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So Who Manages Our Fisheries Data?!

Barry Clifford - GARFO Analysis and Program Support Division

We need a great deal of data to manage our fisheries effectively. Barry Clifford, in our Analysis and Program Support Division, is now coordinating the ongoing efforts that we started in 2013, working with our regional Northeast Fisheries Science Center to modernize our fishery dependent data collections.

What is fishery dependent data? It is information on landings, catches and discards, fishing locations, and gear types that fish dealers and commercial and recreational fishermen submit to us. Together, we use these data to inform stock assessments and fisheries regulatory decision-making.  

The purpose of this effort, known as the Visioning Project, is to more effectively combine all of our data sources so that they can be stored in one place and used more efficiently. To do so, we envision an electronic trip identifier that will link the data reported by fishermen for each fishing trip to other fisheries dependent data collection systems, such as dealer and observer reports. By better connecting all of these data sources together, we gain a more complete understanding of our fisheries.

So far, we’ve produced a detailed set of recommendations that staff from our Regional Office, Science Center, and the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) are working together to implement. These actions include addressing operational issues in our current data collection systems, and developing the systems needed to build the data warehouse that will be kept at ACCSP. Coordination among these three parties is essential to the success of our Visioning Project, and this is where our new Fishery Dependent Data Coordinator, Barry Clifford, comes in! 

Barry will work on behalf of both our Regional Office and Science Center to coordinate the Visioning Project and its activities. He will work with our regional and ACCSP staff to ensure clear and timely communication, and continue fulfilling agreed upon goals. Barry has a varied background that includes years of project management experience in the private sector, followed by more than ten years of experience working in various aspects of our region's fishery data collection program. He brings the technical knowledge and professional experience needed to handle this challenging assignment.       

If you have any questions, Barry can be reached at 978-281-9148, or email him at