Tuesday, March 23, 2010

PIMRIS Portal, the one stop website for all Pacific marine fisheries information


By the end of this week it will take as much effort as pushing a button for you to have access to a wealth of quality marine and fisheries information from the Pacific. Gone are the days of having to trawl through different websites and constant library visits as you search for information on Pacific marine fisheries and environment.

With thanks to the cooperation and contribution of all regional agencies who work in this area, the soon to be launched Pacific Islands Marine Portal (http://www.pimrisportal.org) has brought everything together in the one website, making life a lot easier when it comes to seeking out information on Pacific marine environment and fisheries.

PIMRIS, the Pacific Islands Marine Resources Information System is a Pacific network consisting of agencies from the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP), it has been in operation for the past two decades focusing on building capacity in knowledge management in fisheries departments throughout the Pacific region.

Taking it a step further, PIMRIS has engaged in a new project in partnership with the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange Programme (IODE) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO to provide an online gateway to all information available to the marine resource sector in the Pacific.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) was instrumental in developing the portal structure and identifying resources and content to populate the portal and will continue to work in partnership with University of the South Pacific, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission and Forum Fisheries Agency to further develop the portal in 2010.

The success of this project relies heavily upon the input and ownership of the CROP agencies and partners. It calls upon the ongoing collaboration between regional agencies and national fisheries departments and will continue to do so in the future to ensure the information remains current and the portal is active.

"PIMRIS is a collaborative effort that is supported by all the Pacific Islands and their regional organisations. It is a testament to the value and strength of cooperation and partnership where the sum of the collective work is more then the sum of its individual parts," said Dr Joeli Veitayaki, Head of the Division of Marine Studies, USP.

In 2008 and 2009, funding was provided by IODE to allow for several meetings in which the CROP agencies and partners involved could come together to discuss how this was going to work, and to develop the portal. The portal is hosted by the Project Office for IODE in Oostende, Belgium.

The portal has been designed so that it is user friendly and will be helpful to a wide range of people. Policy makers will be able to visit it for data and information at regional level; school children will be able to visit it to for information for schools and those in the community will find it a useful access point for generic information. It contains information from the Pacific region and is available for use by all.

Our Pacific marine environment faces great threats right now and the Year of Biodiversity has raised once again important facts which we must face. The International Union for Conservation of Nature notes that 6 marine turtles out of 7 are all threatened with extinction, 75% of the world's fisheries are fully or over exploited and one third of reef-building corals around the world are threatened with extinction.

"We need to act fast to secure and provide our people with the resources and development activities that will allow them to have dignified and successful lives while protecting the integrity and health of the natural systems that support our lives," said Dr Joeli Veitayaki.

"The best way to do that is to learn the lessons from the past and then use our best science and technology to formulate and implement sustainable development activities and resource management arrangements for use in all of our communities and countries. For that challenge, we need to have access to the best information we can get, which is what the PIMRIS Portal offers."

Not only will there be a launch of the PIMRIS portal in Fiji this week, but the acknowledgement of another information project under this portal. The PIMRIS regional repository is about ensuring Pacific islands countries and territories will be able to provide preservation in digital format and better access to their country documents. The Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati and Samoa are involved in a pilot project developing the capacity of each of the country fisheries departments to manage their fisheries documents and to allow each country to be able to upload national documents in digital format to the regional repository.

The launch of the Pacific Islands Marine Portal will take place in Marine Lecture Theatre at USP, Suva, Fiji, from 2.00-3.00pm on Thursday, 25th of March 2010.

Notes: The University of the South Pacific (USP) through a partnership between the Library and the Division of Marine Studies coordinates PIMRIS activities. The PIMRIS Steering Committee consisting of representatives of all CROP agencies and national fisheries & marine resources departments serves as an advisory body on protocols for these activities.


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