FISHBASE sends out an S.O.S.!

We have just been informed that a major payment to support the FishBase encoders for 2018 will not be made. It comes at a time when use of FishBase produced a major scientific breakthrough (Rabosky et al., 2018) with far-reaching practical implications. This leaves us with a US$ 200,000 funding gap for the rest of 2018. We will have to ask our expert staff [in the Philippines] to go on unpaid leave until we receive sufficient additional funding. If FishBase is useful to you, please donate to bring us back on track. This is an urgent call for your help.

Dr. Deng Palomares, Board Member and Science Director of Q-quatics, Inc., and  Project Manager of Sea Around Us wrote this letter for our partners, collaborators, users, and friends as a call for support:

Dear FishBase Users,

FishBase needs help and I am writing to you because you either have at one point or another requested data to be extracted from FishBase for your own research purposes or have contributed your own data to FishBase.

One of the FishBase funders has had to reduce its commitment and as a result, there is a US$200,000 gap in the FishBase 2018/2019 budget, which will result in forced unpaid leave of key staff with direct consequences for the constant updating and growth of FishBase, a resource on which many of biologists rely.

Many of us use FishBase regularly in our work given it provides important data on distribution, traits etc. Indeed, these data are so valuable that FishBase receives over 700,000 unique visits per month and underpins key scientific breakthroughs such as the Nature paper on rates of evolution [it’s slower in the tropics!]

Key about FishBase is that it is free for everyone in the world, regardless of whether their institutions can afford journal subscriptions.

FishBase co-founder Dr. Daniel Pauly once said “sending a bibliography is like providing cookbooks in a famine” and it has been the underpinning ethos of FishBase to make information available equally, regardless of where one works.

So for nearly 30 years, FishBase, with its team of biologists and programmers has done just that, while constantly improving and expanding this valued resource.

But FishBase needs our help now. So, when you are next online on FishBase and see the donate request pop up, please donate at least $25. That’s one bottle of good VQA wine in Canada or half a carton of decent beer in Australia, 3 packs of organic Hess avocados from Loblaws or 6 latte grandes at Starbucks. If you drink more beer, use more avocado on your toast or are caffeine dependent, please consider a larger donation. IF EVERY MARINE RESEARCHER GETS ON BOARD, we can make a major contribution to FishBase. Imagine if you had to pay to access this type of information.

It’s time to pay it forward!

Thank you for your consideration and we all look forward to a flood of worldwide support to FishBase.

Best wishes,

At present, FishBase covers 34,000 fish species (with >323,000 common names and >58,000 pictures) compiled from >55,000 references in partnership with >2,300 collaborators. It’s the world’s largest information portal for marine organisms. Our website gathers more than 700,000 visits monthly. The breadth and depth of information in the database, combined with the analytical and graphical tools available on the web interface, catering to different needs of diverse groups of stakeholders –scientists, researchers, policy makers, fisheries managers, donors, conservationists, teachers, and students. Its various applications aim for sustainable fisheries management, biodiversity conservation, and environmental protection.

Last year, on the 6th of July, Dr. Rainer Froese (FishBase co-founder) received the Le Cren Medal in behalf of the FishBase Consortium and entire FishBase Team, from the Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI), in honor of their valuable and lifelong contribution to fisheries science: “the world’s largest information portal of marine organisms”. The FSBI is an international learned society that promotes the interests of fish biology and fisheries management.

With the help of our collaborators, we update the database daily (internally), and bimonthly on the website. FishBase has been providing the database and web interface for free for the past 28 years, thanks to a full-time dedicated team of experts in the Philippines. However, we are lacking recurrent funding to maintain the information system up to date both in content and technological innovation. The current funding gap is wide due to an unexpected turn of events. We are in dire need of your help us get back on track. [We gratefully acknowledge financial contribution to continue the service of this open resource].

Thank you and we’re looking forward that you click on the fish below.

[Video courtesy of Sea Around Us]

About Joann Glorioso

Events Coordinator / Communications & Public Relations Officer

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