Stakeholders seek monitoring, regional oceanographic data processing

MESA National Focal Point Coordinator, Mrs. Bola Kupolati, Lagos State Commissioner For Waterfront Infrastructure development, Mr. Adebowale Akinsanya, Keynote Speaker, Professor Obinnu Chukwu and Executive Director, NIOMR, Dr. Gbola Akande during the launching of Oceanography Bulletin in Lagos last week

MESA National Focal Point Coordinator, Mrs. Bola Kupolati, Lagos State Commissioner For Waterfront Infrastructure development, Mr. Adebowale Akinsanya, Keynote Speaker, Professor Obinnu Chukwu and Executive Director, NIOMR, Dr. Gbola Akande during the launching of Oceanography Bulletin in Lagos last week

To attain a safer ocean and environment, stakeholders in Nigeria last week met in Lagos to discuss issues bothering on oceanographic data processing and analysis.

They met at the Nigerian Institute For Oceanography and Maritime Research (NIOMR) under the auspices of the Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA).

MESA project utilizes Earth Observation (EO) data and information to improve management of the environment and security in Africa. Geospatial maps of potential fishing grounds integrated with vessel traffic will be provided to decision-makers to aid monitoring, control and surveillance against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. Also, forecast of ocean conditions will be communicated to mariners and artisanal fishers via SMS and other media.

The services will enhance formulating fisheries and environmental policies to support decision-making at the national and regional level. This will be achieved through collaborative efforts of the Regional Implementation Centre (RIC), co-applicants and associates to provide participating countries and stakeholders the needed skills to utilize EO data for fishery resources management.( †(

The University of Ghana as the RIC is collaborating with 14 countries in the regions including Benin, Cape Verde, Cote DíIvoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo) and some key institutions.

These are EUMETSAT, Joint Research Commission of the European Union (EU).† University of Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, Benin University of Cocody, Cote d’Ivoire, University of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone, Institut National de DÈvelopement des PÍches (INDP), Centre for Oceanographic Research of Dakar-Thiaroye (CRODT), Ghana Meteorological Agency (G-MET) and Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR).

While the project is funded under the 10th European Development Fund, products from MESA include chlorophyll-a, sea surface temperature, sea†surface winds, ocean surface currents, ocean waves

Speaking on the importance of the workshop on the environment, Prof. Obinna Chukwu, of the University of Lagos, said every information, collected through the data generated and analysed would go along way to improve on the nationís environment.

For every information you collect there is purpose and when you collect such information, otherwise know as data, you need that to manage the ecosystem. MESA is concerned with collecting information of water quality and its characteristics – the ocean situation, the waves, the tidal currents and others. They will also collect information on the biological resources and at the end of the day all this information is used in improving our environment.

Lagos Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Mr. Adebowale Akinsanya said the workshop could not have come at a better time than this, because of its relevance to what the state government through his ministry is doing.

You will all recall that recently we held a stakeholders meeting where the State government rolled out new guidelines in streamlining the activities of dredgers in the state. Our aim was in consonance with the objectives of this workshop and we are in total support of Institute.

As I am informed, this workshop will be looking at various issue surrounding access, effective utilization of earth observation data and information, with capacity building for management and exploitation of marine resources. For me as an engineer, it is a welcome development, as our discussions will afford us the opportunity to know in details, our ocean and lagoon depths and other issues as it affects engineering.

According to him, managing coastal resources requires adequate oceanography data analysis and a regular interaction between engineers and oceanographers cannot be over emphasized, adding that whatever data gathered and analysed will help the government in taking decisions as it affects dredging activities, erosion control, protection of coastline, sustainability and our entire eco-system.

Executive Director, and Chief Executive Officer, NIOMR, Dr. Gbola Akande said, the workshop was part of the important events lined up for the implementation of the recently approved MESA project for Nigeria and funded by the European Union (EU) under the auspices of the African Union (AU).

ìNIOMR as a specialized marine research institute is charged with the responsibilities to conduct research into the rational exploitation of marine resources and conservation for sustainable development and healthy marine environment.

Hence, our mandate requires us to collect, analyse, interpret data and information in our core areas of marine fisheries, oceanography and aquaculture to assist government and stakeholders bring about information policy decisions for the sustainable management of our marine environment.î

Akande, who also launched Oceanography Bulletin, pledged NIOMRís commitment to providing the highest possible level of service and quality products to all stakeholders in the maritime sectors, which he revealed would be achieved through the implementation of its research activities using highly trained and skilled scientific and technical work force.

ìOur vision is to ensure that we are part of the global scientific marine network that is involved in monitoring, collection, processing and modeling of marine and oceanographic data.

ìThe purpose of the MESA programme is to increase the capacity in information management, decision making and planning of African continental, regional institutions mandated for environment, climate and food security. This is being achieved by enhancing access to reliable, timely and accurate land, marine and climate data and information for Africa. MESA is also exploiting Earth. Observation data and technologies to promote socio-economic progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.î

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