Working Group on Governance of the Regional Database and Estimation System (WGRDBESGOV; outputs from 2021 meeting)
The Working Group on Governance of the Regional Database & Estimation System (WGRDBESGOV) provides the governance function for both the existing Regional Database (RDB) and the new Regional Database & Estimation System (RDBES) that is currently in development. It is composed of representatives from ICES member countries and EU Regional Coordination Groups (RCGs). In this report the WGRDBESGOV reviews the RDBES developments performed during 2021 and plans for the work required in 2022 and beyond. It also considers how RDB data has been used and proposes changes required to the current Data Policy.
The RDBES is planned to replace both the existing ICES InterCatch and RDB database systems and has an important part to play in increasing transparency and improving the quality of stock assessment within ICES. To this end three workshops have been planned for 2022 which will help data submitters with the transition to the new system (WKRAISE&TAF-sandeel, WKRDBES-RAISE&TAF and WKINTRO). Additionally, the Working Group on Estimation with the RDBES data model (WGRDES-EST) is continuously engaged to enable the ICES community to move forward with estimation using the RDBES data model. Following on from the RDBES test data calls issued in 2020 and 2021, a full RDBES data call is planned for 2022.
It has been a desire since the inception of the RDBES that it can be used to fulfil the FDI (Fisheries Dependent Information) data call. However, it is not a straightforward process, as (1) the FDI data call is issued by the EU and requests different variables than the RDBES, and (2) the FDI includes estimations that need to be first calculated from the RDBES data. Despite these difficulties, both the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and Member States (MS) have expressed their interest in developing this feature of the RDBES, which will reduce MS workload and enhance data consistency in the different databases. During 2022, an intersessional subgroup will look further how to develop this.
The need to ensure confidentiality in the data provided to end-users of scientific data and other interested parties, is a relevant issue that all data providers need to address when answering the RDBES Data Call. The essential problem is that at the required level of disaggregation it is common to have small groups of vessels in each segment. During 2022, an intersessional subgroup will address this, in communication with the Commission and the National Correspondents.
Recognizing that we have not yet tested the production of stock assessment inputs from RDBES data, it is necessary to revise the roadmap and prolong the planned operations of RDB and InterCatch. We have found that the constraints are different between these databases and that RDB submissions can terminate earlier than InterCatch submissions.
Anticipating a gradual adaptation of the RDBES and taking into account the need to utilize historical estimates in the InterCatch formats, it is desirable that the format for national estimates and the format for the stock estimates are compatible with the InterCatch input and output formats, respectively.
The RDB and RDBES must ensure that data can be used by the RCGs and authorized groups in ICES whilst ensuring that only permitted users have access to the confidential data – the rules relating to this have previously been defined in the RDB Data Policy. In line with discussions at the ICES Data and Information Group (DIG), the Data Policy is split into two documents: a Data License, and a Data Governance document.
It is important to remember that the ultimate success of the RDBES will rely on the effort and contributions from many people in the wider ICES/Data Collection Framework (DCF) community, from data collection to stock assessment, and not just the relatively small groups who attend the WGRDBESGOV or Core Group meetings. The WGRDBESGOV continues to encourage these contributions and recommend some concrete actions to take to enhance further the engagement of the whole ICES/DCF community.
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