Workshop on Standards and Guidelines for fisheries dependent data (WKDSG; outputs form 2020 meeting)
The Workshop on Standards and Guidelines for fisheries dependent data (WKDSG) convened to evaluate whether available documentation on Standards and Guidelines provides data-collec-tors and users with sufficient guidance on the requirements for quality assurance that should be applied to data used in supporting ICES advice.
Particular focus was given to the need for guid-ance on data collection initiatives that fall outside of the scientific institutions that routinely participate in ICES, such as the fishing industry or other third-parties. This was motivated by recognition that participation of more (and different) data-collectors may provide new opportunities for ensuring that ICES advice is based on ‘the best available data’, and can assure its quality, credibility and egitimacy.
Participants reviewed available documentation, distilled the elements considered important for good guidance, identified what was missing, and what actions are required to fill critical gaps. The workshop found that in many respects, data collection initiatives by industry would be well-served by the same quality assurance strategies that cover data-collection by scientific institutions. But in most cases, existing documentation is not sufficient to provide adequate guidance to new data-collection programmes. Much of the available guidance is fragmented and difficult to find or access, often being embedded in expert-group reports, when it is needed in a standalone format. The status of documents can also be difficult to assess; whether they are up to date, which audiences they are intended for, etc. These issues are of particular importance for data-collectors that are new to contributing data to ICES. An inventory standards and guidance documents that was prepared during the workshop, and includes information from ICES and further afield, will be made available as a resource to support all fisheries dependent data collection initiative (see Annex 1 for example).
Many issues discussed during the workshop were already known by the groups working on quality assurance issues in ICES. Participants identified specific supporting actions that should feed into the ongoing activities of the Working Group on the Governance of Quality Manage-ment of Data and Advice (WGQUALITY), the Data and Information Group (DIG), and the Work-ing Group on Commercial Catches (WGCATCH) (Table 4.3), developed a schematic overview of the documentation needs and roles that follow data from collection to advice (Figure 4.1), and documented a short summary of key lessons learned (Annex 5). In addition, outputs from the workshop were used to draft the outline of a standalone document ‘Overview of the principles and processes for quality control and assurance of data intended for use in ICES advice’ (Annex 6), further development of which is made in a recommendation to WGQUALITY and the Data Science and Technology Steering Group (DSTSG).
To facilitate understanding of, and access to, ICES quality assurance process and documentation, pathways connecting the flow of data were mapped (Figures 3.1, 3.2, 4.1), and data collection activities were classified and matched to relevant sources of guidance (Table 4.2). For a few categories of data-collection activities, the workshop did not find evidence that suitable standards or guidance were developed or in development. In particular, management of conflicts of inter-est was identified as being an important issue that needs differentiated treatment between dif-ferent data-collectors in order to reduce the risk that wider participation in data-collection com-promises real or perceived legitimacy of advice. No such standards or guidance is currently available in ICES, but experience exists elsewhere that can be used to develop it. A specific recommendation was made to WGQUALITY (Jan 19–22, 2021) for proactively developing standards addressing this concern.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee