New Electronic Systems Provide More Timely and Accessible Fishery Data, Enhance Enforcement Capabilities

Commercial passenger fishing vessel operators will now be able to submit their fishing data electronically
CDFW photo by D. Hamilton

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to share the tremendous progress made on three projects that aim to improve the rate and quality of data collection for commercial ocean fishing and law enforcement.

The Marine Logs System (MLS) includes a web-based app that allows commercial passenger fishing vessel (CPFV, or party/charter boat) operators to record and submit fishing data to CDFW electronically. Using a portable Internet-enabled device such as a tablet or smartphone, CPFV operators can record fishing data in real time, even without an Internet connection, and then submit the information electronically to CDFW at the conclusion of their fishing trip.

This automation provides CDFW with nearly real-time fishing data that does not then require additional manual data entry by CDFW staff, which is a significant benefit. In addition, features in the app help validate that these logs contain complete and accurate data. A benefit to CPFV owners who use MLS, besides not having to collect and mail paper logs each month, is that it allows them to store electronic records of their fishing trips, which they can use to produce reports to meet their business needs.

Many CPFV owners have quickly and easily adopted MLS. In 2017, nearly 60 percent of all CPFV logs (18,398 of 31,060) were submitted electronically through MLS, and CDFW is working with partners to continue to expand adoption of the system.

fish buyer
Commercial fish buyers will be able to submit their landing receipt data electronically.
CDFW photo

The Marine Landings Data System (MLDS) will centralize the collection, management and reporting of commercial landing receipt data. A key feature of MLDS is that it allows California fish businesses such as squid dealers, sea urchin processors and retail fishermen to submit landing receipt data to CDFW electronically. Fish businesses will be able to use E-Tix, a web-based application managed by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, to submit a single electronic form to fulfill both their federal and state reporting obligations. After fish businesses submit their data using E-Tix, the data will be transferred to CDFW, eliminating the need to complete and mail paper landing receipts to CDFW.

Like MLS, MLDS will help provide CDFW with near real-time data and will simplify the process of submitting landing receipt data for fish businesses. California fish businesses can begin submitting all of their landing receipt data electronically beginning July 1, 2018.  Beginning July 1, 2019, all fish businesses will be required to submit landing receipt data electronically though the new system.

Patrol Boat Marlin
Greater efficiency means more time in the field for CDFW wildlife officers, among other benefits.
CDFW photo

The Records Management System (RMS) is an enterprise-wide repository for wildlife officers to track and store critical pieces of information pertaining to law enforcement operations.  Currently, these processes and functions are time-consuming, consisting of spreadsheets, local databases, paper records and periodic ad-hoc, manually prepared reports.

The implementation of a CDFW-wide RMS will provide a comprehensive and consistent method for capturing information that can be shared among CDFW law enforcement officers. With RMS, many law enforcement functions will be centralized into one system, creating a uniform and consistent product that is instantly available statewide, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of all wildlife officers. Specifically, RMS will help identify repeat offenders more easily, provide more time for wildlife officers to do enforcement work, and allow for better communication and cohesion among wildlife officers.

Implementation of MLS, MLDS and RMS will be the culmination of tremendous efforts to modernize the process of data collection. Collecting data more quickly, and eliminating manual entry and transmittal processes, will increase CDFW’s ability to effectively manage California’s natural resources, benefitting all Californians.

post by Aaron Del Monte, CDFW Marine Region Data Analyst

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