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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsfor a world without hunger

With the advent of the systematic application of geographic information standards and within the framework of the Fisheries Global Information System (FIGIS), all fishery databases are becoming increasingly geo-referenced, thus enabling mapping of global fishery indicators.

Geo-referenced information systems

For this purpose, the Department constantly enriches its GIS global database: it develops its specialized fisheries GIS layers (species distribution maps, regional fishery bodies competence areas, fishing statistical areas) or integrates external sources (open source standard layers such as coastline, bathymetry, Large Marine Ecosystems, EEZs), or collaborates with other FAO units within the overall framework of UN Geographic Information Working Group on GIS layers of common interest to fisheries and agriculture (countries, sub-national administrative units, watersheds, rivers and lakes, etc.).

To date, three dynamic mapping applications built on KIDS (Key Indicator Data System developed by FAO) core GIS software are disseminated through the FIGIS platform:

  • Species distribution maps;
  • Tuna Atlas catch statistics by 5 degree square;
  • Fishery Resources Monitoring System (FIRMS) geographic query tool;

Others are in development:

  • Aquatic Sciences Fisheries Abstract (ASFA) geographic query tool;
  • Dynamic mapping of Stocks and Fishery resources (FIRMS); and 
  • Dynamic mapping of RFB competence areas (FIRMS).

Standards and guidelines

The standard GIS framework is currently being extended with the national sub-administrative levels boundaries (Global Administrative Unit Layers or GAUL), a FAO GIS corporate product. Considering the experience gained by FIisheries and Aquaculture Department (FI) it will continue to provide the know-how and infrastructure to develop new mapping applications. The FI framework should continue to play an important role to:

  • expand dynamic mapping web interfaces through application of data standards and customization of existing tools, e.g. integrate the African Water Resource Database with relevant information, dynamically power NASO maps, etc. ;
  • implement inter-operability with statistical mapping tools and trade flow maps developed by FAOSTAT;
  • integrate mapping applications of stocks and species distribution;
  • develop other geo-referenced fisheries data and applications; and
  • contribute to the development of methodologies for elaboration of new global/ regional geo-based fishery indicators.
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