As an active year at UNU-FTP draws to close it is worthwhile highlighting some of the major achievements.
The 20th cohort of fellows graduated
On February 26 the twentieth cohort of fellows graduated from the Six Months Training Programme: 21 fellows from 15 countries.
It was a grand ceremony, held at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, attended by the president of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.
The ceremony was steered by UNU-FTP Chairman, Sigurður Guðjónsson.
UNU-FTP director, Tumi Tómasson, reviewed how the programme had evolved from a relatively simple mission in 1998 with fellows from only 3 countries to more and more complex operations involving fellows in more than 50 countries and short courses in over 20.
Following these reflections the president of Iceland addressed the ceremony. He described how, during the last century, fisheries became backbone of the Icelandic economy. Through this experience Iceland gained valuable knowledge about how to modernize the sector.
“And this is exactly why the UNU Fisheries Training Programme is so important,” he said.
… and the 21st cohort of fellows arrived
In mid-September the twenty-first cohort of fellows arrived in Iceland to commence their training.
This year’s group is one of the biggest ever to start the Six Month Training Programme: 24 people from 15 countries in Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
The division of fellows between lines of specialisation is quite even this year: Eight follow the Stock Assessment Line; nine the Fisheries Policy and Management Line; and seven the Quality Management of Fish Handling Line .
Every year UNU-FTP supports research by former fellows on fisheries related issues in their home countries.
This year one UNU-FTP supported former fellow defended her PhD thesis and three completed their MSc studies.
In her PhD theses Huong Thi Thu Dang made significant contribution to improving handling and freezing of catfish in Vietnam.
Apart from the flagship Six Months Training Programme and the important research support UNU-FTP engaged in numerous other projects, workshops and activities.
Some examples are provided here below:
- The African costal communities project has grown out of a pledge made by UNU-FTP at the 2017 UN Ocean Conference. It aims to improve livelihood and food security /safety in African Coastal Communities. Currently UNU-FTP is already involved in introducing improving fish handling techniques in the beneficiary countries and, at the same time, taking in fellows for the Six Months Training Programme with the purpose of involving them in management of the project.
- The SIDS countries blue economy project has also grown out of a pledge made by UNU-FTP at the 2017 UN Ocean Conference. It aims to promote sustainable fishing harvest and blue growth in SIDS countries. Currently UNU-FTP is already taking in fellows for the Six Months Training Programme with the purpose of involving them in management of the project.
- The FarFish project is an EU funded project directly linked to SDG 14. It aims to provide knowledge, tools and methods to support responsible, sustainable and profitable EU fisheries outside European waters, compatible with Maximum Sustainable Yield. The capacity building component is managed by UNU-FTP.
- A workshop on value chains in the Caribbean fisheries was held in Port of Spain Trinidad April 22 - 24. Twenty three participants from Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) member countries came to the workshop, from industry, academia and the government. Also at the workshop were former UNU-FTP fellows who assisted with running it. It was organized by UNU-FTP in cooperation with University of West Indies in Trinidad, Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute, and CRFM. It was financed by UNU-FTP.
- Another workshop was held in Freetown Sierra Leone May 28 - June 1. This one was on the Analysis of Vessel Monitoring System Data. Thirteen key-personnel from national monitoring centers in Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone were invited and sponsored. The workshop was organized by UNU-FTP in cooperation with the World Bank’s WARFP-project and financed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs - Icelandic International Development Cooperation (MFA-ICEIDA). Follow-up workshops were conducted at national VMS-centers in Freetown and Monrovia later in the year, December 2 - 14.
- In July UNU-FTP participated in the nineteenth IIFET conference at University of Washington Seattle U.S.A. IIFET is a global professional organization devoted to improving understanding of all aspects of fisheries and aquaculture economics and seafood trade. Since 2012 UNU-FTP has supported a sizable group of its fellows to attend each of these conferences. This year 18 of our former fellows presented research projects related to the fisheries, aquaculture or seafood trade of their home countries. One of them, Moses Mwangangi Wambua, was awarded a best paper prize for his research on aquaculture development in Meru county Kenya.
- In September UNU-FTP organized a yearly guest lecture. This year’s lecturers Dr. Jingjie Chu, a natural resource economist at the World Bank, and Dr. Taryn Garlock, a research associate in the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Florida, introduced the main concepts of the so called “Fishery Performance Indicators” that they are developing in cooperation with a joint team of experts from the Universities of Florida and Washington. These indicators can be used to determine how fisheries management systems are performing in order to achieve community, economic, and ecological sustainability.