Training in Marine Resource Data Management: Nigeria

The inventory and collection of data available to coastal nations is vital to building their capacity for the marine resource management of their coastal waters.

Effective management of offshore marine resources requires an understanding of the general morphology of the ocean and Seaforth Engineering of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has had considerable experience in marine surveys, ocean mapping, and geographic information systems (GIS). They and their partner, CARIS of Fredericton, New Brunswick, were a logical choice, then, to carry out a contract with the Nigerian National Boundary Commission, Department of Oceanography, to assist Nigerians to acquire the tools necessary to manage the data relating to their coastal marine resources.

With $70,000 from CIDA-INC in support of the contract, and using training resources and software developed by CARIS, Seaforth established a training office in Dartmouth, N.S., complete with all hardware, software, and materials necessary to transfer expertise in data assembly, analysis and subsequent report generation. Eleven Nigerian students, including one woman, came to Dartmouth to take part in the training. With the completion of the program, the training office was dismantled and shipped to Abuja, Nigeria, where it will provide the framework upon which Nigeria can now establish a turnkey Hydrographic Office.

In addition to increasing Nigeria’s knowledge capacity, this training will contribute to the provision of safe charting for tankers, cargo ships, and other vessels; the creation of updated maritime zones as a stable framework for resource management, including migratory fish species; and, the provision of a stable environment for investment by oil/gas/mineral companies.