Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism

Guide to use of Reference Terms for Document and Data upload

For the Purposes of clarity and ease of user search of the database, the CRFM encourages users to apply standard descriptors adopted for the FAO Fishery Resource Monitoring System. This will facilitate additions and updates of the database in a manner that will facilitate broad use and compatibility with other fishery databases.

The following FIRMS Reference terms have been extracted from the Reference Table Management System (RTMS). Information on the FIRMS definitions is provided below.

General descriptors:

  • Climatic Zone
    • Polar
    • Temperate
    • Tropical
  • Bottom Type
    • Seagrass
    • Coral reef
    • Soft bottom
    • Hard bottom
    • Unspecified
    • Mangrove
  • Depth Zone
    • Coastal
    • Shelf
    • Slope
    • Abyssal
    • Unspecified
  • Horizontal Distribution
    • Littoral
    • Estuarine
    • Neritic
    • Oceanic
    • Unspecified
    • Inland waters
  • Vertical Distribution
    • Demersal/Benthic
    • Pelagic
    • Unspecified
  • Spatial scale

    • Global
    • Regional
    • Sub-Regional
    • National
    • Local
    • Unspecified
  • Jurisdictional distribution

    • National
    • Shared between nations
    • Straddling between High Seas and EEZ
    • Highly migratory
    • High Seas Purely
    • Unspecified

Assessment descriptors:

  • Assessment Model

    • Age-Structured
    • Size-Structured
    • Biomass-Aggregated
    • Others
  • Assessment Data

    • Fishery Catch and Effort
    • Vessel Surveys
    • Tagging
    • Remote Sensing
    • Environmental Data
    • Others
  • Assessment Indicator

    • Biomass
    • Abundance
    • Exploitation rate
    • SSB
    • Recruitment
    • Fishing mortality
    • Average weight
    • Average length
    • Others
  • Reference Point

    • MSY
    • Others

Stock status descriptors:

  • Exploitation Rate

    • No or low fishing mortality
    • Moderate fishing mortality
    • High fishing mortality
    • Uncertain/Not assessed
    • Not provided
  • Abundance level

    • Pre-exploitation biomass or high abundance
    • Intermediate abundance
    • Low abundance
    • Depleted
    • Uncertain/Not assessed
    • Not provided
  • Exploitation State

    • Recovering
    • Depleted
    • Fully exploited
    • Moderately exploited
    • No-specific assessment
    • Overexploited
    • Uncertain
    • Underexploited
    • Unexploited
    • Not provided

FIRMS concepts' definitions

Definitions based on the FAO Fisheries Glossary have been proposed for the core concepts considered in the Partnership Arrangement for reporting in FIRMS.

Aquatic Resource : Biotic element of the aquatic ecosystem, including genetic resources, organisms or parts thereof, populations, etc. with actual or potential use or value (sensu lato) for humanity. Fishery resources are those aquatic resources of value to fisheries. FAO Fisheries Glossary.

Fishery Resource : In general, refers to elements of a natural aquatic resource (e.g. strains, species, populations, stocks, assemblages) which can be legally caught by fishing. It may sometimes be taken as including also the habitat of such resources.

Stock : A group of individuals in a species occupying a well defined spatial range independent of other stocks of the same species. It can be affected by random dispersal movements and directed migrations due to seasonal or reproductive activity.

Fishery : A Fishery is an activity leading to the harvesting of fish, within the boundaries of a defined area. The fishery concept fundamentally gathers indication of human fishing activity, including from economic, management, biological/ environmental and technological viewpoints.

Management unit : Is a Fishery unit considered by an Authority for a purpose of management, usually within a jurisdiction and/or with established legal rights. Jurisdiction is interpreted here as the limits or territory within which some authority may be exercised.

Management : The art of taking measures affecting a resource and its exploitation with a view to achieving certain objectives, such as the maximisation of the production of that resource. Management includes, for example, fishery regulations such as catch quotas or closed seasons. Managers are those who practice management.

Management authority : The legal entity which has been assigned by a State or States with a mandate to perform certain specified management functions in relation to a fishery, or an area (e.g. a coastal zone). Generally used to refer to a state authority, the term may also refer to an international management organization. Examples of a Management authority ara a regional body, a state, provincial government, or local fishing community.

Management System : Functional system governed by an authority having a mandate to perform specified management functions focusing on a territory, a production system or a fishery. This functional system is usually formalised through a legal framework. Examples of production systems as understood here are: Marine Capture fisheries, Inland Capture fisheries, Coastal fisheries, Culture based fisheries, Aquaculture. The degree of formalisation of a Management system may vary from thoroughly established systems driven by a Regional Fishery Commission, to a recognised traditional rights based system at fishermen community level.

Modelling of concepts in the FIRMS application

FIRMS will fundamentally manage objects from 3 information domains:

  • Fishery represents the exploitation and usage dimension. It covers the previously defined term Fishery and therefore that of Management Unit.
  • Aquatic Resource represents the biological dimension. It covers the previously defined terms aquatic resource, fishery resource and stock.
  • Management System describes the institutional framework and the set of rules used to reach management objectives.

The concept of Management Unit in FIRMS

According to the terms previously defined, a Management Unit is a Fishery, and a Fishery may be defined from a biological perspective by reference to an exploited Aquatic Resource. In order to avoid the duplication of objects, which could be a source of confusion for the user and would dissociate information that a partner would prefer to be displayed together, the FIRMS Aquatic Resource concept may also represent a Management Unit. Having this qualifier, an Aquatic Resource can be the subject of detailed reporting on management. But detailed information related to exploitation is restricted to objects of the Fishery domain. From a software system view point, what fundamentally differentiate these domains are the attributes used to identify each instance object (key attributes), a set of attributes used to classify the objects in categories and a set of topics subject of reporting.

Marine Resource

Key attributes

  • Species or group of species,
  • Area of distribution

Reporting topics

  • Habitat and Biology
  • Geographical distribution
  • Water Area Overview
  • Structure (see below section on relationships)
  • Exploitation (Fishery overview)
  • Assessment (available data, method, results and scientific advice)
  • Management Overview*
  • Biological state and trend (including a status of exploitation typology)
  • Statistics
  • Historical data, Bibliographic References and Source of information


Key attributes

  • Fishing Area
  • Other key descriptor of the fishing activity: Fishing Gear(s), Vessel type(s), Fishing techniques(s), Fishing community(ies), Flag State(s), Fishing port(s), Exploitation Form, Handling mode, Target species

Reporting Topics

  • Description of
  • Fishing Season
  • Target, Bycatch, Discard and Incidental Species
  • Fishing Area
  • Fishing Gear
  • Vessel type
  • Fishing technique
  • Fishing community
  • Exploitation Form
  • Handling mode description
  • Overview of the Management System
  • Exploitation (including available data, indicators and biological assessment overview)
  • Management Overview *
  • Status and trends (including a status of exploitation typology)
  • Production System (including available data, socio-economic indicators)
  • Post harvest information
  • Issues
  • Historical data, Bibliographic References and Source of information * If the Aquatic Resource or the Fishery is a Management Unit, the management topic might be detailed using the following sub-topics:
  • Objectives
  • Strategies
  • Methods
  • Advices
  • Resolutions
  • Problems

Management System

Key attributes

  • The mandated authorities: country or institution
  • Focus of management: a jurisdiction area, a sector (e.g. Inland fishery, marine Fishery, etc..) or a fishery

Reporting Topics

  • The legal framework reflecting the formal status of the management system
  • Jurisdiction Overview
  • The participating institutions and their mandates
  • Structure of the Management System, including references to other related management systems
  • References to the Management Units focus of the application of selected policies, management methods and measures
  • Management Objectives
  • Management Strategies
  • Management Methods, including Method performance
  • Management Resolutions
  • Management Problems
  • Historical data, Bibliographic References and Source of information