70 years of helping people to care for our ocean

WIOFish gets a new injection of life in Mozambique

 By: Dr Bernadine Everett 

Dr Bernadine Everett and Prof Sean Fennessy spent last week (7 – 10 June 2021) in Maputo, Mozambique with colleagues from the National Institute of Fisheries Research (IIP) and the National Fisheries Administration (ADNAP) updating the fisheries information for Mozambique on the WIOFish database.

WIOFish is an online inventory of fisheries for the western Indian Ocean available at www.wiofish.org. Due to funding challenges, WIOFish has not been updated since 2017, but thanks to a project called ReMoTURB which is focusing on climate change on the coastal areas of Mozambique, including the impacts on fisheries among others, funding was provided to update the fisheries data for this country.

Organising a workshop during a pandemic has its challenges and much thought was given to ensuring the safety of all the participants. We decided to follow all the protocols set in place by SAAMBR as well as those set out by IIP. So, our packing list included things like a thermometer, masks and plenty of hand sanitizer packaged in small bottles for individual use and of course a COVID-19 register that had to be completed every morning. We also decided to minimize our own risks by avoiding air travel and driving up to Maputo. The anticipated hassles of crossing into Mozambique at the Kosi Bay border gate did not materialize and we sailed through to Maputo with no delays.

A total of twelve participants were present at various times during the workshop. These participants had all previously been involved in WIOFish which greatly aided the process of updating the database. After a quick review of what an individual fisheries profile incorporates and how each section of the profile should be reviewed and updated, the participants selected the fisheries they would revise, and work began. All 31 fishery profiles were completed during the workshop and an additional one was included. Overall this was a very successful workshop topped off with negative COVID-19 tests on the way home.

Hopefully this will provide confidence in our ability to organise safe workshops in these strange times and allow for more workshops to be arranged in the future.