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SOLSTICE-WIO: Sustainable Oceans, Livelihoods and food Security Through Increased Capacity in Ecosystem research in the Western Indian Ocean

Underwater scene, western Indian Ocean, courtesy of Dreamstime

Completed project

Project start: October 2017  |  Project end: September 2021
Funder: Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)
Principal Investigator: 0
Other participants from PML: Dr Ana M Queirós, Dr Jorn Bruggeman, Dr Liz Talbot, Dr Robert Brewin, Professor Icarus Allen

SOLSTICE – WIO is a four year collaborative GCRF project that aims to strengthen capacity in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region to address challenges of food security and sustainable livelihoods for coastal communities.

The key lies in an ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF), which sees human-natural systems as a whole, integrated entity. Sustainable management requires reliable environmental and socio-economic information, which can be difficult and expensive to obtain. SOLSTICE will build regional capacity to obtain this information, through use of three state-of-the-art technologies:

  • Earth observation
  • Numerical ocean models
  • Marine autonomous and robotic systems

By combining these with local expertise and knowledge, SOLSTICE-WIO will provide essential support for regional efforts towards sustainable management of marine living resources. SOLSTICE-WIO links leading UK research bodies with key academic, NGO, industrial and governmental stakeholders in the WIO region (Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles).

Building on existing regional initiatives, engaging with key stakeholders, and strengthening the regional ‘Innovation Bridge’ between the UK and the WIO region, SOLSTICE-WIO will demonstrate its approach to sustainable management of marine living resources through three case studies:

  • Kenya: Emerging fishery of the North Kenyan Bank: the next frontier for food security of the coastal population (led by Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute)
  • Tanzania: Pemba Channel small pelagics: threats and opportunities of climate change (led by Institute of Marine Science, Zanzibar Tanzania)
  • South Africa: Ecosystem shifts & fishery collapse: South African Chokka squid fishery (led by Nelson Mandela University, South Africa)



The project will increase regional research capability through collaborative research, mentoring of early career scientists and postgraduate students, training courses and on-line education resources for marine professionals, and by working with local communities to build on their knowledge and understanding of the issues, and share scientific information resulting from SOLSTICE research.