An overview of FishBase and SeaLifebase was given.
Simple identification tools for fish species were included in the FishBase information system from its inception. Early tools made use of the relational model and characters like fin ray meristics. Soon pictures and drawings were added as a further help, similar to a field guide. Later came the computerization of existing dichotomous keys, again in combination with pictures and other information, and the ability to restrict possible species by country, area, or taxonomic group. Today, www.FishBase.org offers four different ways to identify species.
Fish museums across the world are a repository of historical data on fish abundance and occurrence. These occurrence points when mapped provide a picture of present-day and earlier fish distribution. The accuracy of the map will depend on how exhaustive the museum collection is for the area, and also on the museums’ collection practices (comprehensiveness and survey design).
FishBase is an electronic encyclopaedia and database containing information on fish, including growth, mortality, distribution, nomenclature and other parameters. The large amount of data in the system now permits its manipulation to test hypotheses related to taxonomy which has resulted in a new subdiscipline called metataxonomy. The development of interactive graphs has provided a powerful tool for many disciplines related to ichthyology and biodiversity.
FISHBASE is a global biological database on fishes developed by ICLARM in collaboration with the FAO of the United Nations. The development is mainly supported by teh Commission of the European Communities. A preliminary checklist of Philippine marine and freshwater fishes was generated from Fishbase. The list, arranged by order and family, includes the species name, author and year, and Philippine common names, mainly in Tagalog. Subsets of this list were generated for fishes used in aquaculture, the aquarium trade or sports fishing, and for introduced, threatened and dangerous fishes.
The article provides information on how other researchers can actively help the FishBase staff in their data entry through "flat files". The flat files for specific type of information, i.e. common names, diets and occurrence records, consists of one single table custom-made for purposes of record entry by non-FishBase staff researcher. Being independent from FishBase, and yet having a format compatible with FishBase, these flat files serve as links to collaborators who are willing to actively help the FishBase staff in their data entry.
In 1996 the European Union launched a project on strengthening fisheries and biodiversity management in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The overall objective is to contribute to the sustainable use of living aquatic resources in ACP countries, with the emphasis on fish resources. Elements in the project include training, scientific networking and the development of national biodiversity databases.
Whale shark as listed in the Fishbase database was described.
Fishbase is an electronic encyclopedia on fish being developed at ICLARM with the cooperation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and funded by the Commission of European Communities. To date, Fishbase contains key information for about 12000 fish species globally, including about 2800 species of the Oceania region. Fishbase is available on CD-ROM for personal computers with Window 3.1 or later. A design for an Oceania Biodiversity Information System is presented and the integrated of Fishbase into such a system is discussed.