Data and Operational Oceanography: A Review in Support of Responsible Fisheries and Aquaculture

Data and Operational Oceanography: A Review in Support of Responsible Fisheries and Aquaculture

Enrique Wulff (Andalusian Institute for Marine Sciences (CSIC), Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7308-1.ch014


Data obtained within the operational oceanography infrastructures denote a possibility of significant analysis of fisheries in the progress of the implementation of the 1995 FAO Code for Responsible Fisheries. Data products for fisheries and aquaculture cater for research needs, thereby ensuring a capacity to meet temporal resolution, time frame, reporting frequency and interoperability formats requirements. The existence of this legislation and the costs of its enforcement make that the present data infrastructures are employed under relatively precarious circumstances. This chapter provides with an overview, not exhaustive but demonstrative, of what has been achieved for data within operational oceanography addressing the needs of fisheries and aquaculture scientists.
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Intensive use of the ocean has led to ongoing pollution of marine spaces. Pollution is affecting 60% of the world's major marine ecosystems, which are increasingly threatened by acidification caused by unsustainable aquaculture practices, pollution, waste, invasive species and climate change (Bijma et al., 2013). Data collection, data analysis and research incorporate the contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to society (and should not be used to expand its metrics to a broader range of industrial activities). Additionally, substantial net benefits can be derived from management of data on responsible fisheries and aquaculture with a focus on economics (World Bank & FAO, 2009, p.81).

The precautionary approach concerning the harvesting, handling, processing and distribution of fish and fishery products has received considerable attention since 1995, when FAO proposed an international Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2000). Over the intervening twenty years of progress, fisheries management policies (including those for aquaculture) have taken into account the fact that uncertainty (Pontecorvo, 2003) and absence of data for estimation of fishery parameters (e.g. length at first capture, fishing season) and aquaculture parameters (alkalinity, carbon dioxide, dissolved oxygen, hardness, pH and salinity) should not justify a failure to apply rules, especially in the presence of indicators pointing to overexploitation of the fish stocks. These indicators show that the fisheries and aquaculture sector relies on assumed efficient traceability schemes to determine the origin of wild-caught fish and farmed fish, both because aquaculture production might lead to environmental challenges and because persistent overexploitation of fish stocks, and illegal fishing, pose a major threat to adequate future availability of wild fish, an important natural resource (Saitoh et al., 2011).

Fulfilling the obligations suggested by the Code requires the stage to be set for satellite or In situ-based operational oceanography applied to fisheries data. Inputting in-situ or altimetry data for the open oceans and coastal systems require data resources including sea surface temperature, vorticity, and ocean color, and data products by merging satellite/environment data with catch data and biological data. These are stored in a variety of different formats and are dispersed across a network of data centres. As fishery managers integrate more data in the spatial dimension, and data delivery becomes more operational, product requests are likely to change rapidly (Berx et al., 2011). So the visibility of operational oceanographic data resources for fisheries has a direct influence on the ability of data managers to fulfill the obligations of the FAO Code that is concerned with responsible fisheries.

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