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Title: Fisheries Assessment Software within the Environment Agency
Author: Barnard And Robin Wyatt Steve
Author: Agency: Bristol Ennvironment
Document Type: Monograph
Annotation: Environment Agency Project ID:EAPRJOUT_712, Representation ID: 238, Object ID: 2040
A sound knowledge, of the status. of fish:.populations is a pre-requisite to infonned:fisheries and environmental management. Within the Environment Agency, fish population surveys are afforded a high priority, with a large number of sites being-surveyed each year. The data obtained from, these surveys are many, complex and varied, and require substantial statistical analysis, -presentation and referral before being used- in management decisions. There is a consequent need for. appropriate, software -to be -available for use by staff throughout .the Fisheries Function. The current project was commissioned. in order. that the : software requirements of those tasks associated with fisheries stock assessment be identified, Bandthat the extent to which existing software fulfils these requirements-be assessed. Information on software (current for the period 1996/7) was collected by means of a detailed ..: questionnaire, forwarded to each of -eight regional contacts. Subsequently, regional meetings were held with each of the eight contacts to enable both the reporting requirements and the perceived software requirements of each region to be,more closely assessed. Through discussion with the regional-contacts it appears that, as a general principle; the range of analysis tools .that.are used or-required by any given regionare effectively dictated by.the methods: that are employed to collect the fishery data. In turn, the nature of. data that are collected can be affected by: local- conditions; the extent of the proposed survey programme; staff availability; and material resources. The information that was. provided by the. regions was used to assess the functionality and capability of. currently available software. In addition,. a range ,of idealised ~functional requirements was drawn up:% was apparent that most (if not all) -of the software currently available to staff of the AgencyTs Fisheries Function failed to meet the functional requirements that were identified. In addition,- it was .found that aavailable software was, in many cases, outmoded and made use of inappropriate methods. At present, there is no agreed national standard.for stock assessment analysis methods or for reporting requirements.- In conjunction with the poor quality of the stock assessment software that is currently available within the Agency, this. represents a potential. limiting. factor to the provision,of informed and effective fisheries management. The availability, of fisheries software. from sources outside of the Agency was examined.-.. However, no ,-suitable software packages were identified from within key .research bodies within the UK or from the American Fisheries Society in the United States. Consequently, it is recommended that a new national fisheries stock assessment package is developed, to fully service the needs of the Agency in a nationally consistent-manner. The development of new software, under a national R and D initiative, represents the best option for achieving the objective of providing,software that fulfils the requirements identified during thecourse of this project, and for ensuring that such software is subsequently available throughout the Agency. It is proposed that new software is developed such that a standard survey protocol is notimposed upon the regions, but rather that the use of -raw data which may have been generated R and D Technical Report W176 V by any one of a variety of means is facilitated. However, the proposed software would nevertheless allow the analysis and reporting of fisheries data to be undertaken in a nationally consistent and standardised manner. The development of new software should be undertaken on a modular basis, with the potential for the development of individual modules to be prioritised and phased. The production of a new software is broken down to a series of interrelated work items. Indicative costs and comments on the scheduling of each of the range of work items are provided. It is recommended that the development of new software should not be an isolated proposition. There are several potential links between the proposed development of new fisheries software and current or proposed R and D initiatives and these are briefly discussed.
Publisher: Environment Agency
Subject Keywords: Fisheries; Software; Stock assesment; Population estimation
Extent: 154
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