Two Weeks Training on Coastal Fisheries Survey for Ministry of Fisheries Staff
Two back-to-back training workshops involving staff from the Fisheries Department and Pacific Community (SPC) have just completed at Fisheries HQ. The first workshop, which ran over a period of two weeks, aimed to improve the skills of Fisheries Department staff in analysing creel survey data. A creel survey is a survey of a fisherman's or fisherwoman's catch, usually obtained at a landing site such as a boat ramp or wharf. Monitoring catches and fishing activities is an important component of assessing the health of a fishery and developing strategies to ensure sustainable harvests. Using survey data collected by the Fisheries Department from 2013–2015, participants learned how to analyse data to estimate average catches per fishing trip, average numbers of individual fishes or invertebrates caught, length of fishing trips, catch-per-unit-effort and annual total catches. "Knowing how to analyse the data collected from our creel survey program will help us verify the status of our fishery, understand what species are caught, in what numbers, and from what locations. This will allow Fisheries to better assess and monitor the status of Tonga's coastal fish populations, and make better-informed management decisions" said Dr. Siola'a Malimali, Deputy CEO of Fisheries.