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10.1 Introduction

The importance of concluding with a short chapter concerning future trends and developments is in response to the rate of change which is apparent in the subject matters which we have discussed. If a subject constitutes an area which is comparatively static in terms of its progress or development, then presumably its contents can be reviewed without the need to make many conjectures or prognoses, except perhaps in terms of summarising what has been discussed. The subject matter of this Technical Paper certainly does not come under this category. The rate of change in the area of fisheries management is rapid, if not in practice then certainly in necessity. But the rate of change in the whole area of computer applications to management is probably far more rapid, and certainly progress in GIS is no exception. Figure 10.1 outlines these rapid developments by showing the life cycles of various facets of GIS, and from these cycles an estimation is given of the likely changes over the next five years (shaded area). Given this rapidity of change in both the fisheries and GIS scenes, then we can foresee a myriad of initiatives and developments, which need to be highlighted. This can probably best be accomplished by looking first at some likely developments in fisheries management which have a spatial component, and then by looking at future trends in GIS together with both negative and positive factors which are likely to effect its progress.

Figure 10.1

Figure 10.1 Innovative Life Cycles in Various Facets of GIS (after Maguire and Dangermond,1994)

10.2 Future Developments in Fisheries Management Having a Spatial Perspective

One valid means of assessing the future direction in which fisheries management needs might take is to look at the proposed fisheries research agenda. Thus, if there has been a perceived need for a specific area of research then this must be as a consequence of the recognition that an aspect of management was in need of improvement. Figure 10.2 shows a summary of future research needs as proposed by the World Bank, in conjunction with the EC and the UNDP and FAO of the UN (World Bank, 1992). A casual perusal reveals the strong spatial element which pervades many of these headings. We intend here to briefly comment on some of the areas mentioned where GIS could play a leading part, and discuss some further important innovations. Even though they have a strong spatial connotation, we will not discuss factors which are of a more obvious and general nature such as “maintaining environmental quality” or “conservation of ecosystems and genetic diversity”.

Figure 10.2

Figure 10.2 Summary of the Applied Fishery Research needs as Seen by The World Bank

(a) The Growth of Mariculture.
We have already noted that fish production from “wild” stocks has probably reached a plateau, and that most of the future expansion of fisheries output is likely to come from the mariculture sector, plus the freshwater aquaculture sector. Although this sector grew rapidly during the 1980's and early 1990's, its rate of growth may have been somewhat retarded by the granting of the 200 mile offshore economic zone in the early 1980's. This allowed many coastal states, for at least a limited period, to have a greater security of fish supplies. This situation will undoubtedly decline and coastal states will turn to mariculture production at a faster rate. With this will come the need for site selection. Three major developments in mariculture which will influence the spatial disposition of production are the production of a wider range of species, with their differing environmental requirements, the move towards production in deep ocean cages and production in fully enclosed, recycling water systems. These latter two developments will open up far more areas for production, and they will greatly shift the balance of site selection criteria. An excellent overview of the need for mariculture growth, and its implications for the future in the Canadian context, is provided by Cook and Black (1993). A significant part of their detailed paper is devoted to environmental planning for mariculture, and this is mostly in the light of the public's sceptical attitude to an activity which is known to have a range of possible negative influences. The authors specifically advocate the use of GIS as a major management tool.

(b) The Growth of Sea Ranching or Stock Enhancement.
A large number of studies worldwide have showed the potential for stock enhancement for a variety of species (e.g. Kitada et al, 1992). From the GIS viewpoint, what is important is that for this propagation method to be successful, then it essential that young stock are released into the wild in locations which can best provide for any individual production criteria. In many cases these criteria are still being established. When this has happened, then GIS is likely to prove the ideal medium for not only determining suitable locations, but also for monitoring both the relative success of alternative locations and the actual productivity of release locations.

(c) The Introduction of Fishery Property Rights.
With the whole concept of “fish hunting” being increasingly seen as an unsustainable process, then new methods of resource allocation are being investigated and implemented. Indeed some governments, e.g. New Zealand, now view the whole of their marine fisheries operations as being essentially “marine farming”, with the state having ownership of the resource (retaining control of the “farm”), and the annual surplus production being harvested under an Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) scheme. This sort of practice will rapidly become the norm, though agreements will be needed on the scale of controls (i.e. should they be at local, regional, state, national or at international level). There will also be regional variations in the selected methods of delivering these usage rights. These spatial considerations give a clue to the way in which GIS's will necessarily function as a means of “managing the farm”, i.e. mostly in spatial allocation procedures and in monitoring current zone enforcements, as well as in helping to determine the need for any change in management zones.

(d) Controls Over Uses of the Coastal Environment.
This is a factor which is recognised as being particularly important to the future prospects for the development of small scale fisheries (World Bank, 1991). It is important that a thorough understanding of ecosystems and their interactions are gained, and GIS can play a major role in this. But of far more importance is the ability of GIS to allow for computer based modelling of the complex interactions which inevitable occur in this area (zone) of resource use conflict. It is particularly important that all levels of participation are involved in decision making with regard to coastal zone use. Decisions about coastal areas cannot be made without spatial information.

(e) The Creation of Marine Reserves.
It has long been recognised that marine areas, such as coral reefs, offer huge protection to a variety of species, i.e. since reefs considerably reduce the ability of humans to carry out harvesting. The development of alternative marine reserves may take two forms:

(i) The simple placing of fishery restrictions in specified areas or,

(ii) the creation of artificial “reefs” which offer fish purposefully build refuges, as a means of increasing their numbers.

The identification of such sites will prove to be a major task for GIS functionality. Inputs to any such GIS would need to cover the whole area of species environmental preferences, plus factors such as the variable sociological needs for such reserves, reserve boundaries, the integration of tourism, rehabilitation of adjacent ecosystems, etc.

(f) Long Term Global Climatic Changes.
A large amount of research has been in progress which is concerned with so-called “global warming”, i.e. the build up of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere which are leading to higher average temperatures. Several authors have detailed the likely effects that this will have on fisheries (see especially Bigford, 1991 or Glantz, 1992). We cannot mention all the consequences here, but it must be clear that rising sea levels will have a huge impact on a variety of coastal ecosystems, causing changes in their distribution and composition. Displacement and alterations of habitats will thus ensue. There will be changes in world average sea water temperatures which again will directly cause biological species displacements, and indirect displacement will occur through changes in ocean current circulations and the location of upwellings (Hsieh and Boer, 1992). GIS is already being used as a major tool in climatic modelling and prediction, and it will obviously have a major role to play in determining the likely impact that global warming will have on all facets of fisheries management.

(g) The Concept of Variable Spatial Management Entities.
In the past not much thought was given as to what best constituted a unit of fisheries management. Over the past few years there have been interesting developments in this field. One management unit which is now recognised is the Large Marine Ecosystem (LME), i.e. a geographical entity consisting of unique bathymetry, circulation, biological productivity and trophodynamic interrelationships, into which a species has become adapted. More recently the concept of a Marine Catchment Basin (MCB) has been described. This is an entity which recognises the linkage between a marine area and the river catchments which service that area. At another level there has emerged the recognition of community based fisheries management, with its emphasis on a bottom-up approach, and with the idea that local people can best organise and manage their fish resources. Clearly, these variable units of management may bear no relationship to established political boundaries. It may therefore be necessary to establish “co- management” systems to best organise fisheries exploitation in any single area. Under the potentially complex access rules which will evolve, then a spatial management system such as that provided by GIS may be crucial.

(h) The Imposition of Controls Over High Seas Stocks.
Following the success of the instigation of the UNCLOS 200 mile coastal EEZ in the early 1980's, the United Nations has recently debated the imposition of fisheries controls on the open oceanic waters, i.e. with a view to managing straddling and highly migratory fish stocks. An agreement has been reached on this (August, 1995), which imposes a system of licenses, quotas, inspection measures and penalties as a means of enhancing conservation. Given that this agreement must cover more than 50% of the surface of the Earth, then spatially based management procedures are inevitable. Here again the role of GIS would firstly be in the straight-forward mapping out of zones, quotas, allocation rights, etc, and then in the recording of activities for each area. Based on the data shown, regular revues would then be made before further management decisions were taken. These decisions would not be made without the obvious inclusion of prescriptive spatial modelling to evaluate alternative production or allocation scenarios.

(i) The Implementation of On-Board GIS.
We have previously indicated that most modern trawlers are now equipped with an array of electronic navigation, chart plotting and acoustic SONAR instrumentation. In the immediate future we will see the ability of vessels to either carry their own databases and GIS functionality, or this information will be distributed to them on demand. Already we have shown how satellite meteorological and water temperature data is being transmitted. The vessel will then have the capability to match this data to other water parameter or bottom type data, in order to provide additional information. This may be especially important under severe conservation management regimes, perhaps in areas of specific bio-diversity, habitat or ecosystems needs.

(j) The Development of Integrated Fisheries Management Models.
Several authors, notably McGlade and McGarvey (1992), have stressed the need for the implementation of what they have termed “Integrated Fisheries Management” (IFM). This means that instead of just relying on biological and ecological factors (or modelling) as a basis for making management decisions, socio-economic considerations are also introduced. So factors concerning the market, prices, alternative sources of income and the variable behaviour of fishermen are also considered by fisheries managers when deciding on management strategies. If IFM becomes the norm, then clearly fisheries management becomes a much more complex procedure. Since spatially variable criteria are being introduced, i.e. the various socio-economic factors, then again GIS can serve as a further tool to expedite the necessary modelling.

(k) The Reduction of By-Catch Losses.
Although many recent developments in fishing gear design has gone into purposefully reducing by-catch (non-target species) losses, this is still a problem which is far too common in some fisheries. The problem must be seen in terms of not only protein and catch effort waste, but also of ecosystems damage, and the negative effects which are being felt on species whose populations are already threatened, e.g. turtles, dolphins and porpoises caught in seine nets and albatrosses on longlines. For the problem of by-catch losses to occur in the first place, certain spatially variable conditions must exist. GIS is needed as tool to both discover what the parameters of these conditions are, and to help develop strategies of avoidance.

10.3 Factors Influencing GIS Progress

Clearly there are a huge range of factors which will influence the progress which GIS makes over the next few years, and these factors may vary quite markedly from region to region. It seems important that we give some indication of what these factors might be, if only so that the prospective GIS purchaser has an indication of matters to be cogniscent of. A major source for these factors influencing progress was CCTA (1993). The factors can be divided into positive factors and negative factors, and they are listed briefly in Table 10.1.

Table 10.1 Major Influencing Factors on the Progress of GIS
*Continuing hardware cost reductions and improved performance.
*Improvements in storage capacities and performance.
*The improved capability and functional range of most software.
*The adoption of standards for GIS in many countries.
*The availability of a greater range of digital data sets.
*The movement towards object-oriented databases.
*A greater range of back-up, guidance and support services.
*The greater recognition of GIS as valuable management tool.
*The perceived success of GIS in a number of varied fields.


*The lack of government funding for basic research initiatives.
*The lack of funding to purchase GIS's per se.
*Too many systems are stand-alone applications having little incentive to progress.
*The necessary implementation procedures are very complex.
*Data costs can be prohibitive.
*Too frequently data is difficult to integrate for reasons of structure, accuracy, scale, level of aggregation, etc.
*The difficulties of achieving definitive cost/benefit analyses deters managers from making purchase decisions.
*Pilot studies often do not live up to expectations.
*Suitably qualified staff are still difficult to obtain.
*Legal concerns over the copyright of data.
*Data gathering systems can be very difficult to instigate and maintain.
*User interfaces are still very complex.

Although this Table indicates a substantial number of negative influences on the current and immediate future prospects for GIS, we do not believe that the sustained growth in GIS proliferation will be halted. We say this because there is a huge deployment of research and development effort going into GIS from private, and to a lesser extent, public funding. Most of the negative influences will thus be reduced, although there will always be challenges to be met. Also, the price advantages that are occurring, and are likely to continue, are really quite dramatic. This will greatly increase the GIS market. Other future developments, most of which will have a positive impact, are discussed in the following final section.

10.4 Trends in Geographical Information Systems Development

In this section we have put together a number of the major trends, developments and key issues which we see as being of current importance to the future direction and progress of GIS. Where possible we have avoided trends which are occurring in the more general field of computing or information technology, i.e. even though these will have a profound impact on GIS capability. We recognise that many of these trends may not be directly beneficial to a marine fisheries GIS, but they are all developments which any GIS user should be aware of. They are not placed in any particular order.

(a) Changes in Mapping Detail Capture Methods.
It seems increasingly likely that there will be a slow decline in the need to digitise. This will come about as the availability of pre-digitised data increases and as scanning quality improves.

(b) Data Structures, Algorithms and Storage.
These are three areas of pure GIS, to which a great deal of research interest is being given since there are pressing needs to make progress here. Thus present ways of structuring data are too varied and non-susceptible to conversion between various data models. Efficient methods of storage for the vast data sets of the future still has to be researched, though rapid advances are being made.

(c) Visualization and Graphical Display.
In the near future this area of GIS is likely to witness major advances, i.e. as the design of output displays is of critical importance to how people perceive spatial arrangements, and how they interpret them. Interest is now being shown in the design of animated displays, three dimensional display, continuous colour gradations, etc.

(d) Processes of GIS Adoption.
Goodchild (1992) sees research into improving the institutional environment for GIS as being of paramount importance. This includes an understanding of the processes of GIS adoption, the effects of GIS on an organisation, the real benefits of GIS and the processes for actually utilising GIS in decision making.

(e) Towards a 4-D GIS.
Demands from commercial activities which are wealth creating in the sense that they are exploiting subterranean natural resources, are sufficient to ensure that a great deal of 3-D and 4-D GIS research is in progress. The first basic 3-D GIS's are now available, but they have yet to be applied in the marine context. This is an area where there will be huge advances during the next decade. The main areas for this research are outlined briefly in Gurney and Mason (1992).

(f) The Incorporation of Error Handling Procedures.
It is of paramount importance that future GIS software should be able to detect likely errors in datasets as a way of improving the validity of output.

(g) The Adoption of Intelligent GIS.
With the emergence of massive databases and data sets in the near future, it could well be beyond human capability to discern spatial patterns in mapped data. Thus Oppenshaw (1993) states, in relation to GIS analyses, that it is beyond reason to assume that we should know in advance what we are looking for, or where to find it, or when to find it. GIS will need to incorporate fully automated intelligent pattern and relationship “hunters” that can cope with the complexities of GIS output.

(h) The Ownership of Data.
The reader will be generally aware of issues relating to copyright. This matter is subject to problems in the GIS sphere since, although it may be clear who owns particular data, it is not so clear as to how ownership rights are affected if various levels of changes are made to purchased data.

(i) The Introduction of Meta Databases.
It is fairly clear that in the near future most GIS software will incorporate specific meta database organisational functions within the GIS package. This should greatly improve database management.

(j) Multi-Media GIS.
Allied to visualization is the concept of multi-media GIS. As well as incorporating static images, multi-media GIS will soon be developed which allow for the integration of moving video images, sounds and eventually virtual reality into the GIS display. Although this is already technically possible, at the present time it is still rather “gimmicky”, and it remains to be seen whether a valid place will be found for multi-media GIS in the field of fisheries management.

(k) The Adoption of Standards in GIS.
If GIS data inputs are to be efficiently shared around and between large user communities, then improvements in standards are vital. Standards are needed not only in terms of the data formats and structuring used by a particular organisation, but also across all organisations and between various countries. In order to obtain standardization it will be necessary for software companies to reveal their present file formats, and then to enter into discussions so as to agree on universal “open” formats. Additionally, standards will need to be agreed on factors such as data quality, processing methods, data collection methods, etc.

(l) The Proliferation of Data Collection Devices.
We saw in Chapter 2 that there was a variety of electronic data collection equipment. As yet many of these instruments are only slowly being adopted. As their adoption rate increases, then so too will the availability of readily usable digital data emanating from them. This will provide greater opportunities for the use of GIS.

(m) The Availability of Data.
In section 2.3.4 we discussed the availability of secondary digital data. It should be apparent from this that the data volumes available, from sources such as RS and digital mapping agencies, are proliferating at an exponential rate, and this availability is being matched in relative data price reductions. It would appear that there will also be greater freedom of access to data in many countries, i.e. if only in response to the fact that data sales can be a much needed source of government revenue. And data will be more readily available via various data transfer networks. All these trends will greatly enhance the scope for GIS working.

(n) The Development of More Specialized GIS's.
It could be argued that, with the move towards truly distributed GIS, then each single GIS will concentrate on more specialised functions. This could lead to more specialist or customised GIS software. With this trend there might also be a move towards the integration of various additional software programs, i.e. as these specialist GIS's accrue added tasks after implementation.

(o) Changes in the GIS Software Houses.
At the present time there are dozens of different software suppliers. As GIS becomes more standardised at a universal scale, then there will undoubtedly be less need for such a range of systems or suppliers. This will lead to both closures and company buy-outs or mergers. It is also likely that the profit margins on systems will decline so the companies supplying GIS packages will also take on the distributing of data sets (where the market is much bigger) as a means of raising income.

(p) New Operating Systems.
The emergence of the Microsoft Windows New Technology (NT) family of operating systems will allow for computer systems at the lower end of the computing spectrum to access data which is managed by “high end” systems. This will have the effect of allowing GIS at all levels to integrate into all sorts of other software and GIS systems. In effect, the distinction between PC and Workstation GIS will disappear because the PC user will have complete access to all the workstation functioning.

(q) The Development of Object-Oriented Systems.
In Section 6.5.1 we introduced object oriented databases. The introduction of object orientation into GIS will affect more than just database management. It will also support the development of user interfaces which are easier to use, allow for the realization of data models which are more user oriented, allow for easier software programming, and allow for better database update transactions.

What has been briefly described above are only some of the many ways in which GIS is developing. Because of this variety of change, and because the actual rate of change is so rapid, then we must conclude by stressing to the reader the fundamental importance of keeping abreast of developments. This can best be achieved, where possible, by attending GIS courses and conferences, by subscribing to trade journals and magazines, by updating GIS software when applicable, by joining professional associations and by being interested and involved in GIS in the workplace. And some time must be also found for keeping up to date with progress in the marine fisheries world!

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