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Informatics in support of the Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management, Phase 2

Data is a key input into the advice which drives fisheries management but access to it is often restricted to scientists. This project provides tools for a number of different audiences to discover and explore the fisheries data that is collected within Ireland. Data can be difficult to interpret if you are not familiar with its context so rather than just providing the data itself this project has developed graphical data-driven tools and applications that will make its interpretation easier.

Improving inter-organisational collaborations enables ongoing data integration initiatives and maximises the utility of integrated fisheries information to address the CFP reform objectives.  Future fisheries management tools will need to include real time management such as discard avoidance measures, spatio-temporal closures, spatio-temporal & technical incentives, smarter targeting etc.  Reversing the burden of proof should incentivise fully documented fisheries introducing new data collection requirements. Information on fishing impacts on the marine environment and biodiversity and effects of the environment on fishing opportunities are also poorly integrated, and a joined up approach will greatly simplify EBAFM realisation. Social and economic data will need to be integrated with existing fisheries control and scientific data in a more effective way.

In phase 1 the Fisheries Infomatics project has developed four on line apps. Phase 1 has also involved a knowledge and information sharing element.  This included making all the source code publically available on GitHub, training scientist in the MI on best practice for code management and development and training for updates and maintenance of existing apps. 

Phase 2 will involve collaborations with other national and international organisations to develop 4 new apps.  These apps will include:

  1. The fisheries TCM chart.  This will be a collaboration with BIM and SFPA.  The aim of the app is to make a user friendly electronic version of the fisheries management chart produced each year by BIM.  Project planning and initial scoping has already commenced.
  2. Marine Biodiversity App.  The aim of this app is to put a Marine interface on the National Biodiversity Centre’s databases.  It will also involve sharing existing MI records of species occurrences with the national biodiversity centre.
  3. Mixed fisheries app.  This will involve a collaboration with ICES and the mixed fisheries working group (WGMIXFISH) to develop new tools to interface with mixed fisheries data. 

The use case for the final app will be based on emerging priorities. The project team are using an agile approach to develop these apps and rather than specifying the last app it is more innovative to explore emergent needs. Informatics in support of the CFP was identified as a priority action for support under Ireland’s EMFF OP to be implemented through the Marine Biodiversity Scheme.  

An important consideration of this project is that it will make use of the Marine Institute’s common digital infrastructure – the “Digital Ocean” framework.  This means that it can work with other projects within the Marine Institute to create lasting value.  A steering committee consisting of representatives from the Marine Institute’s fisheries and IT/data management sections will meet regularly during the project’s lifetime both to ensure it is progressing correctly and to agree on how the outputs will be managed after the project ends.

Phase 1 of the project has concentrated on the data that the Marine Institute collects and stores as part of Ireland’s responsibilities under the reformed Common Fisheries Policy. Phase 2 of the project will widen its scope and see the Marine Institute working with partners such as DAFM, DHPLG, DCHG, SFPA, and BIM to design and deploy applications that are of joint interest.


The project is carried out in two phases. Phase 1 runs between 2017 and 2018 whilst Phase 2 will run in 2019 and 2020.

Project Outputs:
  1. The secure reporting database developed during Phase 1 will be maintained and populated with the relevant data sets identified during the project. 
  2. Four new applications will be built and deployed during Phase 2 in collaboration with other organisations.
  3. Final source code to be publicly available and shared using GitHub or similar platforms.  The underpinning data will also be made publically available.
  4. Existing apps will be maintained and developed further as necessary.
  5. A number of training courses will be held to train MI staff and other collaborators on the various app development tools.  Staff will be mentored on code development management for their own applications.
  6. Documentation will be developed and maintained for all the apps.

The above “use cases” will have anticipated end users including: Fishing industry, Environmental Non-Governenmental Organisations, policy makers, scientists, students and interested public


The individual apps developed in phase one and now being maintained and populated can be accessed using the following links:

Species Dashboard
People can learn about fish species in Irish waters and explore their data with the Species Dashboard - this is a web application that makes biological fisheries data more available to all interested parties. In particular, it allows people to explore the length, weight, and age data of commercial species that are caught around Ireland and allows the effects of factors such as years, sex, area, and gear on the fish to be investigated.

Digital Stock Book
The Stock Book is produced annually by the Marine Institute and provides up to date scientific information on the state of the fisheries resources exploited by the Irish fleet. It provides the latest scientific advice that informs fishing opportunities for the following year. The Stock Book has been published by the Marine Institute since 1993 and has evolved considerably over time. The Digital Stock Book app makes this advice available on-line in an interactive way – for example it includes a forecasting tool that allows users to see the projected impact of different fishing scenarios.
Irish Groundfish Survey (IGFS) Data Explorer (in development)
The IGFS is part of an internationally coordinated series of demersal trawl surveys that provides data on fish stocks that are not available from sampling commercial fishing trips.  It provides both environmental and biological data on areas of high and low commercial activity. The IGFS app allows users to explore the results of the survey using a number of tools – people can explore the higher level summary information and delve into species specific data.

Cod Tagging
The Marine Institute, in partnership with AFBI in Northern Ireland and CEFAS in the UK, are conducting a cod tagging project in the Irish Sea.  The aim of this mapping application was to create a graphical data-driven tool to look at the data collected by the project. It visualises the locations of releases and recaptures of the fish and the maps can be downloaded. For the recapture data, the user can also customise plots and export them.


Expected Benefit:

Digitisation and dissemination of fisheries data to improve accessibility of information for a variety of endusers including policy makers, stakeholders, scientists and the general public.

Integration and improved accessibility of different data sources of fisheries, biodiversity, environmental, and economic data to be used as decision making tools for a variety of endusers including policy makers, stakeholders, scientists and the general public.

Engagement with key data stake-holders including SFPA, BIM, DAFM, DHPCLG, and DCHG and the national biodiversity centre; resolving any data governance issues and identifying applications that support enduser requirements. Phase 2 of the project will include implementing and deploying applications with these partners.

Further Information:
Further details available on
Project Cost - Projected:
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