01/10/2018 Phuket, Thailand
A Norwegian research vessel, working for the EAF-Nansen Programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has made a port call in Thailand as part of a regional survey of marine resources, ecosystems and environment in the Bay of Bengal.
The port call marks the beginning of the final leg of nearly nine months of marine ecosystem research that began off the coast of East Africa in January.
As the only research vessel flying the UN flag, the RV-Dr. Fridtjof Nansen has been examining the world’s oceans, using cutting-edge technology and sophisticated equipment. Its objective is to assemble scientific data critical to sustainable fisheries management while studying the impacts of pollution, climate variability and change on oceans and seas. Over the years, the Dr. Fridtjof Nansen has carried out surveys in the territorial waters of more than 60 countries worldwide, collecting vast amounts of marine data.
The arrival of the research vessel in Thailand marks the final leg in its 2018 Africa-Asia regional research tour under the EAF-Nansen Programme, which aims to strengthen the knowledge base for countries in the regions to implement an ecosystem approach to their marine fisheries.
The research, carried out under the EAF-Nansen Programme, is implemented by FAO in close collaboration with the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) of Bergen, Norway and through funding by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).
Learning to sustain tropical marine ecosystems
The Dr. Fridtjof Nansen began its journey in the Western Indian Ocean and continued to the Bay of Bengal, conducting research in the waters off the coasts of South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar prior to its arrival in Thailand – the final destination.
“FAO is fully committed to the EAF-Nansen Programme because it aims to support the implementation of ecosystem approach in the management of marine fisheries and sustainable utilization of marine resources,” said Jong-Jing Kim, FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. “This work helps FAO member countries to better use their marine resources and improve knowledge of their marine environment. It also provides scientists and students opportunities for knowledge sharing and exchange on ocean issues of relevance to their ecosystems.”
Beginning 1st October, and continuing for a further two weeks, international experts will work together with officials from Thailand’s Department of Fisheries, as well as academics and other researchers, to study the status of local marine resources including fish stocks. They will also examine the impact of marine pollution – including the impact of plastics on marine life which has caused increasing alarm worldwide.
Adisorn Promthep, Director-General of Thailand’s Department of Fisheries, said the arrival of the Dr Fridtjof Nansen reflected the strong cooperation between Thailand and FAO in pressing ahead with the implementation of sustainable fisheries management.
The main objectives of the work in Thailand is to survey deep-water areas and to improve understanding of these ecosystems including oceanographic processes.
The survey will offer a unique tool for researchers in Thailand to study how climatic events and pollution are affecting marine resources and ecosystems, particularly in the Andaman Sea, while providing information in support of improved management of deep-sea fisheries.