FSBI president Iain Barber congratulates Dr Rainer Froese. Photo: Dr Sulayman Mourabit

FSBI president Iain Barber congratulates Dr Rainer Froese. Photo: Dr Sulayman Mourabit


Le Cren medal for FishBase

Fisheries Society of the British Isles honors the world's largest database for marine organisms

07 July 2017 / Exeter, Kiel. Whether lay persons or professionals - who is looking for detailed, scientifically founded information about fish species will find them in the online database FishBase. It is the world's largest information portal for marine organisms. The origins of the database, which was initiated by Kiel marine researchers, date back to the 1980s. Today an international team keeps the information on more than 33,000 species constantly updated. Yesterday, the Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI) awarded to the FishBase consortium the Le Cren medal for long-term contributions to fisheries research. “We are very pleased about this recognition by our peers,” says FishBase co-founder Dr. Rainer Froese from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, who received the medal on behalf of the whole consortium.

The first CD version of FishBase was produced in 1995 and in 1998 the first version of the FishBase went online. “We started with 15,000 species at the time and had about 2000 visitors per month, mainly from science,” remembers Dr. Froese. The portal has constantly been expanded by additional species, but also information and image material based on current scientific knowledge has been added. Today far more non-scientists than scientists visit FishBase. “Whether aquarists, anglers, divers, pupils, students, journalists or fish enthusiasts - FishBase is used by everyone,” says Dr. Froese. Since the year 2000, FishBase has been managed by an international consortium in which GEOMAR is also represented. The data are entered by a team of professionals in the Philippines, with the support of the global scientific community. Meanwhile the information is provided in more than 20 languages, which the worldwide use of the information platform. And FishBase is constantly growing. “Every year several hundred new fish species are described and numerous studies are published, so there is no lack of work," says Dr. Froese.

The Le Cren Medal is named after the British fish biologist E. David Le Cren who published fundamental studies on the development of fish in the 1950s. With it, the FSBI honors one or more individuals who have made a lifelong contribution to all aspects of the study of fish biology and/or fisheries science, with a focus on conservation, training or public understanding of the discipline.