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Partnerships and Collaboration

Marine fisheries data collection, reporting, analysis, and management are inherently regional functions. Because each stakeholder and region has unique data needs and management challenges, there will never be a “one-size-fits-all” data approach. However, as demand grows for information that is more timely, accurate, interconnected, easily accessible, and regionally comparable, so grows the need for cross-regional strategies to capture and share best practices, spark innovation, integrate information, and facilitate coordinated priority-setting.


The Fisheries Information System program fosters partnerships that enable stakeholders to benefit from a range of data improvement projects, whether conducted in a nearby state or across the country. FIS drives collaboration that bridges knowledge gaps, improves the flow of information and brings disparate parties together to build a community of expertise focused on common fisheries data needs.

How It Works

The FIS Program Management Team sets budgetary and policy direction. Members include representatives from NOAA Headquarters, Regional Offices and Science Centers, Fisheries Information Networks, and State and Territorial Marine Fisheries Science and Management Agencies. The PMT’s Core Business Team oversees FIS implementation, and day-to-day operation is managed by the Program Manager and Program Director.

The regional Fisheries Information Networks play a critical role for FIS as the link to state and regional collection programs. FINs act both as key data contributors and as liaisons for identifying and working to meet state and regional data needs.

The FIS Professional Specialty Groups provide technical expertise and help guide priority setting in a specific research or program area. The PSGs are made up of subject matter experts drawn from NOAA and other partner agencies. 

Centers of Expertise

The FIS Centers of Expertise series, hosted by the Electronic Reporting and Access and Dissemination Professional Specialty Groups, provide solutions to real-world issues in creating and maintaining data improvement programs. A recent presentation discussed solutions to integrate electronic monitoring technologies into fisheries-dependent data collection as an alternative to onboard observers, particularly on North Pacific groundfish and Pacific halibut fisheries vessels where space for human observers is limited and safety is a concern.

You can find recordings and materials from past presentations, as well as information on upcoming presentations here.

The Electronic Reporting Inventory

The ER Inventory catalogs a large and growing number of NOAA-supported ER projects across the country, running from those in initial planning phases to systems that are fully implemented. The searchable database includes details such as the goal and scope of the initiative, collection methods, data transmission protocols, and team lead contact information. It provides a centralized point of reference for individuals or teams exploring electronic reporting solutions for their office or region, helping to avoid duplication of efforts, make the most of lessons learned, and spur innovation.

The Quality Management and Continuous Improvement Toolbox

The Quality Management and Continuous Improvement Toolbox provides a centralized space for the QM & CI PSG to provide proven resources and tools that have been used throughout NOAA Fisheries to understand and enhance the processes to improve and effectively manage fisheries-dependent data. The Toolbox is regularly updated with tools and instructional information, including why and how to use the tools; step-by-step instructions; relevant templates and worksheets; specific examples of how the tool has been implemented and lessons learned; and contact information for QM & CI Ambassadors who can provide technical support and training.