Efficient and streamlined information management implies agreement on and exchanging information standards within communities of common interest. Formal information networks enable agreed sharing of information within those communities and are seen as a powerful mechanism to collect and combine worldwide information.
The Department has long played a leading role in both information standards setting frameworks and in the development of information partnerships, a position strengthened by the rapid progress of information technologies and the Strategy-STF.
The Fisheries and Aquaculture Department provides the Secretariat of three bodies fulfilling key mandates in the field of international fisheries information standards, giving the Department a central role for coordinating the development of standards in complementary areas to improve information availability and quality.
- Coordinating Working Party on Fisheries Statistics (CWP), a body created in 1959 focussing on international cooperation in the standardization of fisheries statistical data: the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department plays a central role at global level in the coordination of statistical activities among relevant intergovernmental organizations, in the elaboration of standard concepts, definitions, classifications, and methodologies for the collection and collation of fishery statistics, and in monitoring requirements for fishery statistics for research, policy-making and management.
- Aquatic Sciences Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), created in 1980 as an information partnership network: the Department coordinates the development of standards in the field of fisheries bibliographic references, together with the collection and collation of bibliographic references into the Global ASFA database.
- Fishery Resources Monitoring System (FIRMS), launched in 2004 as an information partnership network aimed at monitoring the status and trends of fishery resources, the Department leads and coordinates the development of metadata and GIS standards in order to facilitate the exchange and collation of information on the status and trends of fish stocks and fisheries, within the global monitoring system. These standards strongly contribute to the quality assurance scheme as agreed in the FIRMS information management policy.
The Department also leads the development of the UN Atlas of the Oceans, a partnership of UN agencies sharing their knowledge on all aspects of the sustainable development of the world oceans.