Inland Fisheries

Geographical information systems and remote sensing in inland fisheries and aquaculture. FISHERIES TECHNICAL PAPER No. 318.

Managing inland fisheries

The rapidly rising world population is causing both a pressure on land and water space and the need to greatly increase food output. A realistic and practicable way of supplying more food protein is to increase fish production through the extension of aquaculture and inland fisheries. Since production sites for these activities need to satisfy fairly complex location criteria, it is important that suitable areas are identified and preferably designated in advance. The location criteria which control aquaculture and inland fisheries are identified and described. These mainly consist of physical and economic considerations though social factors may be important. It is necessary to obtain data to allow for its mapping. The various alternatives for assembling this data are described.

Two fields of applied science and technology have recently emerged which, when used in combination, can greatly assist in the spatial decision-making process. The fundamentals of the first of these, remote sensing, are described giving particular emphasis to the commercial, high resolution environmental satellites and the sensing devices which they carry. The manner in which the aerial photographic and digital images which are produced can be processed and applied to the search for optimum fish production locations is described, and then indications are given as to where and how remotely sensed data can best be procured. Once the various types of locational data are assembled, the necessary maps on which location decisions are made can be drawn up. This task can be greatly expedited by using the second applied science and technology field, that of “geographical information systems”. This emerging methodology relies on the increasing power of the computer to process vast amounts of spatially referenced and encoded data in such a way as to produce any desired maps, tabular or textual output, using a large array of ways to manipulate the data. The required computer hardware and software are reviewed, including examples where appropriate, and we show the considerations which are necessary in setting up a geographical information system for the development and management of aquaculture and inland fisheries. We conclude by giving an divergent selection of relevant case studies.