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Congratulations to this year's Mundus maris Awardees selected from 61 submissions from 10 countries by the international jury. The theme chosen by the UN for this year's World Ocean Day was "The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods". The theme allowed for a wide variety of vistas. We invited submissions in the form stories, poems, paintings and video divided into age groups to account for different life stages. Covid may have reduced the numbers of contributions, but certainly not the quality.

The top Sea Lion prizes went to two Italian submissions which enthused the jury: Valeria Mariani of Ascoli Piceno studying at the European Manga Academy won in the age group 19+ for still visuals. She accompanied her work with this explanation:

"The reason why I made this illustration concerns precisely the relationship between man and sea, a relationship that today is no longer one of mutual respect. The ocean has always given us so much and now it seems that man can do nothing but ask more and more, giving in exchange only pollution and destruction of an already fragile ecosystem such as the marine one. I chose the Hokusai Wave as it is one of the most famous sea views in the world, which however appears marred by the reckless consequences of human life and by one of the most tragic disasters of recent times, the fire of the Deepwater Horizon platform."

The second Sea Lion Prize went to Paolo Bottoni from Rome, in the 19+ age group for text submissions. His story of the Trevi Fountain builds a connection between fine arts, ingeneering, the people, the sea and the land. The fountain is visited by millions of people every year, who drop their coins as a token to come back to the marvel, but few know the story. So, click on the link above to discover more to know about it and see the fountain with a fresh appreciation during your next visit or on pictures, be grateful for the gifts of the ocean and for the artists creating awe inspiring art work of any type about it, including music.

We are gratefully acknowledging that Paolo Bottoni donated the 200€ prize money to the CENTRE SIKATI DE MINGO’O, a school set up by the local civil society group WOPA, 75 km away from coastal Kribi, Cameroon. The centre offers at least basic literacy and numeracy education to pygmy children, who do not have access to public schools. They had heard about Mundus maris Awards contest, but could not make it to participate for dramatic lack of means. Thanks for this generous gesture. The prize has been transferred on 8 June. We hope that such practical solidarity finds many copy cats.

Joshua Garofil, 18 years, from Los Baños, Philippines, was awarded a Turtle Prize for his drawing with positive messenging.

Ronnel Pamulaklakin Forte, 17 years, also from Los Baños, also bagged a Turtle Prize for his drawing below.

Little Liza Britanie NJOKEP MALOUM, 8 years, from Cameroon convinced the jury with her poem

Océan Océan
Je suis si petite
Et toi océan
Immense tu es
Bleu tu es
Beau tu es
Unique tu es
Malheureusement pour toi
Ils te polluent sans penser à demain
Tes glaciers disparaissent chaque jour
Ta faune et ta flore ne vivront pas toujours
Mais quand tu manifestes ta colère
Tu deviens destructeur et meurtrier
Ah ! Océan, finalement tu es si mystérieux !

2021PamulaklakinForte,Ronnel 17ys PhilippinesEnglish translation of

Ocean, Ocean
I am so small
And you ocean
Huge you are
Blue you are

Beautiful you are
Unique you are
Unfortunately for you
They pollute you without thinking about tomorrow
Your glaciers are disappearing every day
Your flora and fauna will not always live
But when you show your anger
You become a destroyer and a murderer
Ah! Ocean, finally you are so mysterious!

Four video entries also won Turtle Prizes:

Valentina Ruiz-Leotaud, 37 years, submitted a video on fisheries management on behalf of the Sea Around Us Project

Capítulo de Geoético del Sur de Chile submitted two interesting videos. The group is composed of Nicolás Alonso Espinoza Tapia, Leandro César Ledezma Durán, Adriana Belén Rivera Murton, Fernando Nicolás Jacob Valenzuela Morales and their mentor Prof. Sandor Mulsow of the Universidad Austral de Chile. Click on the link to view "Océano" and "Minería marina" on the Mundus maris YouTube channel.

The group of Lagos State University offered a racy piece for ocean protection "Aje Olokun " (Wealth of the ocean). The six students and their mentor are: Akanbi Adeyemi Micheal, Ogundimu Fatimoh, Nkwor Precious, Adenekan Obadare, Adigun Mercy, Olamide Agbe-Davies, Dr. Hammed M.A.

Shark Prizes go to Prince-Will Achu for his ocean video and to Princess Flora Achu, 22 years, for her short story about boys from Limbe on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea, both from Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Samba and Kumba are the mascots of Mundus maris. The jury awarded Samba and Kumba Encouragement Prizes to the following authors:

In the age group up to 12 years, Suvexa Banerjee, 11 years, from the Amanora School, Pune, Maharashtra State, India, and Hélène Astride Ewono Onana, 12 years, from Ecole bilingue l'Orchidée, Douala, Cameroon convinced with their artistic visuals.

In the age group 13 to 18 years, the text of Kelvin Momanyi, 16 years, from Kenya and the poem by Yumi Perez, 12 years, from the Philippines got the awards.

 

 

 

The fisherman's letter to Her Ocean Majesty was written by Yumi Perez, Los Baños, Philippines.

Six authors were selected in the narrative 19+ age group: four writing in English

Mia Cecilia Großmann, 19 years, from Germany for her text titled "Our unquenchable hunger for more",
Jude Efetobor, 22 years, and Irene Etta, 21 years, both of the Federal College for Fisheries and Marine Technology in Victoria Island, Nigeria
Asha Mohammed, 21 years, from Mombasa, Kenya, for her text "The Kai",

and two writing in French

Juliette Nguedjio Njanang, 30 years, from Yaoundé, Cameroon and volunteering with the Bénévoles Océan, and
Magip Abdoul Samba, 41 years, from Yoff, Sénégal and active in the Small-Scale Fisheries Academy.


Transitioning to Blue Justice with Too Big To Ignore

As a member of the global research community gathered on the "Too Big To Ignore" platform, Mundus maris contributed to the event focused on Blue Justice organised already on Monday, 7 June 2021.

 

The introduction by Svein Jentoft set the scene and placed the cases presented in the context of three orders of governance that are crucial to ensure justice to small-scale fisheries around the globe.

The individual examples were all taken from chapters of a forthcoming book "Blue Justice: Small-Scale Fisheries in a Sustainable Ocean Economy"  to appear before the end of the year (see the facsimile to the right).

Sadly, many of these document unjustices slapped on small-scale fishers in many different parts of the world that cast doubt on the merry discourses about a Blue Economy.

Mundus maris was therefore particularly happy to contribute a chapter focused on how transitions to justice might look like and what the empowering methods deployed through the small-scale fisheries academy can contribute to meet this challenge.

In their chapter, Cornelia E Nauen and Maria Fernanda Arraes Treffner explain the inclusive methodological approach. Its underlying principles are people-focused and support the realisation of their vision of positive change. They showed some concrete results women and men in Yoff, Senegal, have achieved as a result of using the methods.

For the online event, a short video offered a succinct example of some early achievements. During the panel discussion, Cornelia and Maria Fernanda insisted on the central role of being people-centred and starting with their vision of change that mattered to them as the compass guiding all implementation steps.

Mundus maris is interested in collaboration with other groups, organisations or projects in other countries to test the approach elsewhere, for example. in an English speaking country, in order to explore the scalability beyond the local context in Senegal. Further collaboration within Senegal is also most welcome to extend the positive effects for all partners.

What a nice way to start World Ocean Week.


World Ocean Day in Apam, Ghana

As part of the World Ocean Day celebrations, on the June 8, 2021, Mundus maris organised a participatory dialogue and sensitisation among fisher folks and youth in Apam, a fishing community in the Gomoa West District of Ghana. The event under the theme ‘The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods’ aimed to raise the awareness on human connectedness to the ocean, why and how we must care for the ocean - with particular emphasis on the need to combat plastic ocean pollution.

As learning from traditional knowledge and local perspectives is crucial for any transformational change, participants were invited to discuss the topic in smaller groups to make sure that all voices were heard.

The gathering lasted for almost two hours and was attended by fifty-seven (57) participants including fishermen, women fish processors and traders, youth and other stakeholders in the community. It was facilitated by Prof. Francis K.E. Nunoo, a Fisheries Scientist and Head of Department of the Marine and Fisheries Sciences, University of Ghana, who led the discussion on the theme and provided the summary, including additional highlights.

The session was mostly organised as conversations in four groups, with each having average participants of thirteen (13) to discuss the following questions:

  • What are the importance of the ocean to human lives and livelihood?

  • What is not going well with the ocean?

  • How can we address these issues for a better ocean?

Regarding the benefits of the ocean to human lives and livelihoods, participants highlighted how it provides us with fish and other sea food, serves as a means of livelihood, particularly for them as coastal folks, foreign exchange from fish exports, promotes tourism and serves as a pleasant place for recreation (relaxation) and mental well-being. Summing up on the topic, Prof. Nunoo added how human lives are dependent on the ocean highlighting that the ocean produces about 50% of the world’s oxygen, regulating the oxygen concentration in the atmosphere.

In highlighting the issues that are harming the ocean, participants outlined the following: the use of poisonous chemicals for fishing, disposal of waste at the shore/ ocean as well as the dumping of plastic waste in the sea while on fishing expedition, the activities of Saiko (transshipment at sea), overfishing, the activities of mining companies at sea, poor sanitation at the shore with lack of toilet facilities leading to open defecation at the shore. The latter keeps the tourists away, who used to come in the past attracted by colourful activities in the busy fish landing area and in town.

On the subject of what can be done to improve ocean life, participants emphasized that it requires the active participation of all stakeholder including themselves (coastal folks) to save the ocean. They particularly highlighted the need for government and other regulatory bodies to intensify efforts to stop Saiko (transshipment at sea), and other forms illegal fishing (such as the use of light, dynamite), monitor fish catches before they are sold; admonish all fishers to embrace the fishing closed season introduced by Government of Ghana; called for sensitization programmes to educate fishers and other stakeholders on the dangers of dumping plastic waste and refuse in the sea or at the shore.

Again they called on the traditional authorities within fishing communities to act as custodians of the ocean, to check illegal activities among fisher folks and punish offenders; and community members to organize clean up exercises to improve sanitation at the shore and within the community. Lastly, they appeal to the government and other NGOs as well as the rich among them to help build a modern toilet facilites in the community to address some of the sanitation issues.

In a second session, owing to the recent disaster in the Community that lead to the drowning of twelve (12) children in the sea, the programme included sensitisation on safety nets to be undertaken both at the shore and at sea. Mr. Isaac Anaman, the District Fisheries Extension Officer, Gomoa West District of Ghana, led the session on the safety measures.

In concluding the program, Nana Kow Panyin, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Chief Fisherman of Apam and one additional elder from the community took turns to thank Mundus maris and the organising team for the opportunity for such an engaging dialogue. They emphasised that participants should see this as a wake-up call to get involved as much as they can to protect the ocean, which is their major source of livelihood. Mr. Nana Kow Panyin particularly appealed to all participants to help in addressing the poor sanitation at the shore, the plastic pollution and the challenge of illegal fishing. They promised to take the matter up to the Chief Fisherman and other elders of the community to find ways to reinvent and enforce their past clean up exercises. They urged all participants to be obedient and participate when the call for such exercises are announced. This, he explained, used to be the case in the past, when members felt adamant to engage in such activities. It can be done again!

In the closing remarks, Ms. Sarah Appiah thanked all participants and especially all the elders for their contributions and proposed initiatives. She indicated Mundus maris' willingness to support such initiatives as the gathering for World Ocean Day was not an end in itself but an opportunity to galvanise improvements to problems identified by the community.

The local Nyce FM honoured the invitation to the event and aired the programme on the evening news on the 8th of June.

   

Text and photos by Ms. Sarah Appiah and Ms. Yaa Osei Mensah.


Celebrating World Ocean Day in the wider Lagos area, Nigeria

Never shy to face any type of challenge, the Mundus maris group in Lagos led by Prof. Stella Williams and Ayojesutomi Abiodun-Solanke welcomed their online guests in zoomlandia - weathering the pouring rain and the continuing pandemic. Members and friends made their appearance and contributed to the programme with their presentations, remarks, questions and answers. The programme was scheduled like this:

1. Welcome Address by Dr Lydia Adeleke, Mundus maris, Akure, Ondo State

2. Opening Remarks by:

a. Dr. Cornelia Nauen, President, Mundus maris asbl (Germany);

b. Dr. Maria del Carmen Patricia Morales, Vice President of Mundus maris asbl (Leuven, Belgium)

c. Dr. Marcelo Morales Yokobori, Vice President, Latin America (Argentina)

3. Why does Mundus maris celebrate World Ocean Day by Mrs Elizabeth Mangai, Lecturer, Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Lagos

4. 2021 UN Theme for World Ocean Day is "The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods".

  1. Dr Mercy Adeogun, Head of Department, Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Victoria Island, Lagos, speaking on extension work

  2. Dr Kafayat Fakoya, Lecturer, Lagos State University, speaking on small-scale fisheries

  3. Dr Ebinimi Ansa, Researcher, Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research, Aluu, Port Harcourt, Rivers State speaking on Oceanography and Aquaculture

5. Video on the small-scale fisheries academy in Yoff, Senegal, by Maria Fernanda Arraes Treffner for Mundus maris

6. Video by Lagos State University Team titled: Aje Olokun (Ocean Wealth) submitted to Mundus maris Awards 2021 and winning a Turtle Prize:

Akanbi Adeyemi (Age – 21);
OgundimuFatimoh (19);
Nkwor Precious (21);
AdenekanObadare (20);
Adigun Mercy (20) and
Olamide Agbe-Davie (19);
Coach/Coordinating Lecturer is Dr. Hammed M. A

7. Presentation of submissions to Mundus maris Awards 2021 by Prof Stella Williams, Vice President, Mundus maris asbl, titled: Connect with Mundus maris and peer into the work of the International Jury for World Ocean Day - with special congrats to the winning participants from Nigeria.

8. Q&A and Vote of Thanks by Ayojesutomi Abiodun-Solanke, Lecturer, Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Lagos

The event was streamed on YouTube.


World Ocean Day celebrations in Kribi, Cameroon

The Grand Batanga public school had the privilege of receiving the delegation of Ocean Volunteers of Cameroon (Bénévoles océan) led by Jeauberte Djamou, who came to Kribi for the celebration of World Ocean Day on June 08, 2021. The stage was set before 10am. The current health instructions required the various participants to strictly observe the safety measures, in particular wearing protective face masks offered by the Volunteers to all participants.

The mayor of Kribi participated in person and was greeted by a welcome song. The choir also specifically expressed gratitude for sponsorship by Mundus maris wishing the team health and success in their work for international solidarity. The director of the Grand Batanga school welcomed the school inspector, the mayor and all guests of honour.

The mayor payed particular tribute to the Ocean Volunteers and their partners. She also exhorted the children to ensure more participation in Mundus maris Awards next year as high performers could obtain significant amounts of prize moneys.

As part of the programme and in addition to speeches by the guests of honour some pupils performed the fishermen's dance (see picture below).

Educational games were played to promote ocean protection.

The centre piece of the day was, of course, the hand-over of the honorary diplomas for participation and the prizes for the winners.

The top honour at the Grand Batanga school went to Liza Britanie, 8 years, whom the international jury of the Mundus maris Awards had selected for a Turtle Prize.

She proudly posed with her diploma.

In her closing remarks the school inspector reminded the audience how Jeauberte Djamou had made her do the annual Mundus maris ocean quiz two years ago.

After doing her work for many years in Kribi, feeling the closeness of the sea and the connection, the constant reminders and pleas had at last alerted her more clearly to the importance of ocean protection and World Ocean Day celebrations. She went on to say:

"It does indeed have its place, as long as we see our environment being destroyed, our children must be sensitized. I also appreciate the Mundus maris Prize contest which is launched every year and which gives our children a voice.

This year we passed the information, but not all the schools responded on time. Next year I will do more so that we can have several winners in Kribi and that the celebration is extended to several more schools."

In closing the Ocean Volunteers thanked their various partners and reminded everybody that the ocean.

• Produces about 50% of the global oxygen and stores 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere.

• Covers about 70% of the earth's surface and carries heat from the equator to the poles, thus regulating our climate and weather phenomena.

• Is a valuable source of leisure for humankind.

• Provides more than just seafood.

• Provides seafood as a source of protein and nutrition to more than 3 billion people.

• Provides a vital source of livelihood. The ocean is the source of millions of jobs in the fishing, transport and tourism sectors.

• Contains various medicinal substances, some of which may help fight cancer, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer's disease and heart ailments.

• Is an important player in world trade through maritime transport.

 

 Photos by Jeauberte Djamou.


International Collaboration spells success: 2021 World Ocean Day in Kenya

For this year’s World Ocean Day, Eco-Ethics Kenya teamed up with a host of other ocean stakeholders. More than 13 officials drawn from government, civil society and private sector assisted to organise the celebrations. Since April 9, the officials held meetings at Kenya Coast Tourist offices in Mombasa culminating to a colourful World Ocean Day celebration on eighth of June.

This year’s theme - The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods - guided the day’s activities. The Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Kenyan government restricted the celebrations to 50 people, when we would gather hundreds in earlier occasions.

As usual, we also planned two pre-WOD activities. The most common one is prepping the young stars of our Eco-Clubs to participate in an international essay and art contest for Mundus maris Awards. This year, Eco-Ethics was among the partners of the Belgium based Mundus maris organisation. Sixteen students participated and two students impressed the International Jury bagging a cash award of €30 each. All participants got an honorary diploma for their active support for ocean awareness and protection.

The other pre-activity was a mangrove planting exercise at Kidongo Beach along Mtwapa Creek. The exercise coincided with the World Environment Day marked on 5th June. Remarkably, 50 participants helped in planting a record 5,000 mangrove seedlings. Mombasa County Director of Environment from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), who was the chief guest, graced the occasion.

We need to partner and collaborate in a bid to conserve our oceans and environment even as we enter the UN decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This is a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature,” said the Director, Mr. Lopokoiyit.

Meanwhile, the ban on public gatherings coaxed the planning committee to get creative. The gist of such an international day is to disseminate as much information on ocean ecosystems to a wide population and to combine awareness raising with action. This is why we organised a beach clean up in partnership with Mombasa Beach Management Unit and joint press briefing of all ocean stakeholders in Mombasa County.

And that worked as more than 15 national and regional media houses turned up. Together, they reach over a million people. In fact, this was one of the most publicised World Ocean Day celebrations ever since we started.

Members of the Planning Committee who addressed the media included Mercy Mghanga, an Executive Member of Beach Management Unions Association, Kenya, and Syria Karisa, a Research Officer at Kenya Wildlife Service. Others include the Director of Environment at NEMA Office in Mombasa, Mr. Lopokoiyit, and a representative from the Directorate of Marine Environment, Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA).

The press briefing was live on three national TV channels: Citizen, TV 47 and KTN, including a slot in prime-time bulletins for the day.

Three organisations set up special exhibitions for the occasion: Spire Life Saving Limited active in water sports, the National Museums of Kenya sharing insights on underwater archeology, and Morganics Company displaying how they manufacture fertilizer from seaweeds.

The day’s success was a testament to how collaboration among ocean economy stakeholders can help catalyse the ambition towards a healthy and sustainable ocean. The significant financial and moral support received from Mundus maris also made the day feel international and most importantly, a humbling moment for us as the World Ocean Day Planning Committee in Mombasa. We say, thank you for the edifying cooperation!

Photos by Brian Gicheru.


The ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) in its links with food security in the spotlight

The Hann Montagne school has opted for the 2021 edition of World Oceans Day (WOD) for an excursion for students aged between 11 and 12 years of age, on June 9, 2021, to the artisanal fishing landing site in Hann with the ruler showing the minimum sizes of sexual maturity of the main commercial fish species. This choice is inspired by the teaching kit developed by Mundus maris with and for the FAO EAF Nansen Programme, an initiative in which schools in Hann had participated.

The idea for an educational outing using the fish ruler was chosen by the teaching staff during a preparatory meeting at the school, 25 May 2021, with Aliou Sall chaired by the director, Ms Sané. The main reason is linked to the issue of food security becoming an issue in the community.

Indeed, Mr. Ndiaye - having already participated in a seminar to upgrade teachers on the ecosystem approach to fisheries at the initiative of Mundus maris - underlined the importance for young students, the overwhelming majority of whom come from fishing families.

In the current fishing context, the marketing of juveniles is frequently observed in small markets at the street corners in the community. Thus repercussions on the future of the resource and food security are to be feared. The director had underlined that failure to respect the minimum size has a direct impact on the increase in the price of fish that have become rarer and that is already felt in the "housewife's basket".

The excursion was organised with around ten students, half of them girls and boys. The pedagogical framing was ensured by Ms. Mané and Mr. Ndiaye, their school teachers, and Aliou Sall from Mundus maris as an expert accompanied by Mr. Souleymane Sow, volunteer of Mundus maris.

Supervised by the two teachers, the students had equipped themselves with the fish ruler and each with a notebook and a pen for the purpose of reporting back in class to the teachers and other students.

At first, as soon as the students arrived on the fish landing place, they were imrpessed - as were the two teachers - by the dirty condition of the beach, with plastic waste thrown back by the sea and garbage from households bordering the Bay of Hann.

This is how an observation course was improvised right on the beach. On the basis of questions and answers, for an hour and a half Mr. Ndiaye and Ms. Mané brilliantlyanimated this session. As the images taken during this observation session illustrate, the students took a lot of notes which were then reported back to class.

Thanks to the approach of the two teachers, this session allowed the students to realize that there are several factors behind the pollution of the ocean and coastal areas and the resulting impacts. Indeed this is the first opportunity that was offered to these students to understand that the responsibilities must be shared between the political decision makers at the national level, the local elected officials in charge of the living environment in the municipality in charge of their school, but also the residents who contribute significantly to the pollution of the bay. They thus realized that ocean pollution has very negative impacts on public health.

They were also able to understand the link with food security, because if fish habitats are polluted, there are fewer fish and the living conditions of people who depend on fishing experience a decline in their income, especially as the resources are already in an overfished condition. These multiple sources of stress on the fish resources and their ecosystems are felt everywhere.

It was at the end of this first exercise that the fish measurement session started at the stalls of the fishmongers found on the spot and who showed an excellent spirit of cooperation.

The measurement session was preceded by a presentation of the reasons for the trip by Aliou Sall for the wholesalers. He took the opportunity to tell them about World Ocean Day, its merits and the theme of the 2021 edition "The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods". He also explained in detail the meaning of the fish ruler and what is meant by the minimum length of sexual maturity.

The wholesalers with whom the excursion team worked expressed great curiosity about the fish ruler they had only just discovered during the session. They were all the more impressed - but above all surprised - to hear what the size of sexual maturity means and especially understand the negative impact on the availability of the resource if these minimum sizes are not respected. That certainly fostered their interest and their collaboration, thus contributing to the success of the field trip.

The students thus proceeded to measure the different species found  that day on the landing site, in particular grouper, sea bream and sardinella. While awaiting the students' report in collaboration with their teachers, the main lessons learned from this outing dedicated to the ecosystem approach to fisheries are as follows

(i) the juvenile groupers dominate by far the marketed quantities (for this emblematic species in Senegal). The sizes rarely exceeded 25 cm while the mimimum size of a white grouper ('thiof' in Wolof, Epinephelus aeneus) is around 60 cm total length!

(ii) the sea breams found in the landing area were all of good sizes beyond minimal length. They were fished in Mauritanaian waters and landed in Hann transiting through Saint Louis in the north of Senegal.

(iii) the round sardinellas (Sardinella aurita) had achieved the minimum total length of about 20 to 23 cm, but the men and women fishmongers cautioned that in living memory this was the worst fishing season. They noted that the sardinella season had started too late and lasted for at best three months instead of seven to eight months!

It should also be noted that in the review meeting afterwards and in the light of the rich lessons learned from the excursion, the teaching staff, under the supervision of the director, expressed the need for a sustained partnership with Mundus maris. This would not only consolidate the achievements, but also allow the school to develop this initiative further given that the students mainly come from fishing families.

Some proposals have already been outlined in the perspectives of such a more continuous collaboration. They will be better structured in order to be able to share them with Mundus maris.

But in the meantime, the school would like to have a set of fish rulers for the students and any other support materials that can help them to continue working on the ecosystem approach to fisheries.


   

Text and photos by Aliou Sall.


Theatre at the Kawabata Yasunari School in Hann for World Ocean Day

The Kawabata Yasunari Primary School in Hann, which has been collaborating for several years with Mundus maris on the occasion of World Oceans Day (WOD), celebrated the 2021 edition by organising a sketch under the artistic direction of Bina Diop, artist actor and key resource person of the Mundus maris team from Senegal. The choice to celebrate the occasion with a focus on artistic expression was proposed and validated by the school leadership during a preparatory meeting held on May 25 between Aliou Sall and the school director, Madame Diouf, in the presence of some members of the teaching staff and Bina Diop.

The piece presented was rehearsed with the student actors a few weeks before the World Ocean Day celebration. Bina has indeed developed a script based on the inspirational text of the 2021 edition the theme of which is "The Ocean: Life and livelihoods". This is the sequel to several plays on ocean pollution and its effects that have been performed with school children in Hann on previous World Ocean Days. But this year's theme was added value for the sketch produced in 2021.

Indeed, the play has sensitized an exceptional audience - by its size - on the dangers of pollution for the health of the ocean. Also thanks to the artistic ingenuity of Bina and the preparation which had taken place, it sensitized the school community primarily on the following aspects:

  • The impact of ocean pollution on the living conditions of the people depending particularly strongly on healthy ecosystems for their daily lives;

  • The incivism of those people who bear a large part of responsibility for the poor state of health of an ecosystem of the importance of the coastal zone of the ocean;

  • The impérative need to adopt a civic behaviour, to show civility and to accept the share of responsibility of each and everyone, individually speaking, in order to preserve the state of health of the ocean: populations, political decision-makers at the national level, local elected officials in charge of the management of municipalities, companies.

The performance was not limited to the sketch. Indeed it was a lively theatre piece with songs composed for the occasion, all intended to provoke an awakening of consciousness on the part of the audience.

We draw some lessons from this exceptional event compared to those that took place in this same partner school in earlier occasions:

Mundus maris, through the person of Madame Diouf, the director, can count on a very committed team eager to develop a more formal and more continuous collaboration. This is what the director said while speaking at the end of the sketch, thanking our team and thus underlining once again their great availability already demonstrated during the preparation phase.

There was an exceptional mobilisation of all the school's teaching staff, who came to watch the performance. For the first time, all the teaching staff left the class rooms to celebrate World Ocean Day in the presence also of some parents of students who had the time to participate.

It was after the presentation of the play that Aliou Sall was invited to deliver the closing remarks. During his address, Mr Sall expressed the immeasurable satisfaction felt this year after all the time since Mundus Maris he represents started working with this school. He gave the assurance for the future collaboration with the noted commitment of the side of the director and teachers. Some of the teachers have been involved for some years already. On behalf of Mundus maris he presented a book on the ocean to Madame Diouf as a symbolic response for all the great work she has done with her team for this 2021 WOD edition.

Photos M. Souleymane Sow.


 From Argentina to the world, 10 June 2021

The new memorandum of cooperation between Mundus maris asbl and Belgrano University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was put into practice again in the occasion of World Ocean Day. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Dr Marcelo Lino Morales Yokobori, a webinar was organised in two sections, one focussing on the thorny issue of illegal, unrecorded and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the other on biodiversity and marine conservation.

More than one hundred participants followed the interesting presentations and interacted with the presenters and organisers.

Cornelia E Nauen of Mundus maris opened the round of IUU panel by defining the terms and illustrating the seriousness of the issue. This has kept FAO and its member states on the alert since the beginning of the new millennium. Fighting the scourge requires new levels of cooperation between national and international authorities and agencies at several levels. Phasing out harmful subsidies to long-distance fleets, long overdue after 20 years of negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) is among the necessary measures. The resulting overfishing is one of the greatest threats to the ocean and jeopardizes the health, food security, and livelihoods of millions of people in coastal communities who depend on healthy, sustainable fisheries. Other crucial measures are to prohibit transhipment at sea and raise awareness among citizens that IUU fishing is a criminal offence often associated with other crimes, such as human rights abuses, arms and drug running and thus bringing much harm to people and planet. The slides (in Spanish) are here.

Eduardo Pucci of the Argentinean shipowner association for sustainable fishing in the South Atlantic (OPRAS) placed the attention on the operation of massive fleets of several hundred vessels appearing since a few years along Latin American Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) during the fishing seasons for squid and other resources. Nominally operating on the high seas and not in formal infraction of international rules, the sheer catching power of these fleets, not bound by any rules and suspected to often trespas into EEZs after turning off the VHS signals pulled the rug under any attempts of national and regional fisheries management authorities to maintain resources in a healthy state and sustainable.

Gabriel Blanco shared insights from his long involvement with observer programmes at sea.

The entire topic drew lots of interest and questions as Argentina is very directly suffering from IUU fishing and incursions of armadas of mostly Asian fleets as we reported repeatedly on our social media. The recording of the panel session is available here.

The second panel on biodiversity was different but equally attractive as speakers made their key points in very captivating ways. Alejandra Volpedo, from Universidad de Buenos Aires, showed the immense diversity of cartilaginous and bony fishes in the Southwest Atlantic waters. She also emphasized the importance of working in interdisciplinary teams and in international cooperation. You can check the fish out in FishBase. She strongly encouraged the students to pursue their dreams and to continue with commitment in their studies. She yielded lots of grateful text messages. She closed her presentation with a painting of Joaquín Sorolla, Running along the beach, and words of Julio Cortazar.

This offered the moderator an opportunity to introduce Patricia Morales of Mundus maris. She in turn introduced Clara Ackermann and her Orquesta Juvenil de San Telmo, the musicians who prepared two videos for this year's Mundus maris World Ocean Day celebrations: one is a Letter from the ocean to the humans and the other is the Response from the humans to the ocean

Diego Rodriguez of Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata demonstrated how big our knowledge gaps about marine biodiversity are and that careful investigations are warranted to devise effective protection and management measures. He showed the complexity of the ocean environment as a three-dimensional space, where species adaptations required capabilities for multidirectional movements. He mentioned that marine biodiversity is higher than terrestrial diversity at superior taxon levels but lower at species levels. The slides are here
 
Nadia Cerino is probably the only expert in Argentinean corals. Even Argentinean participants were surprised to find out that corals, both hard and soft, occur at these latitudes. She convincingly made the point that we need to learn more about bottom dwelling species in the South Atlantic waters. These ecosystem "engineering" species are affected by bottom trawling and may be destroyed before they are properly studied. Watch the recording of the full session here.
 
 

Mundus maris doubling up in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria

The Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) has been celebrating this annual event since 2015 with the Mundus maris, Akure Chapter, this year also in partnership with Aquaworld,

Tuesday 8th of June 2021, a radio programme was aired on the FUTA Radio. The Mundus maris FUTA representatives, Professor O.A. Fagbenro, Dr. M.L. Adeleke, Mr. C.B. Ajayi, coordinator of young Mundus maris club, Staff Secondary School, FUTA, and Eweola Paul Ayomide, founder of Aquaworld, were the speakers on the radio show. The topic of the radio show was simply the 2021 World Ocean Day motto: “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods”.

Discussions during the radio programme focused on how the ocean affects people’s lives in Nigeria, the state of our water bodies, the activities that affect life in the ocean, especially plastic pollution and how we can mitigate negative effects. There was room for questions and answers from the audience.

The second event kicked up on Saturday 12th of June 2021 with the “Plastic Hunt’ at the Federal University of Technology, Akure and her environs to pick up plastic materials. It mobilised over sixty (60) participants from the Staff Secondary School, Mundus maris Youngsters Club, members of the public and the AquaWorld group. The starting point was from the University Senate Roundabout through to the University cattle ranch ending at the University Wildlife Park (Prof. Afolayan Wildlife Sanctuary).

The second part of the day’s event was tagged: ‘Eco-talks’. It commenced at the University Wildlife Park. Three invited speakers: Mrs. O.O. Olanipekun, Sustainable Agro-Tech., Akure, Mr. Femi Paul Durowaye, ABU College of Agriculture, Kabba, Kogi State, Nigeria, and Mr. Eweola Paul Ayomide, AquaWorld, spoke respectively on the following topics.

  • Effects of Microplastics on Ocean Life and our Health

  • Recycling Plastics

  • Reducing our plastic footprints through exploring behavioural changes.

After the eco-talks, the attendees of the event were taken around by the park guide to enjoy fascinating views of some of the animals in the park. Then it was time for the Mundus maris quiz competition coordinated by Dr. Wole-Alo Felicia, Mr. C.B. Ajayi and Dr. Adeleke M. Lydia. Light refreshment was provided to all participants. The event for the ended with a visit to FUTA’s botanical garden and some pleasant networking.

On behalf of the Local Organising Committee, Prof. O.A. Fagbenro and Dr. Adeleke M. Lydia and Eweola Paul, we appreciate the full support of Prof. J.A. Fuwape, FUTA; Prof. T.T. Amos, Dean, SAAT; Prof. A.A. Dada, HOD, FAT; Prof. G.E. Onibi, Dean, Students Affairs; Prof. Owoyemi, FWT Dept.; Engr. Dr. Fadugba, FUTA Radio; YALI Group, and all well-wishers, especially the First Lady of Ondo State, Nigeria; Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu who has been associating in no small ways with the Mundus maris Akure chapter. Thank you all.

Pictures by Lydia Adeleke

Closing the week with a lovely concert in Louvain, Belgium

How to better complete the range of World Ocean celebrations than with a musical journey around the globe, but this time not only in virtual space, but on the pleasant lake side of Kessel-lo, Louvain, Belgium.

Saturday, 12 June 2021, early evening, families and people of all ages gathered leisurely around the pavillon to listen to enjoy the play of Kristina Kebet, piano, and Sara Fontán Ferreira, cello.

Carefully prepared by Maria del Carmen Patricia Morales, Mundus maris Vice President, the mild breeze and the chattering birds formed the enchanting background to the concert.

During the short pause, Cornelia E Nauen of Mundus maris reminded the audience of the organisation's decade-long work for ocean literacy, ocean protection and using its resources in more intelligent and sustainable ways. She recalled a study suggesting that five million tons of fish more than at present could be harvested sustainably from European waters, if only less juveniles were caught and more adult fish left in the water to reproduce. She invited the audience to help moving our societies to a more respectful relationship with the ocean.

Photos by Cornelia E Nauen.