Top fisheries data expert from Iceland shares expertise with CRFM countries

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Dr. Einar Hjörleifsson (left) seen chatting with June Masters about plans and possibilities for supporting CRFM fisheries data experts
Dr. Einar Hjörleifsson (left) seen chatting with June Masters about plans and possibilities for supporting CRFM fisheries data experts

Belize City, Friday, 13 January 2017 (CRFM)—Through the long-standing partnership between the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the United Nations University Fisheries Technical Programme (UNU-FTP) in Iceland, the University has deployed one of Iceland’s top fisheries data experts to the CRFM’s Secretariat for a short site-based assignment, to provide operational support and guidance at the country level for improving the management and usage of fisheries data systems.

The visiting expert is Dr. Einar Hjörleifsson, who has been working at the Marine Research Institute, Iceland, since 1996. Dr. Hjörleifsson’s primary role has been data analysis and stock assessment. Over the same time, he has been working at the UNU-FTP in a role as a teacher and student supervisor. During his visit to the Caribbean, Dr. Hjörleifsson will be working under the guidance of CRFM’s Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Susan Singh-Renton.[su_box title=”Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism” style=”soft” box_color=”#54c0f0″]The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) was officially inaugurated on 27 March 2003 in Belize City, Belize, where it is headquartered, following the signing of the “Agreement Establishing the CRFM” on February 4, 2002. It is an inter-governmental organization whose mission is “to promote and facilitate the responsible utilization of the region’s fisheries and other aquatic resources for the economic and social benefits of the current and future population of the region.”[/su_box]

Dr. Singh-Renton emphasised that, “Dr. Hjörleifsson’s present assignment with the CRFM is intended to allow him to give special ‘on-the-ground’ attention to all aspects of the fisheries data systems in two CRFM countries that have made reasonable investments both for the present and the future of their data systems. Hence, the assignment is expected to build further on such investments.”

CRFM’s Statistics and Information Analyst, June Masters, who will also be working closely with Dr. Hjörleifsson, expects that, “The countries involved will get the opportunity to critically examine their respective fisheries data collection system and make improvements where possible.”
Fortunately, Dr. Hjörleifsson has worked with the CRFM on previous occasions on behalf of the UNU-FTP, to deliver training in statistics and stock assessment to CRFM fisheries professionals, and so he is no stranger to the data challenges in the CRFM countries.

As he began his assignment this week with gathering information on the status of data systems and their usage in the CRFM region, and holding discussions with key informants both at the national and regional levels, Dr. Hjörleifsson indicated that his first aim would be to “enhance skills and increase efficiency in fisheries data analysis and report writing.”

While efforts to improve data management have been sustained over the years through various regional initiatives and also since the founding of the CRFM in 2002, data management remains a significant stumbling block for advancing fisheries management goals within the region and globally. Hence, CRFM very much welcomes the present visit by Dr. Hjörleifsson, which will help CRFM States to take a fresh look at an old problem!

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