This book was conceived in the summer of 2000. At that time, a European Commission-funded, 3-year project on cephalopod resource dynamics was in its completion and the Millennium Cephalopod Conference of the Cephalopod International Advisory Committee (CIAC) was in progress at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. One of CIAC Conference satellite meetings was the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Fisheries Workshop, where GIS scientists and marine biologists from all over the world exchanged ideas on GIS implementation in cephalopod fisheries. The need for information based fisheries management proposals was underlined and progress of marine and fisheries GIS developments to this goal was evident.

From the start, this book was organised around the need for information-based marine and fisheries management and especially on how GIS can contribute and facilitate these processes. GIS technology, as a new technology, is continually under development progressing in a rapid pace. In the book, many oceanographic and fisheries GIS applications are reviewed, applications that present a high variety of methods and sophisticated approaches. For example, in Oceanography, GIS suggests methods for the mapping and measurement of major ocean processes that greatly affect the state of marine environment while in Fisheries, GIS provides a suitable framework for the facilitation of the complex fisheries management process. The contents of this book present general GIS issues through specific marine and fisheries applications providing also related GIS routines. The book is organised in four main sections: The first part describes the main components of a marine GIS, the relation of GIS with similar technologies, conceptual issues on marine spatial thinking, models of marine GIS development with emphasis to the essential goal of any GIS, that of generating information-based management proposals. The second part presents the main sampling methods and online sources of spatially referenced oceanographic data and covers application examples on how GIS contribute to the mapping of certain oceanographic phenomena (upwelling, front, gyre, etc.), deep ocean environments and other oceanic studies. The third part presents various fisheries monitoring methods and online sources of spatially referenced fisheries data and covers fisheries application examples revealing how GIS contribute to the identification of spatiotemporal components of marine species population dynamics (spawning grounds, essential habitats, migration corridors, etc.). Both parts on GIS in Oceanography and Fisheries examine an extensive number of applications. The purpose of this examination is to present the many different areas and variety of ways GIS are used in these fields and provide ideas for further GIS developments. Finally, the fourth part (ANNEX I and II) presents GIS technical issues by listing the marine GIS routines for a wide array of GIS tasks (data downloading and GIS database design, data analysis, integration, output, and system interfacing).

It is anticipated that the relevance of the book will be such that anyone with interests in marine GIS development, physical and biological oceanography, fisheries and information based proposals for marine resource management will find it useful. The aim of the idea of producing a book that examines general marine GIS issues through a great number of reviewed applications and GIS routine presentation is to inspire others to produce further potential developments in the increasingly developing and highly related fields of Oceanographic and Fisheries GIS. Without doubt, such applications offer suitable tools for information-based management of marine resources and provide a fascinating way to study the marine environment.

Author acknowledges with gratitude the support in various levels of Stratis Georgakarakos, Argiris Kapandagakis, John Laurijsen, John Haralabous, Panos Drakopoulos, Christos Arvanitidis, Kostas Dounas, Katerine Siakavara, Antonis Magoulas, George Kotoulas, Andrew Banks (Institute of Marine Biology of Crete, Greece), Tassos Eleftheriou, (University of Crete, Greece), Drosos Koutsoubas (University of the Aegean, Greece), Peter Boyle, Graham Pierce, Jianjun Wang (University of Aberdeen, UK), Paul Roadhouse, Phil Trathan, (British Antarctic Survey, UK), Arthur Cracknell (University of Dundee), Daniel Brackett, Scott Smith (University of Florida, USA), Ge Sun (North Carolina State University, USA), Darius Bartlett (Cork University, Ireland), Dawn Wright (Oregon State University, USA), Joao Pereira (Instituto de Investigacao das Pescas e do Mar, Portugal), Gildas Lecorre (Institut Francais de Recherche pour l' Exploration de la Mer, France), Eduardo Balguerias (Centro Oceanografico de Canarias, Spain) and Vincent Dennis, Jean-Paul Robin (Universite de Caen, France). Author's cooperation among these colleagues either in various international and national projects or for invaluable discussion and advice on the organisation of this book was of great value for the initiation, compilation and completion of this research.

Author highly acknowledges with obligation the following people, who deliberately contributed their work by presenting their latest marine and fisheries GIS applications greatly enhancing the contents of this book:

  • Fabio Carocci, Jacek Majkowski and Francoise Schatto (Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations - FAO, Rome, Italy)
  • Falk Huettmann (Simon Fraser University, Canada)
  • Rick Lathrop, Phoebe Zhang, and Jen Gregg (Rutgers University, USA)
  • Geoffrey Matthews (National Marine Fisheries Service, USA)
  • Helena Molina-Urena (University of Miami, USA)
  • Kimberly Murray (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, USA)
  • Juan-Pablo Pertierra (Commission of European Communities, Belgium)
  • Terry Peterson (MicroImages, Inc., USA)
  • Teresa Pina (University of the Algavre, Portugal)
  • Mitchell Roffer (Roffer's Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc., Miami, FL, USA)
  • Claire Waluba (British Antarctic Survey, UK)

    The author is obliged to Mrs Margaret Eleftheriou for her thorough and constructive reading of Chapter 1 of the manuscript and greatly acknowledges the four anonymous referees of the book's proposal. The author is highly obliged to Geoff J. Meaden (Canterbury Christ Church College, UK) for his kind overall help and critical and constructive reading of the manuscript.