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FAO holds meeting to develop overfishing alert system

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 22 (UNI) Over 65 experts of Knowledge Technology and Communications and industry are holding deliberations at Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) headquarters in Rome to develop a computerised 'warning system' against overfishing which is depleting fish stocks.

The three-day meeting, which began on March 20, is discussing how computers can be used for rapid selection of information needed on any given subject.

The programme for which the FAO is providing information through its access to global fisheries databases as a test case, is a part of a 14.7 million euro 4-year project and has been largely co-funded by the European Union (EU).

Using a grant of 680,000 euros from the EU, FAO will not only provide access to its worldwide fisheries information, but its information specialists will also be working simultaneously with other technical experts to develop the new alert systems, according to a Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) release here today.

Organisers of the NeOn project (Lifecycle Support for Networked Ontologies) selected FAO's expertise in global fisheries information systems to help develop the warning system.

The FAO case study will be one of two selected in different sectors, fisheries and pharmaceuticals, and used by NeOn to test a new approach for compiling, sharing and disseminating electronic information.

''Managing the world's fish stocks is a major challenge both at present and in the future. If successful, the project will help us to keep track of fish stocks across the world by taking information from a wide variety of sources and providing us with rapid real-time information,'' Mr Richard Grainger, Chief of Fishery Information, Data and Statistics, FAO, stated.

Fish currently provide at least 20 per cent of the animal protein needs of over 2.5 billion people in the world, but some fish stocks are being rapidly reduced due to overfishing, poor fishing practices and environmental degradation.

Through an alert system, FAO will assist the member countries in monitoring fisheries and levels of fish stocks as well as implementing the strategy for improving information on status and trends of capture fisheries, adopted by the FAO Council in 2003.

The project's aim is to provide more information to farmers, fishermen and others in poor countries in a cost effective manner and contribute in removing the rural-digital divide.


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