"The Benefits of Transparent Fisheries Management in the Western Indian Ocean"
A Sub-Regional Project for Africa
Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles
Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico provided an ideal landing point for these marine scientists, policy officials, and business executives from the South-West Indian Ocean to explore best practices in transparent fisheries management with world-renowned experts, and discover new methodologies for public-private partnerships. Their visit began with a virtual session with Mr. Markus Burgener, Senior Programme Officer, TRAFFIC, an international organization dedicated to monitoring wildlife trade and providing essential information, including trade dynamics, malpractice and policy to wildlife authorities. Burgener led a discussion of the importance of transparency in fisheries trade, and the role this can play in supporting sound fisheries management. His in-depth case studies all came from his work in the Southwestern Indian Ocean. The group then moved to a seaside park in Dunedin, where Dr. Randy Runnels, Manager, Florida’s Aquatic Preserves talked about Florida's 41 Managed Protected Areas and the value they bring to fisheries management, environmental sustainability, and to Florida's tourism industry. Dr. Steve Murawski, Research Professor and St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership Peter R. Betzer Endowed Chair, University of South Florida College of Marine Science gave an in-depth presentation of how Marine Protected Areas can be used by countries to manage and monitor their ocean fisheries, and maximize the economic and environmental benefits. Ms. Alison Barlow, Executive Director, St. Pete Innovation District welcomed the group to the Maritime and Defense Technology Hub, a shared workspace that brings together under one roof the triple helix of innovation: industry, government, and academia. In addition to being introduced to this unique public-private partnership, and discussing the New Blue Economy, visitors also saw some new state-of-the-art underwater technology that could be of value to their work.
The group ended their meetings at Mote Marine Institute in Sarasota. Mr. Kevin Claridge, Mote Vice President for Sponsored Research & Coastal Policy Program provided an overview of Mote's scientific research and community outreach, and introduced three senior research scientists for a roundtable discussion on fisheries conservation: Dr. Demian Chapman, Senior Scientist & Director, Center for Shark Research; Dr. Jake Lasala, Program Manager, Sea Turtle Conservation & Research; and Dr. Ryan Schloesser, Program Manager for Fisheries Ecology & Enhancement.