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FAO in Mozambique

Research vessel promotes sustainable fisheries in Mozambique

The research cruise in the national waters of Mozambique will run to end of March

14 February, Maputo- State-of-the-art marine research vessel Dr. Fridtjof Nansen arrived in the capital to work with the country on the survey on fisheries resources and ecosystem.

As the only research ship flying the UN flag, the vessel investigates oceans, using cutting-edge technology and sophisticated equipment to help developing countries assemble scientific data critical to sustainable fisheries management and study how a changing climate is affecting our oceans.

Under the framework of the EAF-Nansen Programme executed by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the vessel is carrying out a regional Resources and Ecosystem Survey in Southeast Africa and in the Indian Ocean. The arrival of the research ship in Maputo marks the end of the first leg of the survey covering the waters of the east coast of South Africa that started in Durban on 26 January 2018.

Under this Progamme, 30 African countries are set to receive technical and scientific support on fisheries management through the adoption and implementation of a sustainable ecosystem approach.
In 2018, the R/V Dr Fridtjof Nansen will mainly work on East Africa and Bay of Bengal, covering South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Mauritius, as well as the Mascarene Bank and four countries in the Bay of Bengal (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand).

Attended by senior officials, the port call in Maputo marks the start of the research cruise in the national waters of Mozambique that will run from 12 February to end of March 2018, with 24 Mozambican researchers and technicians onboard. The biologists, all have expertise and knowledge on the local fauna, flora, and environment of the marine waters of the country.

Agostinho Mondlane, Mozambique's Minister of Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, see the expedition as a fruitful and healthy cooperation between Mozambique, FAO and Norway. He added, "Promoting knowledge to help Mozambicans understand the natural phenomena in the sea, especially at this time when the influence of climate change is an irrefutable fact." Norwegian Ambassador Anne Lene Dale and FAO Mozambique Interim Representative, Pedro Simpson also attended the event.

In Mozambique, fisheries researchers and technicians benefit from participating in the mission, and over the course of four decades, of the various expeditions made; Mozambique had 14 expeditions, about 35 percent of the total scientific research done throughout East Africa. The Norwegian government and FAO also see the data collected by the research vessel could help to achieve more sustainable fisheries, to assess the impact of sea pollution, to understand aquatic ecosystems, and to better study the impact of climate changes.

Members of the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) who were attending the Commission's Eighth Session of the Scientific Committee in Maputo also had a chance to tour the marine research vessel. This visit was important to the Commission's work as it provided them an opportunity to see a top of the range tool for fisheries research currently used and being deployed in their waters. It was noted by the crew of the vessel that in the past, teams of national researchers and technicians invited on board for surveys brought invaluable skills, in particular for the identification of the numerous local species. The SWIOFC is a statutory body established by the FAO Council to promote the sustainable development, conservation and management of shared resources in the South West Indian Ocean region, without prejudice to the sovereign rights of coastal countries.


For over 40 years, FAO has been working in collaboration with the Norwegian Agency for Development cooperation (Norad) and the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) of Bergen, Norway on a joint programme to strengthen national and regional knowledge of marine resources in developing countries, and to build their capacity for fisheries research and management. The resulting EAF-Nansen Programme carries this out largely through the operation of a marine research vessel, the R/V Dr Fridtjof Nansen – the only ship in the world to fly the UN flag. FAO and Norway have worked closely on this Nansen programme since its inception in 1975, undertaking studies around the world – but primarily along the coastlines and waters of Africa.