Marine scientists work on food security

Marine scientists from all over Namibia and abroad have gathered in Swakopmund this week to share their most recent findings and research regarding various aspects in the marine environment. During the official opening of this year’s Annual Research Meeting (ARM) on Tuesday the scientists were called on to take a proactive approach to contribute to the national food security.

“I call on you all to be visionary scientists and to align yourselves with this vision of the Harambee Prosperity Plan and pull together in one direction to achieve its development goals,” said Dr Moses Maurihungirire, Perma-nent Secretary in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, during his opening address. He continued saying that “we (the scientists and the ministry) should take a more proactive and comprehensive approach to conduct research and ensure our ministry gives its maximal contribution to food security and job creation and, hence, the realisation of the (Harambee) goals set.”
While encouraging the scientists at the event to keep up their research, Dr Maurihungirire also reminded the participants that continuous research is of the utmost importance. It pro-vides valuable support to setting the annual Total Allowable Catch which is a critical tool in the sustainable use of commercial species.
According to Dr Maurihungirire the ministry is facing various challenges at the moment, which is why this year’s theme “Discovery in Marine Science; Rising to a New Standard” is relevant and significant. “The theme aims at promoting a culture of critical thinking and scrutiny of data to disclose pertinent findings on our marine ecosystem,” he said. When the ministry has ample knowledge about the marine ecosystem, “we do not only get ready to face our future challenges that may arise, but we will also be able to solve them.”
Dr Maurihungirire encouraged the scientists not to be stingy with collected data, but to share it with all Namibian people. “I am confident the ARM this year will provide you with a forum for learning with other scientists from the ministry and beyond. I believe the moment you stop learning, listening, asking questions, and searching for answers, you stop being a scientist,” he said.
Following Dr. Maurihungirire was Dr. Marek Lipinski from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in South Africa, who commended Namibia on the extensive research
that has been done about the marine environment. He encouraged young researchers to be motivated. “Don’t sit there and expect something wonderful will happen,” he said. While one scientist said that most research has already been done, Dr Lipinski responded: “Look into those that cannot be done.”
“You have tremendous help now. Namibia is a country that embraced collaboration and it is a wonderful thing to have. If you have the moti-vation, the funding and collaboration can be found much easier than it was 50 years ago,” he said.
The Annual Research Meeting concluded yesterday and was held in the Auditorium of the National Marine Information and Research Centre (NatMIRC). The many presentations and findings ranged from complex scientific topics like the “effects of ocean acidification on Pacific Oysters: Shell integrity” to other aspects in the marine environment like an “overview of the work of the Namibian Dolphin Project (NDP).”

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