Geographic Information Systems in Fisheries Management and Planning

Technical manual


Gertjan de Graaf
Nefisco Foundation
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Felix Marttin and José Aguilar-Manjarrez
Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service
FAO Fisheries Department, Rome, Italy
Jeff Jenness
Jenness Enterprises, GIS Analysis and Application Design
Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

Cover graphic: Emanuela D’Antoni

Rome, 2003
Table of Contents

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ISBN 92-5-104999-8
ISSN 0429-9345

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© FAO 2003


Many fishery biologists and policy makers involved in inland fisheries management and planning are unaware of GIS technology and its potential for fisheries planning and management. The FAO Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service (FIRI) has been active for the last 19 years in promoting the use of GIS and remote sensing in fisheries and aquaculture. Promotional activities have been carried out through training, projects, field missions, and oral presentations and publications. However, a manual to use along with GIS software for the fisheries biologists in the field explaining GIS in a way that is understandable to non-GIS users had not been produced until now. This manual was written to overcome this knowledge-gap, it is a “do-it-yourself” manual giving a short introduction to GIS software and its applications in fishery science.

The overall objective of this manual is to encourage fishery managers to use this tool (GIS) to foster the sustainable use of natural resources. The manual is aimed at fisheries biologists, aquatic resource managers and decision makers in developing countries who have no knowledge about GIS. The manual was written for use with ESRI’s ArcView 3.x and Spatial Analyst software.

There are five main sections in the manual:

· GIS concepts and functions and key tools provided by ArcView 3.x,

· Geographic coordinate system and map projections,

· Raster data and analysis,

· Regression analysis, and

· Application case studies.

All sections are accompanied by exercises that have been designed to illustrate key applications of GIS in inland and marine fisheries management. Also, a custom-designed ArcView grid regression extension is included to show the integration of GIS with surplus production models.

At the end of the training with this manual, the reader should be able to: apply learned principles and GIS to their own professional situation, perform analyses on their own data, be aware of the vast possibilities that GIS can provide and be able to communicate with GIS expert counterparts.

The manual is useful for a broad range of fishery applications. However, this manual by no means covers all possibilities of GIS, it merely touches upon some of the most important features for fisheries management and planning.

FAO. 2003. Geographic Information Systems in fisheries management and planning. Technical manual, by G. de Graaf, F.J.B. Marttin, J. Aguilar-Manjarrez & J. Jenness. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 449. Rome. 162p.


FAO Members and associate members
FAO Fisheries Department
FAO Fisheries officers in FAO Regional and Subregional Offices

Table of Contents

Preparation of this document



1. Introduction

1.1. GIS and remote sensing activities at the inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service (FIRI)

1.1.1. Past activities at FIRI from 1985 to 1999
1.1.2. Current activities

2. Training with the manual

2.1. Set up of the training and the manual

3. What is GIS?

4. Starting ArcView

4.1. Starting ArcView and Adding a theme
4.2. Opening an ArcView Project
4.3. What is an ArcView project

5. Some Tools in View

6. Graphical displays in the Map View

6.1. Changing colours of a legend
6.2. Changing the number of classes in a legend
6.3. Changing the values of the classes
6.4. Saving and loading of legends
6.5. Selecting and applying bar or pie graphs
6.6. Displaying two parameters in one Theme

6.6.1. Riverine frame survey of Pais Pesca

7. Views and Themes: Definitions and characteristics

8. Joining data with location on a map

8.1. Joining a table with a polygon file
8.2. Joining fish catch data of the districts with a polygon shape file

9. How to edit your Theme table and do calculations

9.1. Adding afield and making calculations in a table

10. Difference between Polygons and Points

10.1. Difference between polygon and point shapefiles

11. Points and degrees

11.1. The geographic coordinate system

11.1.1. Working with latitude - longitude

11.2. Putting field data into a GIS
11.3. Calculation using collected field data
11.4. Graphical displays of points

12. Projection

12.1. Map projection
12.2. Changing projections

12.2.1. Different projections

13. Raster data

13.1. Overlay
13.2. How to set your defaults for the use of Spatial Analyst and change the working directory

13.2.1. Settings of Spatial Analyst
13.2.2. Changing the working directory

13.3. Making surface plots
13.4. How the interpolation of the data works

13.4.1. The topographic map of Pais Pesca

13.5. How to set a mask in a GIS analysis

13.5.1. Pais Pesca: Topography with mask set
13.5.2. Histogram of created grid files
13.5.3. Pais Pesca salinity grid and water depth grid

14. Calculation with grids using GIS

14.1. Map calculations
14.2. Reclassifying
14.3. Querying

14.3.1. Shrimp farming in the coastal areas of Pais Pesca
14.3.2. Protection of fish stocks and the creation of protected areas in Lake Kadim, Pais Pesca

15. Regression analysis

15.1. Linear regression
15.2. Regression with an Avenue script in ArcView

15.2.1. Regression analysis of Lake Kadim data using an avenue script

15.3. Regression analysis between grids with the Grid Regression tool

15.3.1. Grid regression of data from the fish survey at Lake Kadim

16. Use of ArcViews’ help and other ways to expand your knowledge

17. Application case studies

17.1. Real world exercises

17.1.1. World fisheries statistics
17.1.2. Frame survey Lake Volta, Ghana
17.1.3. GIS analysis of catch data of artisanal fisheries in Sinaloa, Mexico
17.1.4. Floodplain fisheries monitoring and GIS, an example from Bangladesh

17.2. Surplus production models and GIS

17.2.1. Fisheries on the Pescan lobster (Cherax grafiensis) in Lake Kadim
17.2.2. Fisheries on the European hake (Merluccius merluccius) in the Mediterranean Sea

18. How to proceed with your own GIS work

18.1. Registering and digitizing an image

18.1.1. Registering
18.1.2. On screen digitizing in ArcView
18.1.3. Real world exercise, Rio Uneiuxi, Brazil


Annex A: Pais Pesca

Annex B: ArcView and Microsoft Excel

Annex C: Kriging

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