Training Workshop on “Communicating Research to Policy Makers in the Western Indian Ocean Region”: Call for application!

January 23rd, 2016 No comments

The Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) in collaboration with the Training Center in Communication (TCC) of Kenya and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of South Africa, are organizing a Training Workshop on �Communicating Research to Policy Makers in the Western Indian Ocean Region�, that will be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 4-8 April 2016.

All those who want to apply, please send your letter of motivation, Curriculum Vitae and a letter of recommendation from your employer to: Dr. Shigalla Mahongo <mahongo@hotmail.com>, with a copy to Dr. Mathias Igulu  <mathiasigulu@gmail.com>.

The deadline for submission of application: 10 February 2016.

Download the full announcement.

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WIOMSA Newsbrief: Latest Issue!

December 21st, 2015 No comments

The latest Issue of the WIOMSA Newsbrief is out. This bumper Issue contains several articles on the Ninth WIOMSA Scientific Symposium that was held in the Eastern Cape in South Africa in October 2015. Some of articles in the issues are: The 9th WIOMSA Scientific Symposium;  My Final Blog – A Symposium to Remember;  Management and Governance of the Coastal Marine Environment in the Spotlight; Special Sessions at the 9th WIOMSA Scientific Symposium: Friday 31st October 2015;  Pre-Symposium Meetings and Nirmal and Rudy receive WIOMSA Fellow and Honorary Membership Awards. Other articles are 9th WIOMSA Scientific Symposium Student Competition Winners Selected; Winning Photos Unveiled at Symposium Gala Dinner; Inaugural Symposium Video Competition Attracts Impressive Entries; Larval Fish Identification Workshop held in Port Elizabeth and From the Social Media Desk. Announcement on Call for Proposals and a Symposium Gallery are also included.

We wish you all Merry Christmas and the very best and a peaceful 2016.

Download the full Issue.

MASMA Programme: Call for proposals!!!

December 15th, 2015 No comments

The Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) through its Marine Science for Management (MASMA) programme is inviting submission of proposals. Grants of up to US$ 150 000 will be awarded to carry out research in the Western Indian Ocean region.

For more information, please visit, www.wiomsa.org.

Questions for clarification on this Call, be sent by e-mail to secretary@wiomsa.org

The deadline for the submission of Proposals is 28 February 2016.

Download the full announcement.

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Call for expression of interest as co-authors

November 25th, 2015 No comments

The EAF-Nansen Project of the FAO in collaboration with the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) are calling for expression of interest from experts interested in being authors of chapters of a publication (specialist report) on the Contributions of the research vessel Dr Fridtjof Nansen to research capacity development, management, and conservation of marine resources and ecosystems in the Western Indian Ocean. There will be 2 or 3 authors’ workshops, and a peer-review process, and is to be completed by December 2016. General information on the initiative is attached.

Interested experts are requested to a) indicate areas of expertise, b) the chapters they may wish to write either as lead authors or co-authors, and c) submit copies of their CV’s by email to jgroeneveld@ori.org.za, with a copy to Kwame.Koranteng@fao.organd julius@wiomsa.org by 11 December 2015.

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Regional Forum on Solutions for Oceans, Coasts and Human Wellbeing in Africa: Call for solutions!

November 9th, 2015 No comments

Across Africa, multiple examples of inspiring “blue solutions” which successfully help overcome challenges to sustainable development and human wellbeing in the marine and coastal realm can be found. The Blue Solutions Initiatives in collaboration with the Abidjan Convention, the Nairobi Convention, the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association as well as the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are organizing a four-day Regional Forum, scheduled to be held in June 2016 in Zanzibar, Tanzania, to provide a platform for African practitioners and decision-makers involved in marine and coastal planning, management and governance for sustainable development to:
• Enable mutual learning and support knowledge transfer on experiences.
• Inspire participants and facilitate the adaptation of successful experiences towards the implementation of sustainable solutions in marine and coastal contexts.

All those interested have the opportunity to share their successful experiences related to marine and coastal planning, management and governance for sustainable development. Your solution will be shared on the online platform and if submitted until 30th November considered for presentation at the Regional Forum. A solution can be related to various sectors (biodiversity conservation, sustainable fisheries, sustainable tourism, …).
For more information, download the full announcement.

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Call for decisive action on climate change from WIO scientist community

November 8th, 2015 No comments

On behalf of the entire Western Indian Ocean Scientific Community and the friends of WIO region, we, a community of 500 coastal and marine scientists working in the Western Indian Ocean, meeting at the 9th biennial Scientific Symposium of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (www.wiomsa.org) make this Declaration to the 21st COP of the UNFCCC and to the global community, to call for decisive action on climate change by the world’s political and business leaders.

Please read the full Declaration and have your voice heard by signing the petition at https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/UNFCCC_COP21_Paris_2015_Call_for_decisive_action_on_climate_change_from_WIO_scientist_community_2/?egQaTbb.

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9TH WIOMSA SCIENTIFIC SYMPOSIUM BLOG DAY 4

October 29th, 2015 No comments

Hello Delegates!

We made it to day four! Past hump day and into the homestretch. Today was still a very busy day though. We started a little earlier than normal so that we could get a book launch, a mini-documentary, two keynote speakers, and a full day of sessions in. I am exhausted!

This morning WIOMSA debuted a brand new book titled “Mangroves of the WIO: Status and Management”. The Regional Mangrove Network has collaboratively developed this mangrove ecology and management book which is based on country case studies. The book presents an up to date scientific and holistic view of the mangrove ecosystem in the Western Indian Ocean region; and it helps to point out areas where gaps exist in our knowledge, as well as showcase the strengths for each country. It combines different aspects of bio-physical settings, climatology and hydrodynamics, and presents in-country existing management strategies.

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Following the book launch, we were privileged to watch the mini-documentary MARECO, filmed in the WIO region. The Coral Reef Teaching Toolbox, made by Bernard Surugue and produced by the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), in association with WIOMSA, is a film that showcases a teaching toolbox designed to educate teachers, students, and their families, about coral reefs.

The goal is to help them learn about the reef and its inhabitants, as well as the relationships these inhabitants have with each other. Biodiversity, symbiosis, conservation, and protection, are all themes of the teaching toolbox, making children and their families aware of the role that the reef plays in their daily lives. This game also helps children to see their own place in the large ocean ecosystem and encourages all involved to work together for better lives, better reefs, and better futures.

Our first keynote speaker, Ivan Nagelkerken, continued with the ecological connectivity theme and spoke to us about the ecosystem services provided by mangrove and seagrass systems. He noted interesting research results such as the connection that nursery areas in mangroves or seagrass beds have to an increase in fish on the reef. Did you know that coral reefs close to nursery areas have three times (!) higher biomass than those isolated from nursery areas even if they are in an MPA?? And you don’t even have to pay for a babysitter!

This is especially important because, as our second keynote speaker Christina Hicks told us, no-take areas take 10-20 years to show an increase in fish biomass, and in that way get a return on their protection investment. Benefits gained from ecosystem services that marine systems provide are not always perceived in the same way depending on the role that people play in the cultural and management systems. Compromises must be made, trade-offs must be accepted, and in that way more equitable benefits can spread across all people. Local context is a strong determinant in what is even perceived as a benefit or service, and this is highly influenced by social and institutional knowledge mechanisms.

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Finally, Christina gave us some all-important conference advice: pick three things you want to accomplish this week and make sure you do them! It could be as simple as asking a question, or writing down an email, but do something for yourself and your goals. It has been an amazing symposium experience so far, but very soon we will all be saying goodbye, so muster up that courage and accomplish the three things on YOUR list! You can do it! If you need some help or encouragement, come talk to me!

WIOMSA hugs,

Rita (Social Media and Communications, WIOMSA 2015)

*Photos by CC Photography #olympus  Www.cc-photography.co.za

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The Second Issue of the Symposium Newsletter is out: Symposium enters its closing half!

October 29th, 2015 No comments

It seems like just yesterday when the Ninth WIOMSA Scientific Symposium was officially opened on Monday, 26th October! But we are on the fourth day of the Symposium and in between quite a lot has happened. Six very interesting and informative keynote presentations have been delivered, at least 150 oral presentations have been given in different sessions and a very interactive poster session held on Tuesday.

Daily updates on the Symposium can be found on the WIOMSA Blog, http://blog.wiomsa.net/, WIOMSA accounts in Facebook and Twitter as well as in the Symposium website,  http://symposium.wiomsa.org/.

Download the full issue.

9TH WIOMSA SCIENTIFIC SYMPOSIUM BLOG DAY 3

October 28th, 2015 No comments

WEDNESDAY OCT 28

Hello Delegates!

It’s hump day! Unless you are a humpback whale – then every day is hump day for you! I think I would have noticed if one of our delegates was a whale though, especially since the lack of neck would mean an odd name-tag placement.

Welcome to day 3, the middle of your symposium experience.  Today was a beautiful day! If everything seemed to run about 5 minutes behind today you weren’t imagining things – all of us have just relaxed a little too much. Please be aware and responsible with regards to session times and make your best effort to respect those around you by being punctual.

The middle of the week is when it seems like we have all settled into the rhythm of coffee, plenary, tea, talks, and repeat. You get used to carrying your program around and it becomes well-thumbed, you actually remember the names of the room venues, you don’t get lost on the way to lunch, but most importantly, you greet each other like old friends who don’t remember each other’s names!

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We started our day with two vastly different keynote presentations during plenary. Issufo Halo introduced us to the complexity of mesoscale drivers in the Southwest Indian Ocean. I tried desperately to remember my physics, physical chemistry, and oceanography classes as I looked at some of the formulas that he presented to us. Fear not though, even if talk of mathematics and algorithms makes you sweat nervously like it does me, Issufo passionately and eloquently made sense of it all for us.

In areas of the Mozambique Channel where cyclonic and anti-cyclonic eddies form there is offshore advection of nutrient rich water. This in turn increases productivity and food source availability for other organisms. Sea birds, in particular frigate birds, have been known to the feed in these boundary areas between eddies, taking full advantage of the situation without even having degrees in oceanography. In this way, biological connections are made between Madagascar and the African continent, and the strength of these connections varies with seasons.

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Our second keynote address was by Tundi Agardy, who spoke to us about the importance of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and the lessons we in the WIO region can learn from the implementation of MSP. One of the important things to learn is that in conservation efforts the area of intervention may be far away from the area of priority. Using the economic valuation of marine ecosystem services can also lead to greater protection, and greater buy-in from government perspectives.

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This is a dynamic approach, not a tool, and there is a need for flexibility and adaptive management strategies when implementing MSP. However, for best practise, we must also recognise connectivity, manage for multiple uses, and address cumulative impacts. One cannot ignore the intrinsic value of these areas and systems though, and an economic model or number will never accurately describe the worth of clear water, sunny blue skies, thriving reefs, or stands of mangroves reaching for the sky. Those are values of the heart and soul and we should all call ourselves wealthy because of our rich heritage in the WIO.

WIOMSA hugs,

Rita (Social Media and Communications, WIOMSA 2015)

*Photos by CC Photography #olympus  Www.cc-photography.co.za

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9TH WIOMSA SCIENTIFIC SYMPOSIUM BLOG DAY 2

October 27th, 2015 No comments

TUESDAY OCT 27

Hello Delegates! How was your Day 2?

After a very busy and successful Monday it was nice to have a little more time on the second day of the symposium to network with new and old colleagues, and enjoy each other’s company in the afternoon over coffee and posters.

When I arrived at our venue this morning I could tell that others besides myself have discovered the amazing coffee that the Beaver Creek Coffee Estate sells at the Wild Coast Sun. Did you know that Beaver Creek is the southernmost coffee estate in the world? And it is just down the road! A truly local product being consumed by not-so-local delegates. There is your Port Edward fact of the day, locally and sustainably sourced by me.

Our morning plenary session was sponsored by the South African Network for Coastal and Oceanographic Research (SANCOR), and we were lucky to have Dr Mike Watkeys and Dr Hugh Govan as the keynote speakers.

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As Mike Watkeys told us, from Charles Lyell to Charles Darwin, geology has been changing lives. The evidence of this is in the writings that Charles Darwin produced on, and after, his voyage on the Beagle, during which time he read Charles Lyell’s “Principles of Geology” (Vol I, 1832). The importance of this cannot be overlooked because it was the emphasis that Lyell placed on successive changes in both organic and inorganic systems that paved the path to natural selection for Darwin.

Just like the species many of us study, coastlines are organic in nature, ever active and dynamic. 200 million years ago there was no Western Indian Ocean, but the glacial (haha) pace at which the continents moved apart luckily gave us all time to get those funding grant applications in. The emergence of the world’s first circumpolar current after 38 million years of cooling gave rise to global weather patterns that still operate today. I suppose, were I Mike Watkeys, I might even say that ‘faults’ in geology have led to ‘successions’ in biology!

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Our second plenary speaker, Hugh Govan, reinforced and spoke of many of the same principles that WIOMSA stands for, but mostly he reminded us that as scientists we should that remember one of our core purposes should be to share and use knowledge to improve the lives of coastal communities. Sometimes this means that they teach us more than we teach them, and we should not overlook the bottom-up opportunities that strong communities with local knowledge afford areas in need of protection and management.

30 million square kilometers of EEZ between Melanasia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, support some of the fastest growing populations in the world, who are almost totally dependent on coastal fisheries for protein sources as well as livelihoods. Locally Managed Marine Areas, LMMAs, are being implemented by over 900 communities in the Pacific at an increasingly rapid rate because they are driven by community aspirations. If you help people do what they want and need, they in turn can help with the implementation of improved protection and management plans. I would venture to say that there is not a single successful conservation story in our WIO region that does not involve community input and stakeholder support. Simply put, scientists have to remind themselves that first and foremost they are humans, with the same human hopes and desires for a better life and a better world.

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We had a short morning session for talks and then a very exciting afternoon! At least I hope that your afternoon was as full and exciting as mine! WIOMSA and the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) launched the book “OFFSHORE FISHERIES OF THE SOUTHWEST INDIAN OCEAN: their status and the impact on vulnerable species”.

Photographer Craig Botha, CC Photography.  KZN Olympus ambassador.

After the book launch delegates moved between the poster sessions and many attended the live-stream conversation from the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa that we were privileged enough to be a part of. From her home in Hawaiʻi to her first port of call in South Africa (Richards Bay), the Hōkūleʻa has voyaged about 19,000 kilometers, or over 10,000 nautical miles. This historic occasion is the first time the African coast has seen a Polynesian voyaging canoe and crew, and we welcome them to our WIO home waters.

Photographer Craig Botha, CC Photography.  KZN Olympus ambassador.

I was immensely grateful for the opportunity to speak with Captain Nainoa Thompson, who is also the president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, as well as a master navigator. For more notes and observations, please see David Obura’s contribution to the newsletter about his experience during the session. Without telling you everything, I will just say that it was amazing and emotional to speak with someone who is so connected to the sea, who reveres the power and awesome beauty of the oceans, and who sees it first hand on his world-wide voyage. I also think he probably has salt water flowing through his veins, but for now that is just an unconfirmed rumour (a mermaid told me).

What will Wednesday bring us delegates? I look forward to our continued shared experiences. See you all in the morning – I’ll be in the coffee line at Beaver Creek first thing.

WIOMSA hugs,

Rita (Social Media and Communications, WIOMSA 2015)

*Photos by CC Photography #olympus  Www.cc-photography.co.za

 

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