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FIGIS News 2006
Two new Web sites are now available from FIGIS. The information contained in both these sites, constantly improved and kept up-to-date, will support the aims of responsible fishing by providing highly valuable data used in making effective management decisions.

• The Fisheries Resources Monitoring System (FIRMS) Web site was launched during the recent Review Conference of the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement at UN headquarters in New York last month. Currently, the site is a comprehensive, one-stop source of information on world fisheries and fishery resources. FIRMS includes data on catches, fishing fleet activities, management practices, stock levels and more based on information gathered from various regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), FAO and other agencies. Currently ten organizations have signed the FIRMS partnership agreement, including FAO which also acts as Secretariat. The information is standardized, quality-controlled and validated by partners before publication. Some 500 major fishery resources from different world regions have already been profiled as part of FIRMS' overall aim to build a global inventory of fishery resources.

• A site dedicated to Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) provides general information on VMS, and summarizes the basic characteristics of existing national and regional VMS programmes around the world. VMS is recognized as an effective tool for the effective monitoring, control and surveillance of fisheries activities. It enhances and improves existing management measures, particularly in time and area rules and also contributes to vessel safety.

• The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries is also available in French and Spanish.

• A new field guide on Meditteranean and Black Sea sharks and rays can be consulted online on the Species Identification and Data Programme (SIDP). This volume presents a fully illustrated field guide for the identification of the sharks and rays most relevant to the fisheries of the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

• As part of FIRMS, the first version of the FIGIS online editing tool has been tested and released with restricted access.


Strategy for Improving Information on Status and Trends of Capture Fisheries
FishCode-STF is a multilateral project operating under the FAO FishCode Programme and has been operational since last November. This new site provides an easy access to all the information pertaining to FishCode-STF -- from a thorough project overview to related news and publications. The first part of the FishCode-STF Project is designed to help develop inventories, methodologies and operational guidelines in order to improve information on status and trends of capture fisheries. The second part includes field training and implementation. FishCode-STF website ...

Geographic information systems in fisheries management and planning
Technical manual by G. de Graaf, F.J.B. Marttin, J. Aguilar-Manjarrez & J. Jenness. 2003. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 449 . Rome, 2003, 178 pp. + 2 CD-ROMs.
This manual is a "do-it-yourself-manual" giving a short introduction to GIS software and its applications in fishery science. It is aimed at fisheries biologists, aquatic resource managers and decision-makers in developing countries who have no knowledge about GIS, and will be useful for a broad range of fishery applications. Although the manual by no means covers all the possibilities of GIS, it touches upon some of the most important features for fisheries management and planning.
The manual was tested in Namibia and Uganda and it is available for purchase at


A global spatial database of subnational agricultural land-use statistics. The Agro-MAPS database is the result of a collaborative initiative by FAO, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Centre for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), with the support of national and regional institutions to produce a global spatial database on selected agricultural land-use statistics, aggregated by subnational administrative districts. Agro-MAPS contains recent data on crop production, area harvested and crop yields, for one or more years, for each country. (This beta version contains data for Africa only)
More on Agro-Maps...
Contact: Hubert George


TEMS v 2.3 now available on mini CD-ROM

TEMS version 2.3 is now available on mini CD-ROM which contains all the latest updates to the database. TEMS now includes an additional 795 field sites which are part of the IPC-Forests (the International Cooperative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests). ICP Forests monitors the forest condition in Europe, using two different monitoring intensity levels in cooperation with the European Union. Many sites in addition to assessing the annual crown condition also measure soil condition and chemistry, foliar nutrient status, meteorological conditions, ground vegetation and the deposition of air pollutants. Currently 38 countries participate in the ICP Forests programme. Additional details in IPC-Forests can be viewed at:
If you would like a free copy of the mini CD-ROM please send your postal address to the GTOS Secretariat.
For further details of GTOS projects and activities please contact the GTOS Secretariat ( or visit


New release World Soil Map

This CD-ROM is a revised issue of the Land and Water Digital Media Series No. 1, containing the FAO/UNESCO Soil Map of the World in raster and vector formats. In addition programs and data files are included that display derived soil properties. The revision included the adding of a number of user-friendly ArcView files allowing the display of dominant soils by continent and the inclusion of the update of the image of the WRB World Soil Resources Map.


The Strategic Framework for FAO
Medium Term Plan