Tonga has a relatively small and localised tuna fishery comprised of both National (Flag State) and Foreign longline fleet (Coastal state). Some catch is landed in Tonga for export or for the local market, while other catch is exported, adding value to the economy of the kingdom of Tonga. The Tonga fisheries department collects data on this fishery for scientific, compliance and fisheries management purposes.
Tonga is using two data collection applications developed by SPC. These applications were developed to assist countries like Tonga in their tuna data collection work.
First, there is the OnBoard application. OnBoard is used by longline fishing vessels fishing in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean to collect and transmit logsheet data, otherwise known as eLOGs. Electronic logsheet data consists of listing the daily activities undertaken by the vessel, including the position and start time of each activity. For fishing set activities, the vessel Captain provides an exhaustive list of fish caught each day (retained and discarded) as well as information on the fishing effort (number of hooks used and hooks between floats).
Second, there is the OnShore application. OnShore is used by fisheries officers and port samplers in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean to collect and transmit longline catch and biological information. The data collected include links to OnBoard data, catch composition by species, fish weights, lengths and consumer market.
OnBoard and OnShore are available on Android and Windows 10 operating systems. They are available in English, French and Chinese. OnBoard and Onshore can remotely send data to the regional web database at SPC. Once in the system, the data can be viewed and edited by Pacific Islands fisheries agencies, in near real-time.
Let’s see how it operates with Lavinia Vaipuna who is working for the Tongan Ministry of Fisheries as Head of Information Technology, where she is in charge of the country’s tuna data. In 2019, Lavinia was on a one-year work assignment at SPC Headquarters in Noumea to strengthen her skills on e-reporting tools and tuna data management.