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During 22 days, researchers from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) participated, within the framework of an FAO project. (Photo: Stock File)

IEO scientists collaborate in Equatorial Guinea’s fishery resource assessment

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Thursday, September 14, 2017, 00:00 (GMT + 9)

Last August, the first survey to evaluate fishery resources in Equatorial Guinea waters was carried out in the framework of a project that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has developed since 2014 to promote scientific knowledge of the country's fishery resources.

The 22-day survey has been carried out in Equatorial Guinea's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), covering the island of Bioko, the coastal region of the continent and the island of Annobon and has been carried out on board the oceanographic vessel Itaf Deme, belonging to the Centre for Oceanographic Research of Dakar-Thiaroye (CRODT) in Senegal.

The lack of fishery and biological information on commercial fishery resources in Equatorial Guinea gave rise to the project called Evaluation of Fishery Resources in Equatorial Guinea waters, managed by FAO and financed by the country's government.

The main objective of this project is to provide scientific information on fishery resources in Equatorial Guinea's EEZ in order to allow its maximum and sustainable use, promoting the development of fishing activities so as to ensure the supply of local markets with quality products and to be able to contribute to the food security of the population and decrease their dependence on fish imports.

Scientists from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) have been directly involved in this project since its design and form part of its monitoring committee. Among other tasks, they have been conducting training workshops on various issues related to the collection of biological and fishery data necessary to carry out resource assessments by indirect methods.

It is worth noting the development of the first pocket guide of the main marine fishery species of Equatorial Guinea, prepared by José González of the Oceanographic Centre of the Canary Islands of IEO and edited by FAO.

The performance of the survey was a fundamental component of the project to obtain a first look at the available resources, until more information can be gained through the fisheries data. The survey has evaluated both demersal resources via trawling and small pelagics through acoustic methods.

The survey team was composed of scientists from the CRODT, the Mauritanian Institute for Oceanographic and Fisheries Research (IMROP), the IEO and technicians from the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources of Equatorial Guinea.

A key task in the survey has been the training on board of the personnel from Equatorial Guinea on sampling methodologies, carried out by participating IEO scientists, belonging to the Central Eastern Atlantic Fisheries Program (CECAF area): José González Jiménez, from the Centre Oceanographic of the Canary Islands; Eli Muñoz de los Reyes, from the Oceanographic Centre of Santander; and Eva García Isarch, of the Oceanographic Centre of Cadiz.

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