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About the EAF-Nansen ProgrammeObjectives

On 24 March 2017, at the occasion of the naming ceremony of the new R/V Dr Fridtjof Nansen in Oslo, Norway, the EAF-Nansen Programme Agreement was signed by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) of Bergen, Norway and FAO. The Programme became operational on 1 May 2017.

The new EAF-Nansen Programme aims at consolidating the results of the previous phases, supporting the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF), including improving the knowledge base for decision-making, while also broadening the scope to addressing a wider range of impacts of human activities on fishery resources and on marine ecosystems such as pollution and climate change. Hence, the EAF-Nansen Programme includes the significant added responsibility to address climate change related issues and marine pollution, operating in some of the least observed waters in the world.

A new state-of-the-art research vessel, the third Dr Fridtjof Nansen, is made available to the Programme. This vessel continues to operate as a unique platform for knowledge generation, capacity development and research exchange. The vessel is 74.5 m long, features specialized laboratories and advanced scientific equipment, and has capacity to accommodate up to 30 scientists.

FAO has been entrusted with the implementation of the EAF-Nansen Programme. The Programme is implemented in close collaboration with IMR, Norway who contributes scientific services to the Programme and is responsible for the operation of the R/V Dr Fridtjof Nansen on behalf of the vessel owner - Norad.


The long-term objective (or Impact) of the EAF-Nansen Programme is that "Sustainable fisheries improve food and nutrition security for people in partner countries". Sustainable fisheries can only be achieved if the three challenges listed below are addressed:

  1. Inadequate knowledge of the impacts of stressors such as fisheries, climate variability and change, pollution on marine ecosystems and their social and economic consequences;
  2. Inadequate systems and practices for sustainable management of marine capture fisheries, further challenged by climate and pollution impacts; and
  3. Insufficient capacity for implementing EAF, including for the promotion of gender equality and effective participation of women.

Hence, the Programme focuses on three complimentary Outcomes:

Outcome 1: Fishery research institutions provide relevant and timely scientific advice for management
Outcome 2: Fisheries management institutions manage fisheries according to the EAF principles
Outcome 3: Fisheries research and management institutions have appropriate human and organizational capacity to manage fisheries sustainably 


Main partners:

  • National fisheries and environmental management and research institutions
  • Fishers and fishing communities in participating countries
  • Regional Fisheries Bodies
    • Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic – CECAF; and
    • Southwest Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission – SWIOFC
  • Benguela Current Convention

Other partners and stakeholders:

  • Sub-regional fisheries bodies
    • Regional Commission of Fisheries of Gulf of Guinea – COREP
    • Subregional Fisheries Commission – SRFC
    • Fishery Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea – FCWC
  • Fisheries management organizations
    • South East Atlantic Fisheries Organization – SEAFO; and
    • Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement – SIOFA
  • Benguela Current Convention
  • UNEPRegional Seas programmes in Africa (Abidjan and Nairobi Conventions);
  • Large Marine Ecosystem projects in Africa (the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem Project – GCLME and the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem Project – CCLME)
  • Other UN agencies, e.g.
    • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission – IOC-UNESCO
    • International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA 
    • United Nations Environment Programme – UNEP

Related national, regional and international projects and organizations

  • Fishers and fishing communities in participating countries
  • consumers and those that derive their livelihoods from fish processing and other steps of the value chain;
  • national, regional, and international organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to support improved fisheries research and management and more broadly improved ocean governance.
DonorProject funding and use of the R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen is provided by: Programme’s implementation structure

The Programme is implemented under the overall responsibility of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department's Marine and Inland Fisheries Branch (FIAF).
Execution of the programme is ensured through the Programme Coordination Unit (PCU) based at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy.

The PCU is staffed by:

  • Programme Coordinator
  • Programme Analyst/Operations Officer
  • One Socio-economist  
  • Programme Assistant
  • Office Assistant
  • IMR Research Coordinator.

The PCU is also o supported by a Survey Coordinator based at IMR, Bergen, Norway.

The programme benefits from technical advice from the different branches of FAO Headquarters and the FAO regional and sub-regional offices, and from technical staff at IMR as well as for the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries.

Programme Consultative Structure

The Programme consultative structure is depicted below. The main consultative mechanisms include: the Programme Forum, the Regional Steering Committees, and the FAO/Norad/IMR meetings.

Click to enlarge
EAF-Nansen - Viale delle Terme di Caracalla - 00153 Rome, Italy
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