DWU offers training to Fisheries officers

Staff from the Department of Mathematics and Computing Science at Divine Word University conducted a 10-day Short Course on using
mathematical functions to model fisheries populations for professional staff from the PNG National Fisheries Authority in January.

The 13 NFA officers, five females and eight males, took part in the course under the leadership of Mr Brian Kumasi, Manager, Tuna Fisheries at NFA.Head of Mathematics and Computing Science and Information Systems, Professor Peter Anderson said “The aim of the Short Course was to assist NFA staff to undertake quantitative assessments of key stocks in PNG fisheries that are both accurate and capable of withstanding external review.

This should better position staff to participate in joint regional (e.g. tuna) or bilateral (e.g. Torres Straits fisheries) assessment processes.”

“The Short Course recognizes that advanced stock assessment is a highly specialized field reliant on advanced mathematical, statistical and programming skills and the availability of high quality data.

“Participants also gained competence in the use of Tuna Management Simulation (TUMAS software) based on assumptions, nature of the data, and relation of the data to vessel monitoring, in order to run scenarios to determine optimal catches under different license regimes.”

The NFA staff successful completed the course attained a Certificates of Completion presented by DWU President Professor Cecilia Nembou.

Professor Nembou commended NFA and Professor Anderson and his staff for the partnership in facilitating the program.

She said DWU is keen on partnerships with government entities like NFA and non-government entities to carry out such programs.

Professor Nembou said the university realizes the importance of public private partnerships in delivering programs and conducting research and has opened a directorate of partnership located within the office of the DWU President. The directorate of partnerships is headed by Mrs Salome Yegiora.

The short program was requested by NFA, Manager Tuna fisheries, Mr Brian Kumasi through Professor Cecilia Nembou who assigned it to Professor Anderson and his team to facilitate.

“NFA staff have requested assistance to develop their capacity to undertake stock assessments of key stocks fished within PNG waters,” Professor Anderson said.  “Stock assessments would be used to support the optimal management of PNG’s fisheries resources, both to ensure sustainability and generate optimal economic and social returns.

He said 13 professional staff from NFA who participated all had primary degrees in science, with two holding, in addition, Master’s degrees from overseas universities.

The short course was funded by NFA and would continue if requested.