FarFish project involved in high-level event in Cabo Verde | Our Atlantic Ocean for Growth and Well-Being

The European Commission and the government of Cabo Verde are hosting a high-level event in Cabo Verde that is titled “Our Atlantic Ocean for Growth and Well-Being”. The event is taking place today and tomorrow, November 22, in the Ocean Science Centre in Mindelo on the island of São Vicente, Cabo Verde.

A highlight of the event will see European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas co-sign, on behalf of the European Commission, a Cooperation Arrangement on Marine Research and Innovation Cooperation with Deputy Prime Minister Olavo Correia on behalf of the Government of Cabo Verde, which recognises marine research as a top priority for our international cooperation.

Another highlight of the event will be a keynote address by H.E. Lisa Svennson, Ambassador for Oceans, Sea and Freshwater, Director & Coordinator Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Branch, United Nations Environment Programme.

The event is organised into series of plenary sessions, presentations and panel discussions, which include highlighting of the most relevant projects and national initiatives.

The FarFish project is honoured to have significant contribution to the agenda, where three of the project partners will take part i.e. INDPMatís and UNU-FTP

The agenda is available here.

Prof Jilong LI

China Distant Water Fishing

During the Case Study meeting in the FarFish project, held in Vigo, Spain last June, real good talks took place between different stakeholders. One of the presentation held was a breakthrough in the dialogue that must take place between China and Europe on the distant water fishing, or fishing in the high-seas, in order to make fisheries in international waters more sustainable. Held by Prof Jilong LI at the Resource and Ecology Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, the presentation shed a great light into the Chinese fisheries sector, especially the part that does their fishing in international waters.

Below you will find a pdf version of Prof Jilong LI presentation and at the FarFish Facebook page, you can listen to his presentation (begins right after Alexandre Rodriguez’s presentation).

The pdf version of Prof Jilong LI presentation

Prof Jilong LI presentation on Facebook (video in low resolution):

Ambassador of Mauritania with UNU-FTP staff

FarFish partner meets with the Mauritanian Ambassador

On August 29, 2018, UNU-FTP recieved a visit from the Mauritanian Ambassador, the honourable Abdallahi Bah Nagi Kebd. During the meeting, we discussed our ongoing work in Mauritania in connection with the FarFish project, funded through the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, as well as future potential for collaboration on issues related to capacity building for fisheries management and development in Mauritania, as can be read from the UNU-FTP’s web site.

Diving into Case Studies; Tales from FarFish Training Needs Assessment Visits

Last November, I had the great privilege to visit Mauritania for the first time. I was there to conduct a training needs assessment in connection with the FarFish project. Our plan included a week of meetings with scientists and administrators at IMROP (Institut Mauritanien De Recherches Océanographiques Et De Pêches), who are partners in the FarFish work. Over the course of our discussions with IMROP staff, and through visits to processing facilities and landing sites, we gained valuable insight to the development of fisheries in Mauritania and how FarFish may contribute to the sustainable use of the resources.

The IMROP offices are located just outside the town of Nouadhibou.  The town sits on a peninsula in the north of the country. A rough line down the peninsula marks the border between Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara. A brief, bumpy ride through the dessert and off the main road leads to the IMROP campus, which consists of a collection of buildings, offices and laboratories right next to the ocean. Behind the walls of the compound are trees and lush greenery, which makes the place feel like an oasis in an otherwise barren sandy desert.

The days in Mauritania were spent at the IMROP facilities learning about the work that goes on there, and how it gets done. As I sipped the sweet tea and struggled to remember my high school French, the IMROP scientists took us though the major developments in Mauritanian fishing in recent years, and the efforts the institution has made to keep up. Fishing is a huge industry in Mauritania, and IMROP has made considerable investment in its scientists, sending many of them abroad for doctoral studies in recent years. A 2012 policy to extend the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) has led to significant shifts in the structure of the fisheries, which has impacted life for Mauritanian and foreign operators.

One afternoon, we took a drive to an industrial part of Nouadhibou, where a recent boom in fishmeal processing is evidenced by a long road of new buildings all dedicated to producing fishmeal. The view of the government is that this is a step on the road towards producing more fish for human consumption. On the streets of Nouadhibou, it is easy to see the role the fishing industry plays in the daily life of the city. The mixing currents off the coast of Mauritania form a rich upwelling system, the restaurants of Nouadhibou are a diverse mix of people from North Africa, West Africa, Asia and Europe.

My favourite part of the visit to Mauritania was seeing an artisanal landing site. Our guide was an IMROP data collector, who was friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to share his expertise. He showed us an artisanal port in Nouadhibou, full of boats unloading their catches. We toured a building that serves as a market for larger and more valuable artisanal catch, as well as acres and acres of drying areas for fish, sharks, skates, and roe that was to be sold at regional markets.

Mary Frances Davidson
UNU-FTP and Work Package 7 leader in FarFish

“Status of the Stocks Tool” introduced by The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF)

ISSF has developed a new data-visualization tool based on its long-running and widely followed Status of the Stocks report. The “Status of the Stocks Tool” is located on the ISSF website and accessible through the Status of the Stocks overview page; users can easily toggle through tuna stock health indicators and filter by location, species and other key stock health and catch factors. Tuna is the specie in three of the case studies in the FarFish project and, thus, the information provided the ISSF’s tool provides valuable information.

Did you know? A New Era of Blue Enlightenment!

A very important workshop and a project showcase will take place at the event “A New Era of Blue Enlightenment” taking place in Lisbon, Portugal 12 – 14 July 2017. The FarFish project main topics are in line with this important event.

Commissioner Carlos Moedas will host a High-Level Ministerial and Scientific event on 12-14 July 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal, joined by high-level government representatives from Brazil and South Africa, as well as from the European Union.

This event will celebrate the launch of the South Atlantic Flagship Initiative between the European Union, Brazil and South Africa, aiming to better understand and protect marine ecosystems and the link between oceans and climate,

A Statement on Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Cooperation between the European Union, Brazil and South Africa is planned to be signed during the event.

A New Era of Blue Enlightenment – Lisbon, Portugal 12 – 14 July 2017. Photo: Anna Kristín Daníelsdóttir


A New Era of Blue Enlightenment – Lisbon, Portugal 12 – 14 July 2017. Photo: Anna Kristín Daníelsdóttir

Improving knowledge and management of EU fisheries outside Europe, while contributing to sustainability and long-term profitability

This June marks the beginning of FarFish, a new EU Horizon 2020 project aiming to improve sustainability and profitability of the European fishing fleet operating outside European waters. FarFish brings together 21 organisations and agencies across Europe, Africa and South America in addition to a number of international organizations.

“About 20% of the catch of the European fishing fleet is obtained from non-European sea areas. This access is granted in international marine areas and within the jurisdiction of coastal states where agreements have been made on access of the fleet. These EU “Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements” grant European operators access to fisheries and include financing for infrastructure development in the fisheries sector. These agreements have been controversial, especially on the west coast of Africa. In response to this criticism, the Horizon 2020 research program has decided to support research and development efforts to promote improvements in this area; that is the story of FarFish’s mission,” says FarFish Project Coordinator Jónas Rúnar Viðarsson of Matís.

The FarFish project is designed around six case study areas in which the European operators are actively engaged in fishing activities, including Cape Verde, Mauritania, Senegal and Seychelles, as well as the international seas in the southeast and southwest Atlantic. In this context of geographic, economic and cultural diversity, the project will gain insights into the sustainability commercially important species such as tuna, hake, mackerel, sardines, octopus, shrimp, and other relevant fisheries. The project will contribute to the exploitation at or below corresponding Maximum Sustainable Yields (MSY) for these fisheries. The research will advance biological knowledge through collection of data on ecological, economic and socially important aspects of these fisheries. The project will work with stakeholders to create accessible and adaptable fisheries management tools within the case study areas. Additionally, efforts will be made to increase the responsibility of the European fleet for area use and disclosure of information. Overlaying the collection of important data and the development of improved management tools, the FarFish project has a strong focus on fisheries management knowledge creation and capacity building among stakeholders in the coastal states and the European fishing fleet.

FarFish coordinator Jónas Rúnar Viðarsson is enthusiastic as the project partners meet for the first time. “It is clear that this is an extremely important issue; that fisheries are managed in a sustainable way no matter where the fish are harvested. It is important to keep in mind that this project is addressing issues within a complex system.  Many of these fisheries have been plagued by unregulated fishing, which can have a detrimental effect on the status of important stocks and livelihoods of people in coastal countries both outside and within Europe.”

FarFish receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 727891.

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