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GIS activities contribute to different areas of analysis and management of fishery resources. Thanks to a mixture of Regular Programme support and fied project activities, the Department has developed its GIS marine fisheries capacities, and will continue so.

Field projects and training

During the ninetees, the GIS capacity of the Department  in marine fisheries has been fostered through field projects, notably the SIGAFO ("Systèmes d'information géographique en Afrique de l'Ouest") and COPEMED projects.

Since then, this technical assistance still constitutes a major driving force to GIS developments. Currently, the Department contributes to the GIS component of the following projects:

  • GCP /RLA/140/JPN on Scientific Basis for Ecosystem-Based Management in the Lesser Antilles including interaction with Marine Mammals and Other Top Predators.
  • TCP/GAB/3001 on Support for the formulation of a development plan for the industrial fishery in Gabon.
  • TCP/SEY/2902 on Capacity Building in the Resource Assessment and Management of the Seychelles Holothuria Fishery.

Geo-referenced information systems: GIS layers

Since 200, the development of the Fisheries Global Information System (FIGIS) and its web-based geo-referenced component constituted another driver to the development of a global marine fisheries GIS. The Fisheries Management and Conservation service (FIMF) contributes to this effort with the following GIS responsibilities:

  • Production, maintenance and updating of distribution maps of marine species of commercial importance;
  • Development and maintenance of global GIS layers for which the Department has primary ownership: FAO fishing statistical areas, Regional Fishery Bodies competence areas. The corresponding maps are presented in electronic fact sheets.
  • Development or integration of other global or regional layers required for the mapping of fishery resources as inputs to FIGIS, FIRMS and other regional and global databases;

Methodologies, technical guidelines and technical papers

The GIS capacities developed by the Department through projects and development of the FIGIS are valorised to support the Deparment core activities:

  • Maps are prepared to illustrate the following publications:
    • the review of the state of world marine fishery resources; 
    • global and regional reviews of tuna and tuna-like fisheries and fishery resources.
  • Fishing Activity Simulation Tool (FAST): this dedicated GIS application was developed to enable simulation and modelling of spatial distribution of small-scale fishing activity. This tool and its documentation developed in close collaboration with the FAO COPEMED Project are available at the COPEMED website.
  • Assessment of the coverage of reef fish habitat through remote sensing techniques: through project "Remote Sensing for the assessment of reef habitat coverage suitable for the Napolean fish, Cheilinus undulates, in Indonesia", an innovative method for reef mapping has been proposed involving the use of available (free) Landsat satellite images of coastal areas and Geographical Information Systems. This method, so far used to produce maps of geomorphologic classes of reefs in selected areas of the world, has the potential to be used in the assessment of the coverage of reef fish habitat. This information is particularly needed in the assessment of reef associated fish stocks in data-limited areas.
    Status: Ongoing, it is expected to deliver results at the end of 2007
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