On March 13, 2017, the nineteenth cohort of fellows of the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme graduated in a ceremony held at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute of Iceland. This year's dynamic group included 22 fellows from sixteen countries. While in Iceland, their specialist training through the UNU-FTP included quality management, sustainable aquaculture, fishing technology, and fisheries policy and industry management. 347 fellows have completed the six month training at the UNU-FTP since it began in 1998.
The six month training is the largest ongoing project of the UNU-FTP. This post-graduate training course targets key fisheries professionals in developing countries with the aim to deepen their knowledge and skills and build capacity within their institutions upon returning home. Through attentive support of UNU-FTP partners at Matís, the University of Iceland, Hólar University College, the University of Akureyri, and the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, fellows create individual research projects relevant to problems they face at home. Some of the topics fellows explored this year include bio-economic modeling of an industrial fishery in Namibia, creating a new course curriculum for fishing gear in Uganda, and a production and marketing assessment of an aquaculture venture in the Caribbean. Through their training in Iceland, fellows are encouraged to create meaningful research projects that can benefit the development of the fisheries sector in their home countries.
At the graduation, speeches were given by the Chairman of the Board and Director of the MFRI, Sigurður Guðjónsson, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Guðlaugur Þór Þórdarson, and UNU-FTP Director Tumi Tómasson. An address was given on behalf of the fellows by Drake Ssempijja from Uganda.
UNU-FTP extends our warmest gratitude to the fellows, and to all our partners in Iceland and abroad for their tireless work over the past several months to produce influential research towards global fisheries development. It has been a pleasure to get to know each of these excellent fisheries professionals, and we look forward to watching them thrive upon returning home.