Fisheries management key to reducing hunger, poverty

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Fisheries management plays an important role in reducing hunger and poverty, as well as creating jobs and sustainable growth in the southern African region.

This was a view shared by stakeholders who attended the first port-call event in Durban on Friday.

Held under the theme, “Supporting the application of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries management considering climate and pollution impacts,” the event was part of a survey programme of a research vessel, under the EAF-Nansen Programme, which has specific port call events on board aimed to increase awareness about ocean issues.

The general objective of the surveys with the Dr Fridtjof Nansen Research Vessel is to collect data on distribution and abundance of fish stocks, biodiversity, environmental conditions, occurrence of micro plastics, using cutting-edge technology and sophisticated equipment to assist developing countries assemble scientific data critical to sustainable fisheries management, and to study how a changing climate is affecting the oceans.

The new research vessel, the third to be named Dr Fridtjof Nansen in the 40th year partnership between Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and Norway, is a unique platform for knowledge generation and capacity development.

The ship houses seven different laboratories packed with high tech equipment, and is the only marine research ship on the globe that flies the UN flag.

The event also provided an excellent opportunity to flag the collaboration between the national authorities, Norway and FAO, as well as regional and international partners to generate knowledge that can help address key issues facing the oceans today.

Speaking at the event, FAO representative in South Africa, Lewis Hove, underlined the importance of the partnership between the organization and the Norwegian Government in implementing the project.

Hove noted that beyond the information that will make it possible to improve the management of fisheries, and leading to more sustainable resources use, the associated research will allow a better understanding of the impacts of climate change and other external factors, including pollution on aquatic ecosystems.

“This new and impressive ship brings important innovations and technological capabilities necessary to improve scientific research. The 2018 regional research programme of this new ship that we are welcoming, starts here in Durban, South Africa, and is expected to end in October 2018 in Phuket, Thailand.

“The survey will cover the south-eastern part of Africa and Indian Ocean, as well as the Bay of Bengal. This new and impressive ship brings important innovations and technological capabilities necessary to improve scientific research,” Hove said.

Hove added that the EAF/Nansen programme has a long and sustained history of practical, useful and innovative research around South Africa, and elsewhere in the world.

This has been very important in generating, not only knowledge, but valuable collaborations within and amongst countries, he said.

Sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture

In his address, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) Minister Senzeni Zokwana said that the department’s mandate is to promote the development and sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture, as well as the development of the local fisheries sector.

Minister Zokwana said the formal collaboration between South Africa and Norway in the field of Fisheries Management began right after the first South African democratic election in 1994, when the two countries signed the Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate strengthening of the capacity of the new democratic government, post 1994.

Norwegian Ambassador to South Africa, Trine Skymoen, said Norway and South Africa have developed a close partnership in the Oceans Economy.

“Marine Research, such as that provided for by the Nansen Programme, is of critical importance for unleashing the ocean’s full potential in a sustainable manner,” Skymoen said.

About EAF-Nansen Programme

The EAF-Nansen Programme is becoming one of the main references for FAO in supporting African countries in their efforts to manage fisheries and implement the principles of sustainable development.

The programme is funded by the Government of Norway, through the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and implemented by FAO, in close collaboration with the Norwegian Institute for Marine Research that operates the vessel and provides scientific services to the programme.

In 2017, the South African Government, through DAFF and Environmental Affairs and FAO signed a cooperative programme agreement for the implementation of the EAF-Nansen Programme.

These efforts are in line with global and regional priorities, as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also consistent with FAO’s Strategic Objective “Make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable.”

Several survey legs have been planned, and detailed planning is ongoing with the scientists of the region to set the priorities. –

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