Development in the blue economy sector will soon get a big boost where research is concerned now that a list of its marine research priority areas is being finalised before preliminary research is carried out under the UK Project Neptune.
Project Neptune is a collaboration between three UK scientific groups, namely the National Ocean Centre (NOC), the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO). Their experts are here to discuss and identify research priority areas with different stakeholders in the blue economy sector.
A two-day working session which started yesterday at the Guy Morel Institute is being organised by the department of The Blue Economy in the Ministry of Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy, the Blue Economy Research Institute (BERI) of the University of Seychelles (UniSey) to finalise the priority list.
It was in November last year during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta that the UK government announced it would allocate funding to small islands developing states (Sids) to help them in advancing their blue economy planning .
The UK government has pledged £5.6 million for Sids globally to establish the research priorities and preliminary research for the first year of the five-year project.
Twenty Sids have been identified by the UK government to benefit under the project with Seychelles, Maldives and Mauritius identified as target states in the region.
Seychelles has been approached for a pilot project in the Indian Ocean.
Through collaborations with the Ministry of Finance, Trade and The Blue Economy, a preparatory meeting was held on April 7 aimed at developing a preliminary list of marine research priorities.
While similar workshops will be hosted in the two other countries, Seychelles will also host a regional workshop later this year where representatives from Maldives and Mauritius will take part. The aim is to finalise the start of the project in the region.
All information collected after this first consultation will be used to draft a preliminary strategy for the research.
It is expected that the preliminary research will be completed by December.
Dr Ashton Berry, head of research at the Blue Economy Research Institute (BERI) of UniSey, said “the aim is to conduct research over the next five years in those areas which would be identified as priorities.”
“The first stage is to look at what the priority areas for Seychelles are – what research is being done, what research needs to be done, the capacity being used to conduct these research will also be assess,” Dr Berry pointed out.
He noted that this first consultation is to ensure all stakeholders are happy and in agreement with the country’s blue economy research priorities.
Yesterday the stakeholders in the blue economy sector listened to different presentations by representatives of Project Neptune before asking questions, seeking clarifications and engaging in discussions.
Source : Seychelles NATION