Memorial goes fishing with Tanzania
Memorial University will be working with colleagues at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania on a project titled Sustaining Coastal Fishing Communities. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) approved a contribution of $1 million over six project years to allow Memorial to implement the project through its International Centre.
The objective is to improve the fisheries and related aquatic sciences capacity of the UDSM, especially its new Faculty of Aquatic Sciences and Technology. The UDSM Institute of Journalism and Mass Communications will provide the personnel and methods to transfer information from the university to pilot communities. As a result, the capability of the UDSM to develop skills and knowledge in rural coastal villages will be improved, and will encourage residents to conserve the environment and species for sustainable food production. The project will also provide the opportunity for Memorial personnel and institutional partners to experience development and sector issues in East Africa.
“The project directly addresses the needs of Tanzania and the development priorities of its government,” said Dr. Tony Dickinson, executive director of Memorial University 's International Centre. “Improving food security is central to poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa, where millions cannot obtain enough or implement sound environmental practices to sustain production. This is especially the case in rural communities along the coast of Tanzania, one of the poorest countries. Most of the food for these communities comes from the sea. Uncontrolled and destructive harvesting and degradation of coastal ecosystems (reef, mangroves) may have reduced fish and shellfish numbers. Recent joint research by Memorial and Moi University ( Kenya ) has confirmed depletion of fish stocks in the Indian Ocean waters off Kenya, but similar data are lacking for Tanzania. Coastal fisheries may thus be unsustainable at current levels.”
The government of Tanzania recognizes that enhancing and sustaining small-scale coastal fisheries will help to improve food security, and that environmental health is intimately tied to human health and poverty. The development of base-line research and related training programs in institutions and communities is considered essential. Project initiatives will include improving fisheries science (stock assessment), upgrading curricula and teaching, graduate study, providing technical training (improved post-harvest processing and quality control), improving management potential, and raising conservation and income generating awareness in communities, especially amongst women, primary school children and their teachers. Gender issues will be addressed by the Women's Studies Program of the Department of Sociology in concert with their counterparts. Other Memorial units will include the Marine Institute, the Chair of Fisheries Conservation, the Ocean Sciences Centre, and the Faculty of Science.
Associate participants include Anigraph Productions of St John's (development media), the Department of Fisheries of Moi University, Kenya, and government of Tanzania departments such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the Ministry of Education, and local NGO's. The project arises from relationships developed by Memorial in a previous partnership with the UDSM Institute of Marine Sciences in Zanzibar.
This project is one of thirteen awarded to Canadian universities from the 2003-04 Tier 2 competition of the University Partnerships in Cooperation and Development (UPCD) program funded by CIDA and managed on their behalf by the international division of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). It continues the outstanding success of Memorial in the UPCD program and its precursors, and continues its recent presence in the region through projects in Kenya and Zanzibar (International Centre) and Malawi (Marine Institute International).