OVER 500 LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL MARINE SCIENCE EXPERTS TO GATHER IN PORT EDWARD TO SHARE KNOWLEDGE ON THE MANAGEMENT AND GOVERNANCE OF THE MARINE AND COASTAL ENVIRONMENT
20 OCTOBER 2015
Over 500 local and international marine scientists and biologists will gather at the Wild Coast Sun Resort in Port Edward between 25 – 31 October for the biennial Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) 9th Scientific Symposium. The KwaZulu-Natal MEC: Economic Development, Tourist and Environmental Affairs, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu will officially open the symposium on Monday, 26 October.
This symposium convenes as South Africa celebrates National Marine Month, aimed at creating awareness of the oceans and coastal environment. Some of the key issues to be discussed at the symposium include the status and ecological processes of coral reefs, the social dynamics of coastal communities, the effectiveness of marine protected areas, and the restoration of coastal ecosystems, amongst others.
The theme of the Symposium is “Knowledge – improving lives in ocean and coastal systems”. In line with its reputation as the major hub for exchange and dissemination of information, the Ninth Symposium will comprise a range of presentations and sessions from keynote presentations to oral and poster presentations. Six keynote presentations, two hundred and fifteen oral presentations, and over two hundred and fifty poster presentations will be delivered during the week. Twelve special sessions on different topics will be held on the 30th of October. Two new books will also be launched at the Symposium.
WIOMSA has a further mission of education and marine stewardship, as well as connecting global communities in their efforts to protect the oceans. As part of this effort, the symposium will be featuring the H?k?le?a, which is a double hulled voyaging canoe that is currently approaching the coast of South Africa (http://www.hokulea.com/).
From her home in Hawai’i to her first port of call in South Africa (Richards Bay), the H?k?le?a is voyaging about 19,000 kilometers, or over 10,000 nautical miles. This historic leg of their worldwide journey is the first time the African coast has seen a Polynesian voyaging canoe and crew, and we welcome them to our home waters. Malama Honua, the mission of the voyage, in Hawai’ian means “caring for the island earth” has a very similar message to our local South African ubuntu philosophy. A live google hangout will be facilitated during the symposium allowing the scientific and local community to engage with the H?k?le?a crew.
The Western Indian Ocean is incredibly important to countless coastal communities and populations. From small subsistence fishermen, to large ocean going ships, this part of the world’s oceans sustains millions. Fourteen African countries have coastlines in this ocean, stretching out from Madagascar to Egypt, and down to Cape Agulhas in South Africa. Coral reefs along the coastline of Kenya, Tanzania, and northern Mozambique form a large fringing reef complex that is amongst the largest in the world.
The 9th WIOMSA Scientific Symposium will be co-hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, University of KwaZulu-Natal and the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board.
Members of the media are invited to attend the symposium
Date: 25 – 31 October
Venue: Wild Coast Sun Resort, Port Edward
To RSVP, and for media queries, contact Reyhana Mahomed at RMahomed@csir.co.za or 073 473 0398
The vision and mission of WIOMSA is to study and care for the Western Indian Ocean, combining science and local indigenous knowledge to promote healthy, functioning ecosystems, and protect ocean resources for all users and stakeholders. WIOMSA aims to further community involvement and conservation, connecting people and the environment as together we face the oncoming threat of climate change in a warming ocean.
Facebook: WIOMSA (Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association)