Effective decision-making for integrated fisheries and natural resource management requires accurate and timely information. MRAG has developed considerable expertise in data and information management through the design and implementation of numerous information systems for fisheries and environmental resources. In fact, information technology underpins so much of MRAG's work that a sub-unit has been created within the organisation, called MRAG IT, to service the Information Technology needs of each project. The skills of MRAG IT, include systems analysis, database design, data management, software development and GIS.
MRAG's experience in building database systems and applications was developed through its involvement in the management of large commercial fisheries such as those of South Georgia, Falkland Islands, British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and Namibia. The requirement to process and analyse large volumes of data in a timely and efficient manner places large demands on available computing facilities and generates the demand for sophisticated data processing systems.
Other IT projects have included the development of computer software for the quantitative assessment of fishery resources, specifically for use by scientists in developing countries, and designed to provide access to powerful data analysis techniques often beyond the scope of many developing country institutions. These include the popular software tools LFDA (Length Frequency Data Analysis), CEDA (Catch Effort Data Analysis), Yield and PFSA (Participatory Fisheries Stock Assessment).
MRAG is also utilising Geographic Information Systems (GIS) capabilities to develop integrated procedures for the spatial modeling, mapping and monitoring of fisheries data. These are currently being implemented by MRAG in the management of several highly active commercial fisheries in the south Atlantic and western Indian Oceans.