Foreign scientists learn survey techniques at ORI

The Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI), based at uShaka Sea World, hosted a group of 30 scientists from countries along the coast of Africa, Mauritius and Bangladesh from 29 June to 17 July 2015.

The gathering of marine experts was aimed at training people in developing countries in the correct research planning methods to ensure that when a research ship becomes available they get the most out of the time the ship spends in their country’s waters.

Some of the members of the research training group: Kwame Koranteng (FAO), Bernadine Everett (SAAMBR), Ester Nangolo (Namibia), Mboni Elison (Tanzania), Esther Magondu (Kenya) and Larry Oellermann (SAAMBR)

The 30 assembled scientists spent three weeks at uShaka Marine World exploring the design and implementation of research surveys, using both trawling and acoustic methods, as well as analysis of the data collected.

Acoustic surveys use sound waves emitted from the vessel, which bounce off objects encountered in the water to locate fish, rather than using conventional fishing gear. The change between the emitted and recorded sound waves are used to identify fish species and their numbers.

Research species included slender scads (Macrosoma decapterus)

The training was carried out by specialists from the Institute of Marine Research based in Bergen, Norway, using the Norwegian research vessel, Dr Fridtjof Nansen.

ORI scientist Bernadine Everett introduced participants to the use of a free statistical software package and gave instruction on the standardisation of data.

The purpose of the research is to investigate the biodiversity and determine the state of various ecosystems.For many countries around Africa, the knowledge of what goes on under the ocean is poor. The results from these research analyses will provide valuable information that will be distributed to fisheries managers and researchers so that informed decisions can be made regarding harvesting levels and the Western Indian Ocean. The anticipated long-term benefits will be well-managed fisheries that will be sustainable enough to provide fish resources both now and into the future.

When it was time to leave Durban and head back to their respective countries, armed with skills for meaningful and effective research surveys, the delegates expressed their gratitude to ORI and to uShaka for having hosted them.

The Norwegian research vessel, Dr Fridtjof Nansen

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