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Energy, Climate change, Environment

Making marine data available to the global scientific community: the UG-MESA marine services case


The Coastal and Marine Resources Management Centre at the University of Ghana (UG) started a project in 14 coastal West African countries with the aim of improving the coastal and marine information management, decision-making and capacity planning of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), by enhancing access to and exploitation of relevant Earth Observation (EO) data.

Among the other services, the project provides daily maps of potential fishing zones (PFZs) and vessel traffic information in the sub-region to fisheries managers, and maps of ocean condition forecasts to marine operators and other interested stakeholders. Information on PFZs are provided to policy makers of beneficiary countries, enabling them to better manage their fishery resources. Additionally, daily forecasts of ocean conditions are sent via an SMS early-warning system to artisan fishermen, which enables them to increase their efficiency, reduce their costs and above all, avoid venturing out to sea when conditions are too dangerous.

As part of the services provided, the University of Ghana deployed a wave rider buoy near the Cape Verde islands for collection of in-situ data on ocean parameters such as wave height and sea surface temperature for validation purposes.

In order to make this data available to the global scientific community, collaboration was established with EMODnet Physics to host this data on their distribution platform. The impact of this collaboration has been tremendous, as the data is made easily accessible to both African and European partner institutions, as well as other users.

About the MESA project
The Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) project was a continent-wide project aimed at using Earth Observation data to support African decision makers and planners in implementing national, regional and continental policies and development plans towards sustainable development and management of environmental resources.