The Onboard Observers Programme of the Argentine province of Chubut Fisheries Secretariat (POBCH) will participate in the Oceanic Bio-geographic Information System (OBIS) by supplying periodic marine biodiversity data acquired from fishing results on specific species.
The idea of integrating the international data base occurred during the last days of the National Summit on Marine Science. At the time, the representatives from the National Patagonia Centre (CENPAT) regional node expressed an interest in data supplied by the heads of POBCH. The participation proposal was officially announced by Mirtha Lewis, Vice-Director and researcher for CENPAT, (National Council for Scientific and Technical Research), (CONICET) and an OBIS representative since 2005. Operations co-ordinator of the Onboard Observers Programme, Luis Mendia, said that to start data collected by the freezer shrimp fleet from 2003 to 2005 will be included. In the future, information will be continually updated. "We will update the first data base, and the idea is to add-on information from the high-seas and coastal fresh fish fleet" underlined Mendia. Additionally the "presence or absence of species in specific areas will be registered" as well as specific information on biodiversity, but will not include information on catch volumes or catch positions" reported Pesca & Puertos."It is to our advantage that we form part of the OBIS because contacts can be established as well as an open exchange with scientists, technicians, and those interested in the information available. This can further strengthen and enrich the Observers Onboard Programme", said the heads of POBCH. "Furthermore, given that the data forming part of the OBIS is subject to academic revision, it will allow us to maintain constant control of our data base and at the same time continually improve it" indicated Luis Mendia. OBIS is an international, coordinated and open data base, which targets the promotion of scientific and technical efforts for the development of a global digital information site on marine biodiversity. (FIS/MP).-