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1.1 The Spatial Management Needs for Marine Fishery Resources

Marine fisheries are the world's most spatially extensive economic activity. They are carried out in a fairly intensive way over approximately 15% of the Earth's surface and extensively over a significant proportion of the remaining maritime areas. For as long as any reader can recall the marine fishery industry has been in crisis. From soon after the initial exploitation of marine resources there has probably always been a degree of crisis but, whereas originally crises were dominantly of a local nature, they have increasingly become manifest on the international stage. It could be argued that media projections have simply publicised these crises but this does not appear to be the case since any well researched study of developments in the fishery industry reveal that both the number and range of problems are increasing in an apparent exponential way (McGoodwin, 1990: Hinds, 1992; FAO, 1993; Brown, 1994). A timely account of the overall fisheries crisis has recently taken up a complete special edition of “The Ecologist” (Vol.25, No.2/3, March-June, 1995).

As well as being aware of these crises, most readers will be fairly familiar with the range of such problems. Thus, in general terms, they are connected with matters such as pollution, coastal zone degradation, over exploitation of resources, resource allocation disagreements and conflicts, habitat destruction, etc. It will also be apparent that each of these problems can vary enormously in their scale, and that in different marine resource areas, one or other of the problems may take precedence over the others. Indeed, in some geographic areas, the degree of crisis may still be relatively innocuous or almost non-existent.

What may not be quite so obvious to the reader is that virtually all the problems (or individual crises) have a spatial dimension. To elaborate on this, it can be imagined that the root of the problem lies in the fact that there exists either a fundamental spatial inequity, or spatial uncertainty or spatial differentiation. To take a simple example. If a build up of a potentially harmful substance occurs in an area then this may be referred to as pollution. The substance may in fact occur in minute quantities over a wide spatial area, but it is only generally recognised as pollution per se when the concentration reaches a level which is regarded as harmful. This harmful level of concentration may only be measured as occurring in a given, calculable area. So there exists spatial differentiation in the occurrence of the substance. Similarly, it can be easily envisaged how over-fishing may be a result of spatial uncertainty or that the need for resource allocation arises from both the existence of spatial differentiation of a particular stock and perhaps the spatial inequity of access to that stock. Table 1.1 gives a selection of recently published examples of spatially related fisheries problems.

Table 1.1   Selected Published Examples Illustrating Spatially Related Fisheries Management Problems

“Mapping the fishery and the resource should be among the priority tasks when planning for fisheries management…”(Caddy and Garcia, 1986).

“Two weeks earlier the Canadian minister of fisheries had imposed a two-year moratorium on fishing for northern cod off Newfoundland's coast.” (McClellan, 1993).

“…the long term outlook for the (Japanese) distant - water tuna fishing industry in its current form is bleak.” (Bergin and Howard, 1992).

“In recent years the rich marine environment along the coast of Norway has been repeatedly threatened by unpredicted toxic algae blooms and uncontrolled oil spills.” (Johannessen et al, 1993).

“Heavy fishing in Russia's Sea of Okhotsk threatens to wipe out stocks of pollack, the most important commercial fish in the region.” (IFM, 1994).

“Geographically, threats (from sea level rise) to finish and shellfish could be highest along the low-lying, unconsolidated shores of the Gulf of Mexico, southeastern states, and much of the north Atlantic shore south of Cape Cod.” (Bigford, 1991).

“Controversy flares over stocks shared by two or more states, as in the Northeast Atlantic, as well as stocks that straddle exclusive economic zones and the high seas.” (Christy, 1993).

“Ask anyone about the North Sea's problems and they will most likely talk about pollution, algal blooms, sewage dumping and dying seals. But, according to many scientists, the greatest threat to marine life … is commercial fishing.” (Gwyer, 1991).

“The devastating effect of the 1982/83 El Nino phenomenon, which increased the awareness of the role of the oceans on global climate variability and the environment.” (Loayza and Sprague, 1992).

“…and important habitats are being destroyed through the use of heavy equipment, such as demersal trawls, which trawl the sea-bed.” (O'Riordan, 1992).

“All across what Jacques Cousteau has called ‘our watery planet’ the oceans' resources are gravely threatened.” (Comte, 1993)

As a further way of illustrating the importance of spatial considerations in the management of marine fishery resources. Table 1.2 presents a random sample of the subject matter of papers presented at a recent Statutory Meeting of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). This is one of the major organisations who are encouraging and promoting an extremely wide range of fisheries research. At its Statutory Meeting, in Dublin, Ireland in 1993, there were 292 scientific papers presented, under a number of separate themes (ICES, 1993). Of these papers, 76% had themes in which it could said that spatial differentiation, disparities, etc., either formed the direct subject of investigation or they were implicated in the research findings as being of major importance. In other words, all of these 222 papers had themes whose subject matter lent itself to mapping.

Table 1.2    Selection of the Subject Matter of Some Papers Presented at the 1993 ICES Statutory Meeting Showing the Spatially Related Nature of the Themes

Perspectives in coastal marine environment management due to new instrument developments.To show how a new probe has been developed which calculates particle or phytoplankton distributions.
Environmental sensitivity mapping of the western Black Sea.Mapping of degradation of the western Black sea as caused by pollution.
A software package for the assessment of the abundance and distribution of demersal fish.Distribution of fish as recorded by various survey techniques.
Migration of Greenland halibut in the northwest Atlantic from tagging experiments.Migration routes taken by fish from western Greenland.
Distribution of anchovy eggs and larvae in the Black sea.To show long term changes in the spatial distribution of eggs and larvae from the north to the south of the Black Sea.
Features of the Baltic herring's spawning ground in the eastern Baltic.To show the unique ecological and geomorphological features of the eastern Baltic.
Causes and management implications of recent changes in the growth rate of the South African spiny lobster.Possible environmental causes in the growth rate reduction of this species.
The temporal and spatial structure of crustacean populations off some Spanish coasts.Whether selected species of certain crustaceans aggregate in individual patches.
Dynamics of toxic dinoflagellates during an upwelling event off northwest Portugal.To plot and measure dispersal of the species and to correlate this with wind variations.

Quite clearly, in an overall context, the present systems of fisheries management are not performing successfully. They have largely failed because the current level of fishing effort is too high and therefore the pressures on resources are too great-certainly in terms of the balance between resource extraction gains (outputs) and resource controls (or inputs) to the marine systems. And these are pressures which are constantly exacerbated by the continuance of rapidly growing human populations who utilize resources on a more or less open access (“free for all” hunting) basis. Thus, although the imposition of Economic Zoning (EEZ's) has been in force since 1982, this has done little to actually manage the resources in the sense of the careful monitoring and regulation of their levels of sustainability. And, as has been made clear in both Tables 1.1 and 1.2, it is not only resource utilization that is in dire need of spatial management. It is also the sustenance of coastal and aquatic ecosystems, the preservation and continuity of fishing dependent communities existing within bio-economic space, the location of enhanced resource production facilities (mariculture), the management of regulation itself, etc., etc.

Given that so many of the problems associated with marine fisheries and resource extraction can be shown to have their roots in spatial differentiation of one kind or another, then it is sensible to assume that the better management of space could well be a vital key to at least alleviating some of the present crises.

“Mapping the fishery and the resources should be among the priority tasks when planning for fisheries management and should not be postponed until “complete” information is available, since redundancies or blanks in the information base will more readily appear in the process of elaboration.” (Caddy and Garcia, 1986. p.32)

The theme of better spatial management of fisheries has been alluded to in several recent works, e.g. Ricketts (1986), Symes (1991), Charles (1992), Hinds (1992), Loayza and Sprague (1992), World Bank (1992) and Garcia (1993), so further details concerning most of the recommended management objectives will not be given here. Some matters concerning the optimum organisation of management, the spatial scale of management units, the integration of fisheries management with other interested sectors and the priorities for spatial management will be dealt with in Chapter 7.

1.2 The Growth and Need for Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Any spatial management system needs data. Within certain limitations the maxim would apply that the more data the better. Certainly any management system falling under the overall heading of “Fisheries” or “Marine Resources” could not possibly function without having access to, not only large amounts of data, but also to data from a wide variety of sources in a potentially huge array of formats. Given these growing data requirements, then spatial management operations can really only function with the aid of Information Technology (IT) systems. There are now a wide variety of relevant computer based IT systems, some of which are general in their use, e.g. database management systems, spreadsheets, graphics packages, and some which have been developed specifically for fisheries (and related) purposes. These latter will be discussed in more detail in later chapters.

Spatial management, and associated activities such as location analysis and spatial modelling, is most successful when there is the potential for the whole operation, or a particular problem being tackled, to be visualised in a realistic or pseudo-realistic format. Visualisation is based on the fact that half of the human brain is intended to interpret visual images, and in working this way it can cope with considerable amounts of information. Visualisation in the spatial domain is conventionally carried out via mapping or graphical means, with a map usually being described as a 2-D simplified representation of spatial reality. Spatial analysis has always been most successfully performed via a whole range of mapping techniques. Even for the non specialist there is an old adage which says - “A map is worth a thousand words”. Amongst those working in fisheries sciences, there has in the past been little recognition of the advantages to be gained for fisheries management from visually based mapping techniques - with a notable exception being the work of Caddy and Garcia (1986).

Over the past three decades there has gradually evolved a branch of IT which is specifically dedicated to mapping and spatial analysis. This emerging technology is usually referred to as “Geographical Information Systems” (GIS), though it has also been called “geo-data systems”, “spatial information systems”, “digital mapping systems” and “land information systems”. Recently a new term has emerged - “desk-top mapping”. This latter term is clearly a response to the fact that many GIS software houses are looking to promote GIS as part of an essential suite of tools which will collectively make management decisions easier. The term itself has undoubtedly arisen from the concept of “desk-top publishing”. Also the term “geomatics” may be encountered, i.e. as encompassing the complete geographical information technologies. Exact definitions of GIS are made difficult since there are a wide variety of systems, each of which has evolved as a response to different software packages which are offering different functionality in order to capture various niches in the market. Any true definition however, must contain the idea that a GIS comprises of a collection of integrated computer hardware and software which together is used for inputting, storing, manipulating, analysing and presenting a variety of geographical data. Some authors contend that it is also useful to include the requisite geographical databases and skilled GIS personnel into the GIS definition. A GIS can then represent a set of working practices, management structures and data organised so as to utilise the spatial data handling functions of a software/hardware package.

Although there has long been GIS's which might have satisfied a non-IT definition of an information system, e.g. the 11th century British Domesday Book or a series of Irish Railway maps published in 1838 (Bernhardsen, 1992), the first digital mapping programmes were developed in Canada as the Canadian Geographic Information System in 1962. Since then developments have been rapid. It will not be important here to chronicle the evolution and growth of digital GIS, but useful sources for obtaining this information include Burrough (1986), Dept. of Environment (1987), Goodchild (1988), Tomlinson (1989), Star and Estes (1990), Faust et al (1991), Maguire et al (1991). What might be more relevant is to briefly see what those factors are which have led to the recent surge in digital GIS. The main developments can be listed as:

a)   The proliferation of data. Over the last two decades there has been a surge in the developments of data gathering methodologies. The technology behind some of these will be briefly examined in Chapters 2 and 3. This surge has resulted from the genuine need to see better management strategies implemented and from technology led applications, such as the growth in remote sensing, with its associated digital data output. Data is also much more widely available as specialist data gathering agencies emerge, plus the increasing ability to electronically transfer data.

b) The reduction in computing costs. According to Rhind (1990) “…the cost of computing power has decreased by an order of magnitude every six years over the last 30 (years); thus what cost £1 to compute with ‘state of the art’ equipment now would have cost about £10 000 (in 1968).” In other words today's US$1 000 personal computer (PC) can do roughly the same as a US$1 000 000 mainframe computer could do 20 years ago. This trend is certainly continuing and thus the balance between costs and benefits have shifted significantly in favour of increased markets and opportunities for GIS.

c)  The integration of parallel developments. For the most part, GIS has been technologically driven. The applications stage of most IT systems lies at the core of a vast array of associated technology. This technology can usually be linked in an almost infinite number of ways so as to achieve any desired output. Not only have there been rapid developments in the requisite hard and software fields, but also in associated IT fields. For GIS these include computer aided design (CAD), remote sensing (RS), spatial and image analysis, digital cartography, surveying and geodesy, computer graphics, photogrammetry, etc. Figure 1.1 gives an indication of the progressive developments which have led to GIS availability on desk top PC's.

d)  Increasing demand for GIS output. There are several perspectives on demand, all of which are exhibiting extraordinary growth rates. To give some examples:

i) GIS is being integrated into the management of a widening range of both public and private companies. GIS is also driven by popular demand for simple spatial map packages to identify markets, for real estates sales, etc., e.g. Atlas/GIS.

ii) Quoted growth rates for GIS installations vary from about 14% per annum (Payne, 1993) to 35% per annum (Frank et al, 1991). This would obviously be a function of systems types, the number of systems already installed, individual countries, etc., plus what costs might be included in the installation.

iii) The numbers of organisations, conferences and professional publications dedicated to GIS themes.

iv) An increase in the number and variety of GIS related courses both at University level and as offered by the major software houses.

v) The growth of national research centres for GIS in many developed countries, and increasingly in developing countries, plus the move towards international standards in GIS.

So it can be seen that the current rapid emergence of GIS is part of a complex amalgam of processes which are acting in unison to the extent that a cycle of GIS progress has been achieved - “Success breeds success”. It is difficult to obtain precise figures on the global market for GIS, e.g. the CCTA (1993) quotes estimates that the 1992 revenue for GIS hardware, software and services was US$2.33 billion, having risen from US$1.98 billion only one year previously, whereas Frost & Sullivan (1994) reports that global GIS revenues were US$1.24 billion in 1993, having risen from US$657 in 1989. The Frost & Sullivan figures probably exclude all hardware. At the present time the U.S.A. and Europe completely dominate the GIS market, but the fastest growth rates are forecast for the Pacific rim area (Frost & Sullivan, 1994). By the end of the century the annual sales of software and services will be about US$4 billion. Rhind (1993) has shown the following recent growth of the GIS market in Europe by various sectors of the economy (Figure 1.2).

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1 The Inception Periods for the Major Developments in Desk Top GIS

During the three decades of GIS development it is most significant that there has been a fundamental shift in the main factors controlling this development. In the early period, the late 1960's and the 1970's, considerations of computer technology lay at the heart of GIS functionality. During the 1980's the accent gradually swung from hardware technology to software functioning. Now that the range of GIS functions that can be performed is vast, the accent for the 1990's has shifted towards database management. The ability and need to cope with vast amounts of data is growing exponentially. Data must be captured, stored, transferred, shared, maintained and generally managed. The characteristics of the database, the ease with which the GIS can interact with it, and the care taken in designing a structure for the data to be stored all now have the major influence on GIS effectiveness.

Figure 1.2

Figure 1.2 Recent Sectoral Growth in the European GIS Market

In looking at this brief synopsis of the development of GIS, it seems pertinent to pose the question as to whether GIS has now become a new discipline, or whether it must be regarded as a sub-section of some existing discipline, e.g. perhaps “geography”, or “cartography” or “computing”. According to Obermeyer (1994), it would appear that GIS does not have the necessary credentials to stand alone as a discipline, but it certainly possesses the characteristics of a profession, i.e. a discipline in which there is a body of knowledge, expertise, and a professional culture. There have also emerged (in some countries) GIS organisations, a code of ethics and there is now emerging a body of standards which are presently being formulated at national levels, but which should in the future be universal. It would certainly be false to categorise GIS as being a sub-section of any one discipline, although in reality it is true that most workers in GIS have their origins in the field of “geography”.

At this early stage in the Technical Paper it might be useful to illustrate the types of tasks for which GIS are suited. Table 1.3 (from Rhind, 1990) gives a simple introduction to the types of practical questions which a GIS can answer.

Table1.3   Practical Questions Which GIS May Answer

1. What is at…?Inventory/Monitoring
2. How big/long is…?Quantification
3. How do I get from/to…?Inventory/Monitoring
4. Where is…?Inventory/Monitoring
5. What has changed since…?Inventory/Monitoring
6. What spatial patterns exist…?Spatial analysis
7. What if…?Modelling

The first question simply seeks to find what exists at a particular location, e.g. a landing site, a port, a processing plant, etc. The second requires the GIS to calculate areas or perimeters, e.g. “How big is this lagoon and how long is its shoreline?” Question 3 is a route finding task, e.g. route finding GIS are now being installed in motor vehicles and they allow for the optimising of any specified route. The fourth question requires the GIS to search through geographic space in order to find the location where certain specified conditions can be met, e.g. “In which ICES fishing area was most Norwegian herring caught last April?” The fifth question allows for the spatial differences to be shown and calculated between any given time periods. Question 6 allows for more sophisticated geographic patterns to be displayed, e.g. “Show me the location of all areas of a continental shelf which are between 50 and 100 metres in depth and have a coral substrata.” The final question allows for modelling, both of a theoretical or practical kind, e.g. “If I create a 20km wide buffer zone through this water body in which fishing will be prohibited, about what quantity of stock might I protect?”

Given this wide degree of functionality, GIS's have now been successfully adopted in a wide range of fields. Typical of these are forestry, where improved management is now possible with regard to such functions as species and wildlife mapping, timber yield calculations, the 3-D visualisation effects of proposed logging programmes, the impact of various public access or conservation measures, etc. Other fields in which GIS have had a major impact include local authorities (for highway planning, route scheduling, park management, etc), the utilities (for pipe management, emergency repairs, stock location inventories, etc), in the emergency services and in a wide variety of private companies (frequently for the optimising of business locations). Applications of GIS to marine fishery resources, or indeed to any marine applications, have presently been very limited, being mostly confined to peripheral areas such as coastal zone management, pollution modelling and controls, mariculture and shoreline mapping. The case studies in Chapter 9 will provide more details. Table 1.4 provides some reasons why marine applications of GIS have been slow to materialise. There is now, however, a growing literature from authors and research workers who can see the potential for marine applications, e.g. Caddy and Garcia (1986), Humphreys (1989), Jeffries-Harris (1992), Simpson (1992), Green and Stockdale (1993), Ibrekk et al (1993) and Caddy et al (1995). The potential and possibilities for these and other marine GIS applications will be studied in Chapter 7.

Table1.4 Reasons Why Marine Applications of GIS Have Been Slow to Materialise

* The difficulties in mapping many marine species distributions, especially in a 3-D environment.

* The fact that the marine environment is constantly changing, i.e. it exhibits a high time/space variability.

* The high costs of obtaining marine related data.

* The large spatial units which need to be covered.

* The lack of recognition of the spatial aspects of fisheries management.

* The cooperation problems which need to be overcome in data collection.

* The difficulty of defining boundaries around “fuzzy” marine resource distributions.

* The problems of storing the huge amounts of data which are necessary for a reliable marine GIS.

* The lack of suitable databases in many areas of fishery resources.

* The lack of integration and/or the fragmentation of decision making amongst those responsible for fisheries management.

We should not conclude this introductory section by leaving the reader with the impression that GIS's will be an immediate answer to all fisheries management spatial problems. This is far from being the case. GIS's are immensely complex in that they make penetrating demands in terms of all aspects of their implementation. We are thinking here of factors such as data needs, expertise and training, equipment and sophisticated software plus the necessary agreements on data exchange, structures, and formats between the interested parties. Legal aspects with regard to copyright law and data ownership can also be immensely problematic. On top of these functional matters, GIS may be required to operate in an organisational or institutional milieu which is simply not prepared or ready for such an advanced technology. Given that these constraints are indeed a reality, then GIS adoption by fisheries managers will at best be a progressive process. But, given the nature and urgency of the fisheries management crisis which now pervades, then GIS is undoubtedly likely to prove the most efficient of all the available information technology tools.

1.3 The Plan of this Technical Paper

Publications of this sort are inevitably fairly complex. What is being attempted in one fairly short volume is to synthesize subject matter from the two extremely diverse fields of fisheries management and geographical information systems, in order that it is succinct, readable and informative. This is a process which can guarantee a degree of failure in so far as generalisations and omissions are certain to occur. Because we recognise this, then where possible suggestions for additional reading have been made and in many cases the reader would be strongly advised to follow these up, i.e. certainly in cases where sufficient clarity has not been given or where the reader has a particular interest.

An attempt has obviously been made to put the material in a logical sequence. Figure 1.3 is a schematic or systems diagram which hopes to portray this logic. Apart from the Introduction and Conclusion, the other nine chapters are shown as occupying a progressive sequence having five hierarchical levels. Chapters 5 and 6 make up the core of a GIS in terms of a functioning whole. Chapters 2, 3 and 4 are essentially a progression towards assembling the inputs to the GIS, whilst Chapters 7, 8 and 9 are essentially concerned with deriving outputs from a GIS. We have, in a simplistic way, tried to indicate flows through this total GIS. It would clearly have been possible to construct an alternative “web through the maze” as indeed many other authors in the GIS field have done.

Figure 1.3

Figure 1.3 A Schematic Diagram to Show the Structure of this Technical Paper

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