GFCM Fish Forum 2024
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AUA Acopian Center Co-Organizes Workshop at GFCM Fish Forum 2024 

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ANTALYA, Turkiye In a collaborative effort to promote sustainable fisheries management, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan Specially Protected Areas Regional Activity Centre (UNEP MAP SPA/RAC) organized a joint workshop during the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) Fish Forum 2024. The workshop, titled “Smart tools and digital twins of the ocean: unlocking data access for evidence-based policy making for sustainable fisheries management,” aimed to showcase innovative solutions and technologies in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. 

AUA Assistant Professor and AUA Acopian Center aquatic ecologist Dr. Garabet Kazanjian delivered a presentation on the EU Horizon 2020 funded Iliad Digital Twins of the Ocean, in which the AUA Acopian Center has a key role. Dr. Kazanjian emphasized the potential of digital twins to revolutionize the monitoring, visualization, and analysis of ocean and fisheries data. He highlighted how the Iliad platform can assist policymakers and public authorities in ensuring compliance with regulations, as well as in forecasting the impact of various scenarios on fish stocks and marine ecosystems.

Following Dr. Kazanjian’s presentation, four Iliad pilots related to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors presented their prototype solutions, providing attendees with real-world examples of how the Iliad platform can be utilized to address challenges in the industry and promote sustainability.

The workshop also featured testimonies from fishers who have been already using the aforementioned tools, sharing their positive experiences with the public and highlighting the practical impacts of digital tools on the daily operations of fisheries and aquaculture activities.

The workshop concluded with a lively discussion among participants which included policymakers, researchers, project managers, and fishers on data sharing, interoperability of parallel efforts, building trust with fishing communities, and policy compliance. The event underscored the importance of collaboration between academia, international organizations, and industry stakeholders in driving innovation and sustainability in the fisheries sector.

The Iliad project is part of the European Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program and aims at establishing an interoperable, data-intensive, and cost-effective Digital Twins of the Ocean. The successful workshop served as a testament to the commitment of the AUA Acopian Center and the Iliad consortium to advancing sustainable fisheries management through the use of cutting-edge technologies and digital solutions.

In addition to the presentations on the Iliad platform, the FAO team introduced the newly developed Calipseo Information System. This system provides national authorities with a comprehensive tool for reporting and analyzing fish landings, further enhancing the ability of policymakers to make informed decisions.

The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, a research center of the American University of Armenia (AUA), promotes the protection and restoration of the natural environment through research, education, and community outreach. The AUA Acopian Center’s focus areas include sustainable natural resource management, biodiversity protection and conservation, greening the built environment, sustainable energy, as well as information technology and the environment. Visit