PacFIN Brief for 2005

[Complete 2005 PSMFC Annual Report (9.3 MB pdf)]

During 2005, development efforts in the PacFIN office were focused on: the QSM subsystem including: incorporation of discard rates and discard estimates, lowest-level catch areas for CDFG, preliminary and/or final At-sea data from NORPAC database, addition of pacific cod catches, and projected catch, at-sea tribal catches; continuing refinement of the confidentiality policy; BDS subsystem improvements; WOC LBK subsystem improvements; analysis for a QSM-like system for the Coastal Pelagic management group; retrieval projects for NMFS and PFMC; an all-species report for tribal data; DFO, Canada datafeeds for 1996 through 2004; PWHT data for NWFSC oceanographic study; retrievals for NWR open-access study; development of the VDRFD table; retrievals for NWFSC ecosystem modeling project; development of data sets for SWFSC economic studies; standard reports for NOAA-Enforcements VMS enforcement; USCG request via NMFS/ST1 for vessel characteristics by port; and enhancements to the OMIBBFEE table for NMFS/FSD.

The PacFIN Office processed 208 data feeds from eight data sources and responded to 152 requests-for-information. There were 501,935 visits to the PacFIN website for an average of 41,828 visits per month. This compares to 17,021 per month in 2004 and 14,283 per month in 2003.

Quota Species Monitoring (QSM) Subsystem

Continuing on with the on going enhancements from the previous 6-month period, discard rates derived from the NMFS Westcoast Observer program have been incorporated into the QSM Best Estimate Report (BER). These discard rates, posted to an Oracle table by the NMFS/NWR, are applied to both the hard and soft components of the estimated W-O-C catch producing a discard estimate for many of the species-area combinations included on the report. Part of this effort included re-working the underlying weekly reported catches data for CDFG such that catch is now reported by EK, MT, and CP areas instead of a single coastwide value. This was required since two sets of discard rates are provided, one for North (VN-CL-EK) and one for South ((MT-CP).

Along with the tribal and at-sea data provided last fall, the QSM Best Estimate Report (BER) now includes essentially all removals for many of the species-areas included on the report.

An SQLPlus program that computes correction factors for any time-period was developed. Also, the generation of the BER was implemented using and SQLPlus program. This is the first step in a larger project that will re-develop the QSM subsystem using Oracle programming languages exclusively instead of a combination of C and Oracle.

Sometime after incorporation of the at-sea data in the QSM BER, enhancements were made to the refresh_npac4900 program to include both preliminary and final data from the NMFS/AFSC NORPAC database, which includes the observer data from the at-sea pacific whiting fishery. This adjustment allows a more complete estimate of catch to be included in the BER.

At the request of the PFMC GMT, the QSM subsystem was expanded by incorporating four enhancements. This work was done during October through January. Catch estimates and other metrics for pacific cod (PCOD) for all PFMC areas have been included in the BER. Projected-catch through bi-monthly periods has been added to the BER. Projected-catch data is provided by the NWR, via an on-line Oracle table, and based on catch projections produced by the NWFSC. As the best estimate of catch for each two month period becomes available, it is used to replace the projected catch for that period. Thus the projected-catch will approximate the best estimate of catch by the end of each calendar year. Tribal catch for all species within the at-sea fishery has been separated from the non-tribal at-sea catches. These at-sea data are derived from the AFSCs NORPAC database. On the BE report the tribal at sea catches are combined with the shoreside tribal landings. For columns: total-estimated-catch, harvest guidelines (HGs), and projected-catch, the units displayed are now 0.1 metric-tons instead of metric-tons. This was in response to the small HGs of 22.7 mt for canary rockfish and 6.4 mt for yelloweye rockfish.

Confidentiality Policy

The proposed, de-facto PCFDC policy on Access to Confidential Data was changed somewhat following guidance by the PCFDC membership in November 2004. Some additional comments and suggestions were received. None of the PCFDC data source agencies submitted a statement ratifying this policy. This effort to formalize access to confidential data was initiated in November 2001. This issue will once again be taken up at the November 2005 PCFDC meeting.

W-O-C Permit Data

During November and December some last minute questions and issues were raised by WDFW. These questions and issues were resolved and WDFW submitted their first datafeed containing W-O-C Permit Data in January. So the W-O-C Permit subsystem is now complete and is an integral part of the PacFIN system. Data will be provided by each data source monthly and/or as available.

Biological Data Subsystem (BDS)

There was a great deal of activity and progress surrounding the BDS system. As a result of various requests coming from many different users and these various users conducting their data analyses, a number of shortcomings in the BDS were discovered and corresponding solutions implemented. In addition, there were many BDS datafeeds processed.

In February, a request by David Sampson for dover sole BDS data was satisfied in consultation with Ian Stewart.

In March, Jean Rogers made an inquiry regarding column bds_fish.freq. After considerable analysis by the group it was determined that this data column was not being set consistent from state to state. The issue was resolved by translating all occurrences of null to one and adding clarifying documentation that explains that column freq can represent more than one fish for ODFW. Each data source was requested to modify their BDS PacFIN transaction generation software to reflect this specification change/clarification.

In May, ODFW issues concerning YTRK vs YTR1 and fish-weight = 0 came to the fore. The resolution to these was that ODFW corrected their BDS agency-code-list transactions so that only scientifically-defined species codes (e.g. YTRK) are used in these transactions. ODFW also agreed to set fish-weight = null instead of zero, since using zero contaminates statistics unless special software code is employed. These changes brought ODFW in alignment with the other two data sources.

In June, a missing port code request from the NWFSC was resolved. In July, as part of responding to MRAGs data requests, it was discovered that the market-category column in table bds_sample must be processed in three different ways, one for each data source. Although the code has been developed to handle these incompatible data, the solution is complex enough that a more complete solution is desirable. The author speculates that this situation was discovered only last month because this market-category column has not been used by any BDS user until this MRAG study. The more complete, final solution to this issue is pending.

Also in July, the question of why WDFW leaves column fish_age_final set to null even though this data column was added to the specification solely at WDFWs request was investigated with WDFW personnel. This issue has not been resolved, and most of the bds_fish records submitted by WDFW still contain null for fish_age_final.

And finally, in July ODFW modified their software to set column AGE in table bds_age to null instead of zero. Zeros for this column are not desirable since they contaminate statistics without special software. This fix caused many deletes, which upon analysis were determined to be not necessary nor desirable since bds_age records without an age (i.e. age = null) have no meaning.

All of these issues, problems, analyses, and solutions when take together amount to considerable progress toward an improved BDS dataset.

W-O-C Trawl Logbook (LBK) Subsystem

During April, it was discovered that fishing depth data had been inadvertently excluded from the 2004 LBK data previously provided by ODFW. One of the PacFIN system improvements instituted as a result of this event is a new report that displays basic statistics for each of the fishing depth data items. Fishing depth data for all data sources and all data years are included in this report. This new product is posted to the website following each LBK update processing event. Hopefully, this kind of reporting will alert LBK data users to this kind of situation as early as possible. This missing fishing depth data was entered by ODFW and it was incorporated into the central processing system on June 15th.

Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS)

In February, a member of the CPS Management Team (CPSMT) made a request for PacFIN to implement a QSM-like system for pacific sardine and chub (pacific) mackerel. In addition, standard catch reports for All CPS species, to include month, state, and area were requested.

Following an analysis, a proposal to include data for pacific sardine in the weekly QSM data flow was put to the W-O-C PacFIN Coordinators. In addition it was pointed out to the CPSMT that monthly catch data for all species is available via the PacFIN password-protected webpage.

After considerable e-mail correspondence, the CPSMT decided that initiating a weekly datafeed of soft data for any of the CPS species was pre-mature. On the reporting side, the CPSMT agreed that the existing monthly retrieval capability via the password-protected webpage was sufficient for now.

Projects for NMFS and PFMC

In February, PacFIN received a request from the Financial Services Division (FSD) of the NMFS Office of Management and Budget to help them determine where the record of catch data for direct sales from vessels to the public could be found within PacFIN. After some analysis and questions posed to the W-O-C data sources, it was confirmed that all catch, direct sales or otherwise, are included in the PacFIN database and that this will show up in the OMIBBFEE data table assigned to some processor code. Thus no catch data should be escaping the FSD scrutiny that is part of their monitoring of the vessel buyback fees.

In May, the same NMFS/OMB/FSD office requested an augmentation to the OMIBBFEE table. The count of fish-tickets for each buyer-date-mgrp/spid is now included. This Oracle table was re-summarized for 1987-2005.

In April, PFMC staff requested PacFIN Office help on their Allocation Committee task of splitting commercial catch and revenue summary data into 9 commercial sectors. After some group analysis with PFMC staff the solution implemented was a further expansion of the VFCMRFD summary table. This table now includes columns prmtlst, gr_endors, len_endors, and sabltiers. These four columns are potentially concatenated text items incorporating data from multiple permits. Table VFCMRFD is a production table and is refreshed at least monthly. This project was accomplished in a very short time frame: April 12-15.

Towards the end of July, staff of the NWFSC in Newport, Oregon requested fishing location data on an annual basis for a study of the distribution of pacific whiting versus oceanographic conditions. The initial request consisted of annual set latitude, set longitude, number of sets, and number of vessels. By the time the request was completed, catch data and month of catch had been requested and incorporated included. The time-series included was 1986 through 2004. Pacific whiting data was selected from both the WOC Trawl Logbook data within the PacFIN central database, as well as the NMFS/AFSCs NORPAC database. This project was completed by the first week of August.

In late July, the staff of the NMFS/NWR requested development of software and resulting datafiles that would identify directed open access vessels so that the Council can make allocative decisions. In addition this data would be used to identify vessels that may be required to carry a tracking system for enforcement purposes. As a result of cooperative analysis it was decided to use a criteria of 50% or greater of revenue as the criteria for determining groundfish trips. As a result of discussions at the 9-1-05 PMFC GMT meeting that solidified the importance of applying species-comp data at the trip level, the specification and end products for this project where modified and refined. By the middle of September this project had been completed. The resulting data set included: fleet (LE, OA), trip (vessel-date), principal management-group and species using both revenue and round-weight pounds, list of permits, and the other usual data elements: species, area, gear, port, and processor.

An important by-product of this project was the development of the VDRFD table. This vessel summary table is the fourth in a sequence of vessel-summary rockfish-distributed data sets (VSYRFD, VSMRFD, VFCMRFD, VDRFD). The refresh_vdrfd program, which generates the VDRFD table, produces a data set that provides the best (only?) estimate of catch by area and species for each fishing trip for all species within all fisheries.

During the first week of August, staff from the NMFS/NWFSC requested fish-ticket (FT) and logbook data for an ecosystem modeling project, which will be used in a model for the California Current covering Cape Flattery to Point Conception and out to a depth of 2400m (1313f). This model is intended to inform PFMC management. Quarterly summations of W-O-C trawl logbook data and data for the at-sea pacific whiting fishery (NORPAC) were merged for 1987 thru 2004. This logbook data was fitted into nine ocean areas and seven depth bins specified by the client. Quarterly catch for individual species, gear-type, port, area, depth, number-of-vessels, number-of-tows, and FT-adjusted catch was provided during the first half of August. In addition a comparable effort data set, without species, was included. Comparable quarterly FT catch and effort data for the same time period was provided during September by way of the VDRFD table, which includes improved distribution of catch to area and species since catch-by-area (ACM) proportions and species-comp (SCM) proportions are combined with FT monthly catch data.

During September, a request from the economics staff of the SWFSC at Santa Cruz was received. The purpose of this requested data is to develop a comprehensive picture of coastwide fishing activity at the trip and vessel level, and to demonstrate how trends in activity in the various fisheries have affected processing infrastructure in fishing communities. Once again the VDRFD table was used as the underlying table for this application primarily to garner the best area-of-catch data. This application consolidates catch areas into PFMC INPFC areas, Alaska, Puget Sound, Columbia River, Wash. Coastal streams, and North/South of Cape Falcon. This application uses the fish-ticket market-category (column ftl_spid) rather than the species-comp derived rockfish species. The data for 1981 thru 2004 was made available to the requester by the end of September.

In late August, NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, NW Division (NOAA-E) made a request for access to data in the central database in order to fulfill the regulatory VMS requirement of LE-permitted vessels under the PFMC GMT FMP. The initial action was to request approval from the W-O-C PCFDC members to grant confidential access to NOAA-E. Two of the three W-O-C data sources approved the request. Subsequent to that, it was determined that access to confidential data by NOAA-E was not required. Non-confidential reports were proposed and two reports were developed that include: report #1: year, coastwide vessel-id (USCG Doc #), ticket-date, agency, fish-ticket-id, and NWR-LE permit-id(s); and report #2: year, CWVID, earliest and latest ticket dates, number of trips, NWR-LE permit-id(s). These reports are posted monthly (or semi-monthly) to a PSMFC/PacFIN webpage setup for exclusive use by NOAA-E.

During the second half of October, the Standards and Analysis Division of the USCG requested, via NMFS/ST1, certain data for each U.S. port and number of trips. Their request stipulated: port; state; USCG doc # or state number (e.g. CF1234XY); gross tonnage of vessel; length of vessel; gear type; and number-of-trips. Note: state vessel numbers are also USCG-mandated vessel identifiers. After considerable analysis and discussion with the requestor, permanent PacFIN central database table vesportgr was developed with columns: year, agency, port, vessel-id, vessel-type, principal gear, number-of-trips, USCG gross weight and length, and state net weight and length. The vesportgr table was populated with data for 2004 and 2005 and the NMFS/ST1 staff accessed the data from this table.

In mid October, a systems change request from the Financial Services Division (FSD) in the NMFS Office of Management and Budget was received. This request was developed after some discussion with FSD staff. This request pertained to the OMIBBFEE permanent PacFIN table which is used by FSD staff to monitor the payment of fees for the 2003 vessel buyback program. The change request included restricting the fish-ticket records included to trawl only, adding a column for participant-group in order to identify tribal catches; and adding a column to identify landings of Canadian vessels. This system enhancement was completed by the middle of November.

During the last week of October, a request from the NMFS/ST1 for access to confidential fish-ticket data for a National database for sociocultural indicators and their constituent variables was received. A request for clarification of the request resulted in a response from staff at the NWFSC indicating that what was being requested was access to the fish-ticket data developed for the Community Profile for Year 2000 project, which had been provide by PacFIN to NWFSC staff during 2004. Following a PacFIN request for a detailed clarification of the restrictions on data application and the temporary use of the data, the NWFSC staff provided this in the form of a letter to the PCFDC W-O-C representatives. This letter included reference to National Standard 8, the importance of fishery resources to communities, and that the 2000 Community Profile Project data had already been used for the current trawl IQ development exercise. After considerable telephone and e-mail discussion, this request was approved by the PCFDC W-O-C representatives by the first week of December.


During February, report #319 was developed and posted to the password-protected webpage. This report includes Washington Tribal data only and is similar to reports 307-310. This annual report of tribal catches for each species contains confidential statistics.

During April, the Department of Fisheries, Canada (DFO) submitted datafeeds for 1996 thru 2004. These data were processed in the usual manner incorporating this DFO groundfish-only data into the central database. DFO has classified the 1996-1999 data as final and the 2000-2004 as preliminary.

In February, the PacFIN Manager participated in the PacFIN Funding Meeting held in Portland at PSMFC Headquarters. The PacFIN Manager attended the Trawl IQ Committee Meeting in Portland.

In April the PacFIN Manager attended the WDFW pacific halibut (PHLB) dressed vs round weight meeting in Olympia.

During May, the PacFIN Manager meet with Runi Vilhelm of MRAG on the 9th and the 13th. A considerable effort, including production of data files and gathering of documents was expended during May and again in July, in support of his documentation and analysis project.