STRENGTHENED COOPERATION ON MARINE SCIENCE AND FISHERIES RESEARCH
Strengthened cooperation on marine science and fisheries research in the Mediterranean. The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the University Mohammed First (UMP) and the Institut National de Recherche Halieutique (INRH) of Morocco to support the development of training and research in the field of fisheries and marine sciences in the Mediterranean region.
Collaboration between stakeholders is at the heart of the GFCM’s strategy and it is crucial to promote the adoption of sustainable practices in fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean region. In line with the theme of Earth Day 2021, this partnership will encourage innovative thinking in support of the restoration of our marine resources and ecosystems. Through this agreement, each entity will offer its unique approach and skillset: UMP will support technical trainings, INRH will strengthen research capacity and the GFCM will provide expertise and disseminate the results at the regional level.
This year, through the MoU, a joint research unit will be established at UMP to develop training and research in marine science, in line with the needs identified at the GFCM Forum on Fisheries Science in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (Fish Forum 2018). This research unit will monitor and assess the results of joint research projects, trainings and educational programmes and thereby contribute to the objectives of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021–2030, leveraging on the engagement of stakeholders to make advances in scientific research and innovation in support of sustainable ocean management.
Furthermore, the MoU will launch a master’s degree programme in marine sciences at UMP. “This MoU will support the development of the next generation of researchers and decision-makers in the region,” stated Abdellah Srour, GFCM Executive Secretary. “This approach will contribute to strengthening research synergies and the exchange of best practices throughout the Mediterranean region. This is key to producing evidence-based decision-making on our marine resources.”
Following Morocco’s commitment to the MedFish4Ever Declaration, this MoU will increase the visibility of UMP, INRH and Morocco in the field of scientific research in the Mediterranean, while promoting the exchange of information between institutions in the fisheries and marine sciences fields.
“This agreement constitutes a real added value for our university in the field of training and research in marine sciences and offers a positive example of cooperation towards the sustainable management of the marine environment”, stated Yassine Zarhloule, President of the UMP.
“The situation of Mediterranean marine ecosystems is particularly worrying,” said Abdelmalek Faraj, Director General of INRH. “As all research and training efforts must be made to intensify our work and improve our knowledge of the Mediterranean, this strengthened collaboration with the GFCM and the UMP in support of sustainability is most welcome”.
The GFCM technical unit for the western Mediterranean will support the implementation of the MoU and provide relevant expertise for its activities towards supporting FAO’s Strategic Objective 2 (SO2), to “Make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable,” while also fulfilling Target 1 “Reverse the declining trend of fish stocks through strengthened scientific advice in support of management” of the GFCM mid-term strategy. This MoU will be active for five years, until 2026.
About the partners
University Mohammed First (UMP) is a higher education institution offering courses and programmes particularly in fisheries science. UMP has a long-standing tradition of international collaboration with other organizations, promoting scientific collaboration across the Mediterranean. Equipped with research centres and high-level technology, UMP is a key research partner in fisheries science.
Institut National de Recherche Halieutique (INRH) is a scientific and technical research institution missioned to assess and monitor fisheries resources, the functioning of marine and coastal ecosystems and the quality and health of the marine environment. In Morocco, the INRH closely collaborates with the GFCM for the implementation of research programmes and it is actively participating in statutory and technical meetings, including on activities related to the FAO regional project CopeMed II.