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Dr Hajaniana Ratsimbazafy, known within the VUB community as Haj, is a VUB Oceans & Lakes alumnus (2012), who came over from Madagascar to study in Brussels with a VLIR-UOS scholarship. After graduating from the master’s programme he went on to do a PhD at the VUB under the supervision of professor Marc Kochzius, and with a VLIR-UOS ICP PhD scholarship. He obtained his PhD in May this year. Haj was one of the presenters at the 11th WIOMSA Scientific Symposium on ‘People, Coasts & Oceans: opportunities for a changing future’, which took place from 1-6 July 2019 in Mauritius.
His presentation looked into ‘Tiger prawn stock identification across the Indo-West Pacific and the implication for the Western Indian Ocean fishery’. The conference saw more than 100 presentations across 4 days. Haj was rewarded with the prize chosen from those presentations covering the last two days of the symposium. WIOMSA was established as a regional non-profit organisation in 1993 in Tanzania. It is dedicated to promoting the educational, scientific and technological development of all aspects related to marine sciences throughout the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region, which includes Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius and Réunion (France). The aim of the association is to sustain the use and conservation of the WIO region’s marine resources, with a particular focus on connecting research to management and governance related to the marine and coastal ecosystems.
Haj was, needless to say, very happy with being awarded the prize, adding that he is “ very pleased that the association recognises the importance of the use of my study for the region”. In his presentation, he provided many recommendations with regards to the sustainability of prawn fisheries.
In June 2019, he joined professor Farid Dahdouh-Guebas and dr. Jean Hugé at the Systems Ecology and Resource Management research unit of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), to work on the discursive and practical dynamics of sustainability and its assessment within complex social-ecological systems.