Effective management depends on quality fishery-dependent data (e.g., information collected from recreational and commercial fisheries, such as landings, effort, or discards) and fishery-independent data (e.g., information collected through monitoring programs and research surveys) to inform stock assessments and fisheries management decisions. However, just as fisheries management responsibilities are divided among agencies, so too are fisheries data collection efforts. Thus, fisheries data collection programs vary in their temporal and spatial coverage, the data elements they collect, the methods employed, as well as the codes used to enter and store the data.
Recognizing the need for consistency across Atlantic coast fishery-dependent data collection efforts, the 23 agencies responsible for fisheries management on the Atlantic coast established the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP). Using a committee-based approach, ACCSP works with its partners to increase data utility by:
Developing and implementing coastwide data standards
Providing electronic applications that improve partner data collection
Integrating and sharing partner data via a coastwide repository
Facilitating fisheries data access while protecting confidentiality
Supporting further technological innovation
Using these standards and data supplied by our partners, the ACCSP produces timely, accurate marine fishery statistics for Atlantic coast fisheries and integrates them into a single data system designed to meet the needs of fishery managers, scientists, and fishermen.
In 2017, ACCSP transitioned from a standalone program, administered by the Commission, to a full program under the Commission umbrella. The move has increased ACCSP’s visibility among partners and stakeholders, encouraged greater participation by the states in the program’s data collection and management efforts, and enhanced coordination between fisheries data experts and the Commission staff.
For more information on the program, please visit www.accsp.org.