The project was centred on retrospective analyses of existing data time-series, to provide outputs of relevance to transboundary resource management. It was shown that natural ecosystem variability and human impacts, notably heavy fishing pressure, have obscured many of the impacts of climate change – an important research output that will assist considerably in developing future research programmes in this field. It has also offered young scientists the opportunity to work in teams with more experienced scientists, building capacity in the region. The large number of peer-reviewed papers (including a synthesis paper) that have been published in scientific journals will leave a permanent record of the findings of the Project on which further research can be built.
The NansClim Project (2009-2014) was established to “identify and describe possible trends and variability in ocean climate and corresponding changes in marine biodiversity and fisheries in the Benguela Current system”. The project fostered integration of oceanographic, pelagic and demersal observations and research across all three countries in the region and provided the framework for a region-wide discussion on ecosystem dynamics. While heavy fishing pressure and high environmental variability characterize the BCLME, this project has added considerably knowledge to our understanding of the relative influence of human versus environmental drivers. This has benefited considerably from the comprehensive monitoring programs implemented in the 1980s and 1990s. The NansClim Project successfully analysed and disseminated results of the EAF Nansen Project and national surveys in the context of the ocean climate variability and corresponding changes in marine biodiversity.
Based on data collected through the EAF Nansen Project (established 1985)
The Nansen Program was initiated by Norway, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) in 1971 and started in 1975 when the research vessel “Dr. Fridtjof Nansen” was build. The intension was to help developing countries to gather necessary data for development and management of fisheries. The monitoring activity started fully in 1985 and together with other relevant data gathered in the region by the national research institutions, this was the bases for the NansClim project.
Review of NansClim
The progress and achievements of the NansClim Prosject was evaluated by Nordenfjeldske Development Services (NFDS) (http://www.nfds.info/) in May 2014. The full review is available here. The review concluded the project:
- Highly relevant
- Most outcomes were effectively achieved
- Mostly highly efficient
- Mostly had a high impact
- Moderately to high sustainable
The review also stated that the project had provided qualitative answers to questions raised regarding the effects of climate variability in the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem. In addition NansClim has identified a number of knowledge gaps, which need to be resolved to advance understanding of the likely impacts of climate change and climate variability on the living marine resources of the region.
It can therefore be concluded that the Project is highly relevant for the longer-term management of the BCLME region and the countries of the region.
Outcome of the NansClim Project
Papers and scientific presentations
The project has produced 17 scientific papers, one extended abstract and there in one paper still in preparation. Half of the papers are printed in Fisheries Oceanography, vol 24 (suppl 1), March 2015. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/fog.2015.24.issue-S1/issuetoc
All together 88 oral presentations have been given. The majority of them are presented at different BCC meetings. However, the project has also been invited to present result at other international symposia.
A poster and a flyer were prepared for the World Oceans Day 8 June 2010 and distributed to Angola, Namibia and South Africa. The same flyer and poster were also presented at the BCC Annual Forum the same year.
After the project was finished, a summary of the main findings of the project were presented in a flyer and a poster were the target group were manager and people with interest in marine ecosystems. Both products were published in English and Portuguese.
The Plenary kick-off meeting was held at Alte Brücke Conference Centre, Swakopmund, Namibia 14-15 September 2009. More than 30 scientists took part in the meeting. The participants were informed about the idea of the project, and the meeting ended with an overall plan for successful implementation of the project.
The Plenary mid-term meeting was held at Mont Fleur Conference Centre, Stellenbosch, South Africa 14-16 March 2011. The first one and a half day was dedicated to scientific presentations where of eight presentations were made by invited speakers and 16 presentations by NansClim scientists. The second half of the meeting focused on the planning of the second half of the project. Three major outcomes were listed as important
- Strengthen regional and international cooperation
- Increased public awareness of climate change in relation to fisheries and marine environment
- Possible implications of climate change on fisheries and other marine activities
It was concluded that the last phase of NansClim should focus on writing groups for scientific papers instead of planning workshos.
The Plenary final meeting was held in conjunction of the Annual Forum of Benguela Current Commission (BCC) in 15-18 October 2012, and the venue was Windhoek, Namibia. NansClim had a full day for oral presentation of 19 papers that all are available at http://www.benguelacc.org/index.php/en/activities/blog-style-2/asf-2012 . Some of the presentations summarized the papers that was planned for the the special volume of Fisheries Oceanography.
The Project Management Committee was responsible to plan and follow up the progress of the project. The Committee had two members from each of the participating countries, and met usually twice a year. The group was established in May 2009 and the membership was
Harald Loeng, project leader and chair
Erling Kåre Stenevik
Nkosi Luyeye, replaced by Filomena Vaz Velho from March 2011
- South Africa:
Larry Hutchings, replaced by Stephen Patric Kirkman in 2014
Workshops was held for two purposes: during the first half of the project, workshops were held for planning of activities within each of the task groups of the project. Identifications of suitable topics for scientific papers were the main issue to discuss. During the second half, writing workshops for scientific papers were held. These workshops, partly held in remote places and hence shielding participants from distractions from their workload at their home institutions, proved to be highly effective. Arranging writing workshops to specifically work on scientific papers was in this instance highly successful.
Some benefits of the NansClim project
- The NansClim project provided the framework for a region-wide discussion on ecosystem dynamics, which previous projects examining the individual subsystems did not have the capacity to provide.
- The successful implementation of the project is attributed to the active integration of oceanographic, pelagic and demersal observations and research across all three countries and the choice of focused workshops for analysis and writing, resulting on broad and regional competence building
- The project has added considerably to our generic understanding of the relative influences of human versus environmental drivers
- The synthesis provides new knowledge about relations between climate variability and marine biodiversity and has contributed to identifying knowledge gaps in key areas. If duly addressed this may contribute significantly to improving our ability to understand, and to some extent predict long term ecosystem effects of climate change.
Institutional Cooperation; the Partner
The Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Bergen is the principal research and advisory body for fisheries, marine resources and environment and aquaculture in Norway. The Centre for Development Cooperation in Fisheries (CDCF) represents the Institute of Marine Research
National Institute of Fisheries Research (INIP), Luanda is the principal fisheries research institution resources in Angola, providing advice on state of the stocks, quota recommendationand ecosystem assessments . The institute provides advice to the ministry and the directly to the minister on these issues, and have field stations in Luanda, Benguela and Namibe.
The National Marine Information and Research Center (NatMIRC), Swakopmund is a research center of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources under the Directorate of Resource Management. The main responsibilities are to provide advice on the state of commercially important marine fish stocks and recommendations on their appropriate yields.
The Nansen Programme initially partnered with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) Branch Marine and Coastal Management (MCM), which until 2010 was the regulatory authority responsible for managing all marine and coastal activities in South Africa. With restructuring in 2010 the functions of MCM were split between two departments, namely the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). Therefore, the NansClim project has worked with the relevant branches of each of these departments.
Other cooperating bodies:
The Benguela Current Commission (BCC) had observer status in the Project Management Committee. BCC is a multi-sectoral inter-governmental, initiative of Angola, Namibia and South Africa. It promotes the vision of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) sustaining human and ecosystem well-being for generation after generation. The BCC provides a vehicle for the countries of the region to introduce an "ecosystem approach to ocean governance".
GENUS (Geochemistry and Ecology of the Namibian Upwelling System) is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project aims to clarify relationships between climate change, biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystem structure in the large marine ecosystem of the northern Benguela / Namibian coast (SW Africa). GENUS attended the kick-off, the mid-term and the final meeting of NansClim and there was a useful exchange of information between the two projects. NansClim and GENUS had a joint ichthyoplankton course in April 2011.
The Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) primary aim is to promote sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of all Namibians. They are particularly strong on financial management ant and administration. They were given the task to administer and manage funds for NansClim Project in the three participating countries. http://www.nnf.org.na/