Working with legal interoperability in the fishery and marine sciences

(ALL INTERNAL RIGHTS) Schooling jacks (Carangidae sp.) near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. The Solomon Islands nation is ranked among the top 10 most biologicallly diverse and imperiled nations in the world. The Conservancy's conservation work in Melanesia, part of the Global Islands Parntership, has provided models for conservation that are being leveraged roadly and deeply throughout the Pacific region.  The Global Island Partnership between organizations and governments engages in high-level commitments and action for island conservation and sustainable use. Photo credit: © Daniel & Robbie Wisdom

One of the most interesting things that we have been working on during the last weeks is related to an analysis of data sources and stakeholders in the fishery and marine sciences in terms of legal interoperability – a work taking place in the context of a collaboration with the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO). What we are actually contributing to a detailed deliverable for the EGI-Engage project is an analysis of key data stakeholders in the marine and fishery context, along with the major data sources and licensing schemes available (the latter being the most important part of our contribution to the deliverable). The aim of this work is to identify major obstacles in terms of legal interoperability between existing data sources in the specific sectors, identify common patterns in their licensing schemes and come up with recommendations that will facilitate data exchange between these data sources, thus enhancing data use, reuse and sharing and allowing the development of data-powered services on top of them. Agroknow has a long experience in the legal interoperability between different data sources in the agri-food sector; this collaboration allowed us to to apply our experience in a different context which still faces similar challenges.

Babis and Vassilis during their recent visit to UN FAO HQ at Rome

Babis and Vassilis during their recent visit to UN FAO HQ at Rome

Our involvement in this work allowed us (including my colleague Babis Thanopoulos who is coordinating our contribution) to participate in a really interesting meeting organized on 17/3/2016 at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy by the FAO team. The aim of the meeting was to present this ongoing work to people from various departments of FAO (e.g. legal, communications, geospatial etc.) that attended the meeting so that they could express their opinion and explore opportunities for the application of the methodology in other contexts as well. The meeting was chaired by Marc Taconet, Chief of FAO’s Fishery Statistics and Information Branch (FIPS) while Anton Ellenbroek from the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department & Eise Van Maanen, who is also working with the UN FAO team on this work. In the audience there were also people working for a really long time on information and knowledge management (and sharing of course), including (but not limited to) our good friend and collaborator Johannes Keizer and Stephen Katz – a person who long experience in information and knowledge management in the agrifood sector.

The meeting allowed us to present the work done so far and get valuable feedback from the participants, who provided a different view on the topics discussed.

Despite the limited available time, it seems that it was enough time for presenting our work, getting feedback for it, discussing the next steps, interviewing a number of interesting (and interested) FAO staff members and meeting good friends like Johannes Keizer, Thembani Malapela and Fabrizio Celli from FAO AGRIS and AIMS. Meeting experienced and knowledgeable people like Marc Taconet (who I last met in the European Open Science Workshop last November after meeting him for the first time during the joint CIARD/GODAN consultation meeting in April 2014) and Anton (among others), is a great experience and potentially a start for new collaborations and interesting work.

There is still quite a lot of work to be done in the context of the deliverable to be produced and submitted so I guess you’ll hear more about it in the next months. 🙂

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