The rise of South Africa’s Blue Economy vs the need to ‘Nurture’ a sustainable aquatic ecosystem

  • Duration: 60
  • Language: English
  • Ages: All ages
  • Date: November 10, 2020 20:00
  • Recorded: Live session with recording available afterwards
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The development of the ocean and inland fisheries are increasingly being identified by developing countries as viable means to boost economic growth. For years the sea and inland freshwater systems have provided jobs and livelihood for many people, but the reality of climate change together with the impact of increased human activity requires sustainable and strategically planned interaction with the aquatic world. Join Ms Pavitray Pillay (WWF-SASSI) in conversation with Dr Angus Paterson (South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity – NRF-SAIAB), Dr Judy Mann (South African Association for Marine Biological Research – SAAMBR), Dr Mmbofhemi Stanley Liphadzi (Water Research Commission – WRC) and Dr Francesca Porri (NRF-SAIAB) as they discuss links between igniting the Blue Economy and nurturing aquatic ecosystems. The panel will give the big picture, inclusive of opportunities, complexities and the investment in research infrastructure and platforms that support sustainable use of our aquatic resources.


Dr Francesca Porri
Senior Scientist at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), Makhanda, South Africa. Francesca Porri is a marine biologist with expertise and interest in coastal ecology. Her research primarily focuses on the processes that regulate coastal populations, particularly the dynamics of dispersal of invertebrate larvae in the intertidal habitats. She investigates how the physical environment, larval behaviour and metabolism affects the distribution and connectivity of these organisms. Her research topics include an organism-to-system approaches to understand how intertidal and coastal systems function in response to a changing environment, in terms of climate and urbanisation of the coastline. After her undergraduates and MSc in Biology at the University of Florence, Italy (1997), she worked as a research associate at the University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University).
Dr. Judy Mann 
Judy is passionate about marine conservation and has focused her career on helping people to care for the oceans. She has worked for the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) in Durban since 1992. She was the Director of Education for 10 years, the uShaka Sea World Director and the first woman Chief Executive Officer of SAAMBR. She is currently the Conservation Strategist of the Association. She holds a Master’s Degree in Ichthyology, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and PhD from the University of Queensland in Australia. She is President Elect of the International Zoo Educators Association.
Dr Stanley Liphadzi
Dr Stanley Liphadzi is a Group Executive Manager in the Water Research Commission and the Adjunct Professor at the University of Venda. He leads the WRC’s Research & Development portfolio that produces new knowledge and Innovation for the water and sanitation sector. Stanley has worked in academic and agricultural sectors before joining the WRC. He has held various positions in local and international organisations; and has authored and co-authored several journal publications and book chapters. Stanley received his academic qualifications from the University of Venda (RSA), University of Pretoria (RSA), University of South Africa (RSA), and Kansas State University (USA). Dr Liphadzi admires authentic and transformational leadership.
Dr Angus Paterson 
Dr Angus Paterson is Managing Director of the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (NRF-SAIAB), a research Facility of the National Research Foundation based in Makhanda, in the rural Eastern Cape. Despite its rural situation, NRF-SAIAB is charged with
investigating the aquatic biodiversity of South Africa’s long coastline and river systems so Angus’s role entails thinking strategically about what the country requires in the long term with regard to biodiversity research; ensuring top quality research that is relevant to the country's environmental and socio-economic needs; maximising the use of Institute’s limited resources and developing purpose-built, cutting-edge research platforms not normally accessible by the broader scientific community to facilitate that research.
Angus is well-known and respected for his ground-breaking, visionary work in developing marine research infrastructure and Institutions. As the first manager of the coastal research node of the South African Environmental Observation Network (NRF-SAEON) from 2008-2011, he was instrumental in establishing a sentinel monitoring and research site in Algoa Bay at a time when the idea of establishing core long-term monitoring sites was mainly a terrestrial concept. He literally took the core site idea underwater by successfully setting up an array of instrumentation to monitor the physical conditions of Algoa Bay’s waters. Since his appointment as Managing Director at SAIAB in 2011, Angus has significantly extended SAIAB’s scope and reach, through creating systems to facilitate access to research vessels and equipment that have enabled innovative and impactful research into inshore coastal ecosystems. Under his leadership, the DSI-funded marine research programme managed by SAIAB – the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme (ACEP) – has developed into a highly functional marine infrastructure platform with a fleet of three purpose-designed coastal research vessels based in Durban and Port Elizabeth; this proudly South African platform includes the Marine Remote Imagery Platform which uses innovative underwater camera systems to monitor fish in their natural environments in order to assess the effectiveness of South Africa’s marine protected areas (MPAs); the Acoustic Tracking Array Platform, which has been monitoring fish movements along the eastern seaboard of South Africa for the last 10-15 years, is another significant platform that has developed into a world leader in tracking fish movements along the coast and into our estuaries, so that fisheries stocks can be more effectively managed. These marine platforms enable researchers to study the effects of climate change and global warming on fishes; follow the way coastal currents transport microscopic larval fish and research the effects of changing ph levels in the ocean and microplastics on filter feeders such as mussels. Recent additions are geological mapping capabilities which map the seabed in different marine habitats using highly specialised equipment including multi-beam echosounders. All of these innovative capabilities can tell us more about how we can address and mitigate human impacts on our coastal ecosystems and marine resources, inform the aims and objectives of Operation Phakisa and help towards the sustainable use of marine resources for the development of South Africa’s Blue Economy. Angus is also playing a significant role in the development of the NRFs Research Agenda 2030.