The Indian Ocean Marine Science Workshop, an initiative by the Earth Journalism Network,EJN has successfully wrapped up.
15 journalists from 11 countries participated in the workshop, that took place from September 22 – 26 at Four Seasons Resort in Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru in the Baa atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
With the main purpose of assisting journalists report on key issues linked to the ocean, the workshop was initially announced back in 2020, with the participation of journalists spanning Indian Ocean nations including Indonesia, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique and Somalia, confirmed.
Senior journalism trainers and scientists who provided important insights and assistance for journalists to report on key ocean issues at the workshop, included Dr. Asha de Vos, Professor Heather Koldewey, Joydeep Gupta, Joanna Harris and EJN’s Executive Director as well as journalist and author James Fahn.
Participants at the workshop engaged in fruitful discussions revolving around science for solutions to save the ocean, science behind conservation alongside ways through which marine reporting can be improved, marine protected areas, reef and open ocean species as well as fisheries and climate change.
The five-day workshop, co-hosted by the Bertarelli Foundation, also saw story ideas presented by the participants, who had the opportunity to meet with the marine discovery team at Four Seasons and to tour the center.
They were also granted the opportunity to visit Hanifaru Bay, dubbed the world’s largest manta ray feeding station.
Further, the workshop paved a great opportunity for participants to interview expert scientists to help gather materials for story development.
Expert scientists interviewed as part of the workshop included Seychelles and UK lawyer Angelique Pouponneau who holds an LLM in Environmental Law specializing in the law of the sea and natural resources alongside being a climate negotiator, former Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust and advisory board member of the UN Ocean Decade.
Further, Francesco Ferretti, Virginia Tech, U.S., who focuses on describing the history of human impact in the ocean and helps understand how this impact has altered marine ecosystems and develop solutions for a sustainable use of marine resources, also took part in the workshop.
Ferretti’s research spans from macro-ecology to applied management and conservation, with a specific interest in sharks and their relatives.
Other scientists included Shaili Johri from Stanford University in U.S, working on shark genomics, shark fisheries and trade across the Indian Ocean region, Phil Hosegood from UK’s Plymouth University who specializes in oceanography and physics linked to mantas and ocean monitoring, including in the Maldives, as well as Lucy Woodall from the Oxford University, who specializes in deep sea, policy/conventions, plastics. Woodall is presently leading deep sea research expedition in the Maldives with local partners and Nekton.
In addition to this, the team participated in the building of coral reefs by joining the resort’s Reefscapers programme.
At the end of the stay, the team was given a tour of the FS facilities.
The Indian Ocean Marine Science Workshop has been carried out after a two-year long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic which caused the workshop to be postponed twice round.
With an aim to provide journalists with specific reporting tools and subject-specific knowledge on unique reporting angles, EJN brings in leading experts in the field to ensure their training is up to date and relevant, according to the network.