[19 SEPTEMBER 2017/LONDON, UK] The International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), the non-profit association that is committed to developing and supporting responsible one-by-one tuna fisheries and supply chains, has announced that two fisheries PhD scholarships will receive sponsorship from its Member network as part of its long-term commitment to helping Indian Ocean coastal states and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMO) establish effective fisheries management of the stocks controlled by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).
Through IPNLF’s experience with the procedures at the IOTC and its longstanding engagement with the Maldives’ one-by-one tuna fisheries, it became clear that there is a shortage of appropriately-qualified professionals with the skills required to advocate for the Indian Ocean coastal state’s one-by-one tuna fisheries in a meaningful way at scientific and policy and governance levels.
To help overcome these challenges, IPNLF has signed a fresh Letter of Agreement (LoA) with the Maldives’ Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture (MoFA) through which it commits to supporting two fisheries scientists for the entire duration of their PhD research, after which both are required to return to the Maldives to progress their work. The LoA is part of the ongoing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by IPNLF and MoFA in June 2014 to collaboratively work towards sustainable one-by-one tuna fisheries.
Welcoming the new initiative, Dr Mohamed Shainee, the Maldivian Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, says: “As an island nation, the Republic of the Maldives is heavily reliant on coastal and marine resources for livelihoods and job opportunities, and so ensuring we have sustainable and equitable tuna fisheries has long been a priority. However, the lack of qualified fisheries scientists available to most Indian Ocean coastal states continues to be a major challenge in keeping up with the RFMO activities. We need better qualified professionals who understand the biology, ecology and issues in fishery data to better understand the science and to engage in a meaningful way with the RFMO dialogue. I am confident that having scientists on the ground who can effectively engage with the IOTC and provide it with robust information will be a considerable asset for the Maldives and the wider region, and I thank IPNLF and its Members for their continued, invaluable support of this initiative.”
John Burton, Chairman of IPNLF, comments, “IPNLF, through its network Members Marks & Spencer, Migros, New England Seafood and World Wise Foods, is proud to have been able to help the Maldives by supporting the two PhD scholarships and enabling these young scientists to study at institutes of international repute, with research focusing on areas critical for managing the tuna resource. The support provided for these scholarships is also consistent with our long-term policy of amplifying the voice of coastal states and strengthening sustainability in RFMOs.”
The PhD research projects selected to receive sponsorship are:
- Ahmed Riyaz Jauharee, Senior Scientific Officer at the Marine Research Centre (MRC) of the Ministry of the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, who is going to be looking at the residency of tunas around the Maldives and its fish aggregation device (FAD) network. Understanding the rates of movement patterns of tunas between the Maldives exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the high seas is important for the development of local management strategies. Riyaz will be studying at the University of Montpelier, France.
- Hussain Sinan, Director of Fisheries Management at the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, will be looking at emerging ideas around rights-based management of fisheries for straddling and highly migratory stocks in the context of resource allocation and its economic dependency. This research will be helpful for the Maldives and other coastal states to advocate claims on resources and in developing a fair and equitable allocation of Indian Ocean tuna. Sinan will be based at the University of Dalhousie, Halifax, Canada.