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.
Octopuses 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.
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.
“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,” said Oluyemisi Oloruntuyi, Head of the Developing World Program at the MSC.
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. To register your interest in the 2018 scholarship program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>.