Knowledge of the status and trends of stocks and fisheries is a key factor for responsible fishery management. It is essential at a national level for the maintenance of food security and for describing the social and economic benefits of fisheries. More accurate and timely information should result in a more informed public that supports efforts to manage fisheries in a responsible fashion.

This is one of the main drivers behind the development of the Global Record of Stocks and Fisheries (GRSF) that the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations is building with the technological support of BlueBRIDGE.

Aureliano Gentile, Information Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations explains why the establishment of the Global Record of Stocks and Fisheries is so important and the main challenges faced.


Good morning Aureliano. Can you tell us more about the Global Record of Stocks and Fisheries?
The GRSF aims at providing an innovative environment supporting the collaborative production and maintenance of a comprehensive and transparent inventory of stocks and fisheries records that will boost regional and global stocks and fisheries status and trend monitoring as well as responsible consumer practices.

Fisheries and Resource Monitoring System (FIRMS), the RAM Legacy Stock Assessment Database and FishSource are the three database sources from which information is harvested to form GRSF records. By collating these sources, the reporting coverage of any of these single entities is increased. The GRSF database collects information on biological and fishing activity aspects, respectively identified as “stocks” and “fisheries”.


Why is the GRSF so unique?
First of all, a global record of stocks and fisheries does not yet exist. The current effort aims at creating from three major sources a critical mass of information with widespread coverage and this should position it as key instrument of global fish stocks status monitoring and traceability. BlueBRIDGE’s approach in building it as a collaborative environment will allow data providers to contribute to it incrementally by exposing their data with minimum effort.

Users will clearly gain enormous benefits from it, as by simply entering the collaborative environment they will get access to a huge amount of quality data collected in a cost-effective way with distributed effort among authoritative sources. The special attention that BlueBRIDGE and FAO are putting into making all of the data available via the GRSF traceable, with well-described information on provenance and ownership metadata, makes the GRSF a precious source for the seafood industry.


What are the main challenges that you are facing in setting up the GRSF?
The main technical challenge in the set-up of a Global Record of Stocks and Fisheries is the harmonization of the different existing standards (international, regional and national) from different data sources with the aim to build unique identifiers for stocks and fisheries. There is a strong demand for such standard and GRSF will respond to it by providing services to public and private actors involved in ecolabelling, traceability and sustainable fisheries.

The main organizational challenge is to transform this initiative into an operational business, building on a mix of public and private partnership. We are creating new services building on publicly available data: maintaining such services with the required quality will need to be remunerated by the market demand for those services.


Can you explain what the impact of the establishment of a GRSF will be?
The GRSF will support FAO in maintaining an up-to-date overview of world stock status index as well as supporting certified traceability schemes for seafood products. Clearly, many other organisations dealing with the provision of advice on stock assessment can benefit from the collation of the stock status information.  Interest has already been shown by the RAM Legacy Database, FishSource and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), as well as by other Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) specifically in relation to their Fishery and Resource Monitoring System objectives.

But it doesn’t stop there, non – governmental organisations (NGOs) and IT companies can build on the GRSF to develop seafood traceability solutions based on standardized fishery identifiers.


What is being done to create awareness about GRSF among these potential users?
We decided to involve them from the beginning so that they can be part of the design process of GRSF. We set up a GRSF Technical Working Group composed of members of the previously mentioned organisations. Recently at the beginning of March 2017, the second BlueBRIDGE Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting for the Global Record of Stocks and Fisheries took place in Rome, at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations headquarters. The meeting demonstrated the commitment of the partners and provided a set of recommendations to drive the completion of the GRSF application.


Thanks Aureliano, we really look forward to seeing the GRSF fully operational!
Me too, we really believe that this initiative can boost regional and global stocks, monitor fishery status and trends and encourage responsible consumer practices.


The GRSF will be accessible upon registration later in 2018. For more information on the GRSF please contact