Alaska fisheries managers are marking milestones in September of the Interagency Electronic Reporting System, better known as eLandings.
According to NOAA Fisheries, the innovative system has resulted in 500,000 landing reports over the past decade.
Staff from NOAA Fisheries, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the International Pacific Halibut Commission collaborated and worked with industry members to develop the reporting system, at industry’s request, to meet current and future reporting requirements for the agencies and industry. The resulting eLandings has provided more efficient, accurate and timelier means of fishery reporting, NOAA Fisheries said.
Bruce Leaman, executive director of the IPHC, said these milestones represent a major increment in data capabilities for the eLandings team members at ADF&G, NOAA Fisheries, and the IPHC. “The system has also replaced inefficient and duplicate reporting requirements for our industry and allowed both the agencies and the industry to significantly reduce costs,” he said.
ADF&G Commissioner Sam Cotten credited eLandings with making a big improvement in the timeliness and quality of the information used in fisheries management. “Electronic reporting has also enabled the department to reduce our printing and data entry costs, which is critical in today’s fiscal climate,” he said.
And Jim Balsiger, Alaska regional administrator of NOAA Fisheries, said that “the fact that we have a single reporting platform shared among three fisheries management agencies – one international, one federal, and one state – is especially unique.”
The three agencies launched eLandings a decade ago to bring Alaska fisheries reporting into the modern era, and to consolidate reports to all three agencies. The program was first implemented for the rationalized crab program in 2005. Subsequently, eLandings was expanded into individual fishing quota sablefish and halibut, groundfish and more recently salmon.
A recent cost-benefits evaluation of eLandings concluded that the reporting system has met its goals, including eliminating the requirements for industry to report the same information more than once. An additional benefit, NOAA officials said, has been improved communication between the seafood industry and agency staff, as well as opportunities for the exchange of ideas on how to improve the system.