The voyages and stories of the Nansen

10/11/2017

Researching one of the least-known ocean regions of the world 

This book celebrates the years of surveys and studies undertaken by the marine research vessel (RV) Dr. Fridtjof Nansen in the Western Indian Ocean, one of the least-known oceans in the world. It tells the story of the iconic vessel’s missions from 1975 to 2016, providing a detailed overview of its activities and projects over the years and their impact on fisheries and capacity development. This research ship was built on the initiative of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) in partnership with FAO's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department for the research, development and management of fisheries in developing countries. 

Marine research in the Western Indian Ocean evolved considerably in the last decades, and the Nansen ship contributed massively to fields ranging from fisheries and ocean productivity to biodiversity, ecosystems and physical oceanography. Over time, the charismatic Nansen became a flagship for diverse capacity development initiatives, making a lasting contribution far beyond its actual surveys.

The chapters provide a balance between the perspectives of Norwegian scientists with extensive experience of the Nansen surveys and those of regional scientists with on-board experience of surveys in the Western Indian Ocean. In itself, the close collaboration between Norwegian and regional scientists during the preparation of the book further strengthened capacity development.

Logical and easily-understood, with additional appendices for specialists, the book aims to reach beyond its core audience of marine scientists, fisheries managers and policy makers to anyone who has a passion for oceans. Coastal communities will find useful resource management strategies. Donors will gain insight into how their contributions have been used, and students will get to know how marine science is carried out on board.

The book marks the end of an era with the retirement of the second RV Dr Fridtjof Nansen in 2016 and the official commissioning of a bigger and technologically more advanced vessel in March 2017. 

This book is a regional initiative coordinated by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) in partnership with the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) of South Africa, FAO and the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR). It is one of the many fruits of the long-lasting cooperation between Norway and the Western Indian Ocean states.