Aquaculture and inland fisheries
The Fisheries and Aquaculture Department prepares and maintains information systems and technical databases to monitor the status and trends of the world’s aquaculture and inland fisheries, at global, regional and national levels. The collection of statistics on aquaculture production was added to the fishery statistics collection activities programme in 1985. Initially the problem was obtaining a universally acceptable and permanent definition of aquaculture for data collection. The basis on which data have so far been collected by FAO defines aquaculture as the farming of aquatic organisms, which implies some form of intervention (such as regular stocking, feeding, protection from predators), is implied in the rearing process to enhance production, plus individual or corporate ownership of the stock being reared.
An objective for the aquaculture database is to include data on aquaculture production units (surface of growing waters, number of cages, number of pens, etc.) and type of culture in addition to the existing statistics on production quantity and price per kilogram by species, country and aquatic environment. The same coding scheme and record format used for nominal catches and landings are being used to store these data. Aquaculture statistics are needed by a wide range of data users including industry, banks, and groups interested in sources of fish supplies, location, costs and potential growth. The database shows annual figures from 1950 organized by about 180 countries, 3 aquatic environments and more than 400 species/items.
Since 2003, the Department initiated the development and maintenance of two fact sheets collections, National Aquaculture Sector Overviews (NASO) and National Aquaculture Legislation Overviews (NALO), as the primary sources of information for Regional or Global syntheses on the status and trends of Aquaculture. Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme (CASIP) is the third collection of fact sheets also initiated in 2003, in order to provide a focus on aquaculture techniques or practices, and biological feature of interest for cultivated aquatic species. This collection nicely complements the renowned Species Identification sheets collection which focus is rather on capture species of commercial importance.
Activities also include the development of methodologies, technical guidelines, technical papers, reviews, training materials and geo-referenced information systems on GIS applications to aquaculture. The Department also prepares and maintains information systems and technical databases to monitor the status and trends of the world’s inland fisheries. This activity also includes the development of methodologies, technical guidelines, technical papers, reviews, training materials and geo-referenced information systems on GIS applications to inland fisheries.
GISFish is a "one stop" site from which to obtain the depth and breadth of the global experience on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing and mapping as applied to aquaculture and inland fisheries. GISFish sets out the issues in aquaculture and inland fisheries, and demonstrates the benefits of using GIS, remote sensing and mapping to resolve them. The global experience provided by GISFish is captured in databases of literature references, ongoing projects, training opportunities, activities, news and links.
The African Water Resource Database (AWRD) is a Geographic Information System (GIS) analytical framework supporting inland aquatic resource management with a specific focus on inland fisheries and aquaculture. The AWRD archive is comprised of 156 unique datasets including: surface water bodies; watersheds; aquatic species; rivers; political boundaries; population density; soils; satellite imagery and many other physiographic and climatological data types. To display and analyze these data the AWRD contains an assortment of new custom-designed applications and tools.
The FAO Aquaculture Newsletter (FAN), issued twice a year by the Department, presents articles and views from the FAO aquaculture programme and discusses various aspects of aquaculture as seen from the perspective of both headquarters and the field programme. Articles are contributed by FAO staff from within and outside the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, from FAO regional offices and field projects, by FAO consultants, and occasionally, by invitation from other sources. FAN is distributed free of charge to various institutions, scientists, planners and managers in member countries and has a current circulation of more than 2,000 copies.