DURBAN, 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 held in Durban Friday 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 programme is executed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) of Norway and is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (Norad)

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 of the partnership between the FAO 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 Friday’s event here, the FAO representative in South Africa, Lewis 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,” he said.

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.”