A database is being developed to improve the storage and analysis of fisheries data as part of larger efforts to support research and decision-making for fisheries management in the territory, according to government.

Last month, officials in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, and the Premier’s Office were trained in the database, which uses the Geographic Information System. The Oct. 24-28 training and wider marine governance discussions were headed by representatives from the United Kingdom government’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences, known as “Cefas.”

They included Senior GIS Analyst Dr. Roi Martinez, GIS Analyst William Procter, and UK Cefas Senior Scientific Advisor Dr. Leila Fonseca.

Abbi Christopher, assistant fisheries officer in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, said, “We are excited for the opportunity to implement what we have learned during the course of this training for better fisheries management in the territory.”

Dr. Fonseca described the Cefas visit as “an extremely valuable opportunity for Cefas GIS specialists to share expert knowledge and to tailor project outputs to the unique requirements of the government of the Virgin Islands.”

The visit was part of the Darwin Plus-funded project “Capacity Building in Fisheries Evidence, Networks, and Management (Virgin Islands),” government stated.

That project aims to enhance the knowledge and capacity of public officers, fishers and key fisheries stakeholders. It also seeks to improve the collation and display of fisheries data and evidence, according to government.