Research Vessel Dr. Fridtjof Nansen arrives in Ghana for World Oceans Day

FAO and Norway programme advances sustainable fisheries in Ghana


In celebration of World Oceans Day on 8 June, the research vessel (R/V) Dr. Fridtjof Nansen has docked at the port of Tema in Ghana. The vessel is part of the EAF-Nansen Programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Norway, with other partners. To mark the occasion, FAO, the Government of Ghana’s Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Royal Norwegian Embassy held an event dockside today, inviting representatives from the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) and from the public and private sectors to take a guided tour of the research vessel before she returns to sea.

“Today’s activities underscore our collective commitment to stewardship, collaboration, and shared responsibility,” said Mr Abdul-Aziz Ayaba Musah, Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development in Ghana.

“As the Dr. Fridtjof Nansen sets sail for new endeavours, let us harness the power of knowledge, innovation, and collaboration to build a brighter, more sustainable future for Ghana’s marine resources,” he added.

The R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen is at the centre of the EAF-Nansen Programme, a longstanding partnership between FAO, Norway, regional organizations and 32 partner countries in Africa and the Bay of Bengal. Named after the late Norwegian scientist, explorer, and humanitarian who was renowned for his ocean research contributions, the vessel is a platform for fostering cooperation among partner countries, researchers and partner organizations of the EAF-Nansen Programme.

“The Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’s presence here today marks not only a milestone in our ongoing collaboration but also a testament to the enduring partnership between Ghana and Norway. Its legacy is one of unparalleled dedication to the preservation of our oceans and the livelihoods that depend on them,” said Mr Kyrre Holm, Deputy Head of Mission, representing the Ambassador of Norway to Ghana.

In Ghana, fisheries play an important role in the economy and food security. The sector provides employment for many Ghanaians, particularly in coastal communities, and is a significant source of protein in people’s diets.

“Artisanal fishing communities are among the poorest and most vulnerable in the world. And as the Sustainable Development Goals commit to leaving no one behind, we must collectively ensure that artisanal fishing communities are not left behind,” said FAO’s Arslen Bounemra, reading a statement on behalf of the United Nations Resident Coordinator Charles Abani.

Over the years, the R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen has conducted several scientific expeditions in Ghana, providing vital information for management of the oceans and marine life. In the two most recent surveys, 14 national scientists and technicians were involved, receiving hands-on training in the vessel’s scientific equipment, research methods and analysis.

“The dedicated efforts have contributed to strengthening the capacities of fisheries institutions, generating effective fisheries management practices and scientific knowledge and research on marine resources and ecosystems in Ghana,” said Mr David Phiri, Special Adviser to the FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, while noting the critical role of the EAF-Nansen Programme in driving  and supporting the sustainable management of aquatic food systems, under the Blue Transformation approach, to eradicate hunger and poverty and foster economic growth.

Having recently completed a study on fisheries resources in the Western Gulf of Guinea, the vessel will return to sea on 8 June to do a survey in the waters off Ghana to assess the selectivity of trawl gear, with the aim of making bottom trawl fisheries more sustainable.

“With a focus on the nexus between science and management, the Programme is dedicated to its role as a catalyst for achieving sustainably managed oceans in the face of changing tides,” Ms Merete Tandstad, EAF-Nansen Programme Coordinator, concluded.

About the EAF-Nansen Programme

The R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen is at the center of the EAF-Nansen Programme, a longstanding partnership between FAO and Norway, executed in close collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR), dating back to 1975.

The Programme aligns with the objectives of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, as well as FAO’s vision for the Blue Transformation of aquatic food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life for all.

Source : FAO