Net Gains Alliance
Oceans cover almost 75% of our planet, and sit at the very foundation of our societal, culture, and ecological well-being. Yet, throughout the world, the management of our oceans and related marine resources, especially fisheries, is reliant on archaic, stove-piped information management systems that are inadequate to serve the needs of governmental managers, the fishing industry or the public. Although new technology in critical areas like on-the-water monitoring and data collection are now available and continue to emerge, the existing management and technology infrastructure is so outdated that it cannot support nor successfully integrate with modern advances and solutions. Without an investment in upgraded technology infrastructure and management systems, we are placing our critical marine ecosystems, marine economies, and ultimately our entire planet at risk.
What can be done?
Effective management of information is vital to the current and future well-being of the world’s marine resources. Systems that constructively manage the people, processes and technology utilized in interactions with our oceans enable necessary control over the structure, processing, delivery and usage of information. Today’s information includes both electronic and physical components and our systems must be capable of managing this information throughout its lifecycle regardless of source or format – data, paper and electronic documents and files, audio, video, and the like – for delivery through multiple channels, outlets and interfaces. Fostering and enabling these sound, well-functioning systems will ensure that we can sustainably utilize our oceans to provide for both our immediate needs and those of future generations.
In the United States, the Fishing Data Innovation Task Force began in 2016. The Task Force, including representatives from NGOs, the fishing industry, and other fisheries experts, saw improving the U.S. fisheries data system as a critical advancement to meet key conservation and economic goals and released the Net Gains Report in early 2017. Since then, Task Force members have engaged stakeholders and have found growing support for partnership at the national and regional levels.
How Net Gains Alliance is meeting the challenge:
Using a partnership-based model, the Net Gains Alliance was formed to continue to facilitate the development, implementation and adaptation of robust information management systems and modernize the outdated, fragmented systems that are currently used in the U.S. to manage our oceans and marine resources. The Net Gains Alliance focuses on several interwoven strategies:
- Driving national and regional policy improvement necessary to facilitate systemic change;
- Catalyzing implementation projects that can unlock and demonstrate the power of better fisheries information; and
- Creating a virtual network of change agents and building a constituency for modernization.
The Net Gains Alliance also plans to export the knowledge, resources and other benefits resulting from its U.S.-based focus to align with other entities seeking to accomplish similar outcomes in the other major jurisdictions around the world.