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Lily Zhao from the University of Washington, USA and the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden. (Photo: MSC)

MSC Scholarships to Help Fund Fisheries Research in East Africa and Kenya

  (UNITED KINGDOM, 8/16/2017)

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has announced the winners of the latest round of its scholarship program. The program provides funding of up to £4,000 (USD 5200)to support research looking at environmental improvement, supply chain management or best practice in fisheries management. The two winners, Lily Zhao from the University of Washington, USA and Timothy Munyikana Kakai from Pwani University, Kenya were selected from a record 70 applications from 30 countries.

Timothy Munyikana Kakai from Pwani University in Kenya holding up a net with LED lights.

Lily Zhao from the University of Washington, USA and the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden won the award for her project mapping the trade flows of octopus from small scale fisheries in East Africa. Octopus are a common food in the region and little is known about the export and interdependencies between countries in terms of product flow. Zhao’s research will complement the MSC’s initiative to map the sustainability of octopus fishing across the Western Indian Ocean.

Entangled sea turtle.

Timothy Munyikana Kakai from Pwani University in Kenya will trial the use of LED lights on nets to reduce turtle bycatch in Kenyan artisanal fisheries. Sea turtles are often entangled in or captured by commercial and artisanal fisheries along Kenya’s 600km coast and this remains a threat to the five species of sea turtle in the region. Several studies have revealed that illuminating fishing nets with LED lights can reduce sea turtle capture by 40%1-60%2 so, if the trial is successful, this project has the potential to make a real impact on the water.

Oluyemisi Oloruntuyi, Head of the Developing World Program at the MSC said: "We were very impressed with the quality of entries this year, ranging from the development of new tools for bycatch reduction to assessing the impact of land development on fish and coral community structures. It is a testament to the breadth of marine research taking place globally that we are able to fund projects in Kenya and across East Africa, where sustainable fisheries are vital not only for the health of our oceans, but for food security and poverty reduction.”

The MSC scholarship research program is now in its seventh year. The 2016 winners are investigating Mexican cooperatives combating illegal fishing, researching the socio-economic impacts of seaweed farming in Indonesia and monitoring tuna populations with genetic sequencing.

About The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organisation. Its vision is for the world’s oceans to be teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations. The MSC ecolabel and certification program recognises and rewards sustainable fishing practices and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market.

Source: MSC

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