies into fisheries-dependent data collection as an alternative to on-board observers on longline vessels. One initiative has focused on creating a camera chute system for measuring halibut bycatch during release from trawler catches. The chutes take calibrated images of each halibut released, from which counts, length composition and total weight can be estimated

The Outcome

In addition to the potential to alleviate space and safety concerns onboard, the chute system expedites catch estimates, so fish spend less time out of the water, possibly reducing the bycatch mortality of high-value, prohibited fish species, such as halibut in the North Pacific. As speed and accuracy of species identification improves, the technologies and lessons learned will be shared via open-source software tools and hardware specifications with the rest of NOAA Fisheries, as well as with the interstate fisheries commissions and regional fishery management councils across the country.

In This Issue

46 Proposals Received

New FIS Website Launched

Solutions to Real-World Challenges: Expanding Electronic Monitoring Technologies in the North Pacific Fisheries

Skills Sharing Presentations

Skills Sharing Presentations

Please join us for these upcoming webinars

Quality Management and Continuous Improvement Principles for Fisheries Dependent Data

June 20th at 12:00 pm EDT 

The inherently regional nature of fisheries science and management makes standardized processes difficult to develop and implement. As new technologies come online, and new needs driven by changing conditions in our ocean ecosystems emerge, data programs need to try and keep one step ahead. That’s the role of the Fisheries Information System Program Quality Management and Continuous Improvement Professional Specialty Group. In this presentation we’ll share tools, techniques, and processes for ensuring high-quality products and services, as well as the systems necessary to implement them.

This presentation can be viewed in the NOAA Central Library, SSMC#3, 2nd Floor and via webinar:

Maturing Field Software Development Processes

July 11 at 2:00 pm EST

During this talk, we will discuss what the NWFSC/FRAM data team has learned over the past four years as it has actively developed field deployable software applications to support fisheries dependent and independent programs. 

Connection information:
Audio: 1-888-576-4158
Passcode: 89 56 614#     

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? Contact
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