Geographic information systems and ocean mapping in support of fisheries management
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Geographic information systems and ocean mapping in support of fisheries management
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    The Geographic Information Systems and Ocean Mapping in Support of Fisheries Conference evolved from a commitment by Chris Chryssostomidis, Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant College Program and John Boreman, Director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center NOAA/NMFS to identify ways to collaborate on geospatial mapping in support of fisheries management. A Steering Committee representing a broad spectrum of organizations and agencies was invaluable in identifying themes, recommending speakers, and providing advice for framing the discussions. The structure included presentations and posters by participants. The success of the workshop was not only due to the excellent input from the speakers and poster presenters, but also from the networking and animated conversations among the attendees. Each of the presenters was asked to focus on what is needed to enhance our ability to manage fisheries and to use geographic information systems (GIS) and mapping data more effectively. The focus was on regional mapping initiatives and highlighted sophisticated data management capabilities needed to realize important ocean mapping products and analysis. Several of the speakers provided case studies, in which geographic information systems and ocean mapping were critical tools in the management process. Dick Pickrill, Director Canadian Marine Environmental Geoscience, in his opening remarks noted that the 21st century will be known for "knowledge-based integrated management of ocean resources" that portend a new role for marine science. This theme was repeated throughout the presentations and posters. Seafloor mapping efforts to collect the necessary data and GIS tools to support ecosystem-based management require integration, collaboration, and cooperation to produce products that are designed to address stakeholders' needs. Statistical analyses are used to integrate information and support development of meaningful models. Sophisticated data management capabilities are needed to realize important GIS activities and products. The importance of mapping product accessibility for stakeholders was also emphasized throughout the day. Among the highlighted approaches were EcoGIS tools for ecosystem approach to fisheries management, the Gulf of Maine Ocean Data Partnership (GoMODP), the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS), greater online data operability, and stakeholder participation through internet mapping and online geographic information system (GIS) tools. Several approaches using online GIS tools are being developed for ensuring products are applicable to users needs and were presented at the conference.
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