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News from the


S. HADJ-Ali (SIPAM Coordinator)

System of Information for the
Promotion of Aquaculture in the

The 4th annual SIPAM meeting was held in the National Aquaculture Center, Marsaxlokk, Malta, November 24-28, 1999. Thirteen National Co-ordinators, including Algeria and Libya as new SIPAM members, and the Regional Co-ordinator attended the meeting. FAO was represented by Mr.Coppola. The main objectives of the meeting were to: (i) Review the status of SIPAM data, particularly those data bases considered to be of high priority by the last SIPAM meeting (Olhao, Portugal, 17-19 September 1998), (ii) to discuss the new software version 2.2 which was distributed to all the National co-ordinators, (iii) to review and comment on the prepared SIPAM home page and (iv) to discuss ways and means to make SIPAM more visible and open to the world.

SIPAM software version 2.2

The Regional Center, jointly with Mr. John Laurijsen, from the Institute of Marine Biology of Crete (IMBC), has modified the SIPAM software in order to take


into account the suggestions expressed by the National co-ordinators during the training course organized in Zaragoza, Spain, in January 1999. Eight modifications were introduced, making the SIPAM software more advanced and responsive to users' needs. Thanks to the newly introduced tools, especially for developing internal networks within the member countries, such national networks have been installed in Tunisia and Turkey and will assist the National Centers in data collection and dissemination.

SIPAM data

The National co-ordinators reviewed data quality on the basis of a report prepared by the regional center. They focused on the first core of high priority data bases which they agreed to finalize before the end of the year. They also examined other databases and selected, among them, a second core of five data bases. Three data bases (Export, Import and Pathology) will be re-evaluated later, since they are very close to the two specialized databases on Marketing of Aquaculture Products and on Pathology, respectively. SIPAM is dealing with those two databases, jointly with the TECAM (Technology of Aquaculture in the Mediterranean) and SELAM (Socio-Economic and Legal Aspects of Aquaculture in the Mediterranean). As a follow up to the joint meeting organized by SIPAM, TECAM and FAO last December, 1998 at FAO HQ, Rome, on the SIPAM Pathology Database design, the SIPAM programmer participated in a one week session on AAPQIS (Aquatic Animal Pathogens and Quarantine Information System) software developed by FAO for the Asian Region.

Regional data base

Two issues of the Regional Database were prepared and distributed in March and July 1999. The first issue under SIPAM version 2.2 will be released in January 2000, including a set of complete data of five priority areas (National Reports, Production Statistics, Experts and Institutions Directories, and Research and Development Programmes).

  New SIPAM member countries 

Algeria and Libya have officially joined SIPAM and designated their national centers as Centre National de Documentation pour la PÍche et l'Aquaculture in Bou Smail, and Center for Marine Wealth Biology, in Tajaura respectively. Last November the Algerian co-ordinator received training at the Regional Center in Tunis on the set up and use of the SIPAM software as well as the functioning of the SIPAM system including internal networks. Regional Center staff will visit Libya in 2000 to assist in the installation and the use of the software.

SIPAM as ASFA partner

Agreement was reached at the Malta meeting that the SIPAM Information Network, as represented by the SIPAM Regional Center in Tunis, will become an FAO/ASFA collaborating partner. As such, SIPAM will prepare bibliographic references of aquaculture literature published in the SIPAM participating countries for inclusion in the ASFA database. It will also carry out bibliographic searches of the ASFA database on behalf of the National SIPAM centers. In return, SIPAM will receive , free of charge , all ASFA database issues.

SIPAM brochure

The SIPAM Brochure is available in four languages : English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. It will be disseminated to all potential SIPAM end users within the participating countries and others outside the system. Participants in the last SIPAM meeting in Malta recommended that the brochure should also be prepared in four other languages: Arabic, Greek, Italian and Turkish.