Passport


(Feb. 20, 1997, Gazette)

Linkage with Brazil keeps bearing fruit

Late last semester, Memorial hosted a visit from a person who represents one of the best examples of international co-operation there is. Dr. Carlos Artur Sobriera Rocha is director of the Laboratório de Ciências do Mar, a marine laboratory at the Federal University of Ceara in northeast Brazil. He was here to gain ideas about education, aquaculture and fisheries resource management from Memorial -- ideas that can be successfully transplanted to Brazil -- but it was far from his first visit.

Dr. Rocha first came to Newfoundland in the late 1970s, via an agreement between Newfoundland and Brazil. He completed his master's in mathematics here in 1980 (his area of expertise is fisheries biostatistics). Today Dr. Rocha helps strengthen ties between the Federal University of Ceara and Memorial University that were created in 1991 through a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) sponsored linkage project. As a result of the link, students from Brazil come to Memorial to study aquaculture and other fisheries related subjects -- one of those students, Alberto Nunes of Fortaleza, Brazil, became the first person ever to receive an M.Sc. in aquaculture from Memorial, in 1995. But Dr. Rocha hopes that soon the Federal University of Ceara will be in a position to offer Memorial-inspired academic programs of its own.

Dr. Rocha's counterpart at Memorial is Dr. Tony Dickinson, who is international programs officer, and director of the Canadian Centre for International Fisheries Training and Development; Dr. Dickinson is also project manager for the CIDA-funded linkage.

"He and I collaborate on the management of the project and the development of any possible spinoffs that may occur. For example, we're currently exploring the possibility -- with Dr. David Close of our political science department -- of starting a field component for Memorial students who might be interested in spending a semester doing a socio-economic course in Latin America."

While at Memorial, Dr. Rocha explained the importance of the fishery to his region.

"We fish mostly for lobster and red snapper, and productivity is down for both. Aquaculture could be an alternative for us, so with the help of people like Dr. Steve Goddard at the Marine Institute, we hope to be able to start a program of mariculture at our institution."

During his stay Dr. Rocha gave a seminar about the fishery of northeast Brazil, which was hosted by the Department of Biology, and he pointed out how the fishing industries of Newfoundland and Brazil are similar.

"The problems with our fisheries are more or less the same," he said. "There is a high level of effort but declining fish populations."

Dr. Dickinson told the Gazette that as a result of the link between Memorial and the Federal University of Ceara, Brazilian scientists may visit Memorial in the future to provide fisheries acoustic training.

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