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Top KMFRI scientist and Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) Africa President Dr Jacqueline Uku has been re-elected. Dr. Uku was voted back during the 10th WIOMSA Scientific Symposium held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, between October 30 and November 4, 2017.

WIOMSA board election comes up in February and Dr Uku is one of the nominees for the post.

On October 19, 2017, KMFRI hosted WIOMSA members ahead of the symposium. The pre-symposium event was presided over by Dr Uku, Marine Biology expert Dr. Nina Wambiji, who is also WIOMSA’s Country coordinator, and Deputy Director Fresh Water Systems Dr. Enoch Wakwabi, a founding member of the association. Dr. Uku heads the association in Kenya, Tanzania Mozambique and Madagascar, among other countries.

Dr. Wakwabi opened the symposium by narrating a brief history of the organization, urging the young scientists to prepare to take over the leadership mantle from WIOMSA founders. WIOMSA came into being in 1993 and has a Secretariat of seven members who run the association from Zanzibar.

During the function, students drawn from Pwani University and University of Edinburgh, and those on internship programme at KMFRI, scientists (KMFRI), managers (Kenya Wildlife Services) and NGO’s made their presentations to an attentive audience who had converged at the Institute’s auditorium. The presentations ranged from marine oceanography, mangrove conservation, seaweed farming and aquaculture.

A highly seasoned scientist, who is also Shimoni station Centre Director Dr. James Kairu, headed the team from Gazi and like a good teacher guided the students during the presentations of their posters. Dr. Uku awarded the best candidate in the pre-Symposium function Miss Fatma Manyenze (MSc – Pwani University) a copy of the book ‘A guide to the Seashores of Eastern Africa and the Western Indian Ocean Islands’ by Matt Richmond. Those in attendance were treated to sumptuous lunch, with the event winding up with a cocktail party at KMFRI’s Dolphin Conference.

Dr. Uku urged scientists to make an impact, saying KMFRI is a hub of knowledge, which should be used to solve problems. This meeting provided a forum for members to interact with each other and also give an opportunity for those who will not be able to attend the Symposium to obtain a preview of the research activities being undertaken along the Kenyan coast. The participants thanked the organisers for the warm reception.

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