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4th SAMREF meeting highlights the value of science-industry engagement

By Nicole du Plessis, SAMREF Project Coordinator, SAEON Egagasini Node
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The 4th South African Marine Research and Exploration Forum (SAMREF) meeting took place in Cape Town on 4 November 2019.

The meeting was chaired by Dr Yonah Seleti of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), who indicated a continued commitment from the DSI to supporting the Forum. Dr Seleti is Chief Director of the DSI’s National Indigenous Knowledge Systems Office.

SAMREF’s project coordinator, Nicole du Plessis, provided feedback on the activities of the Forum, which included a proposal for a sediment database hosted by SAEON’s Egagasini Node. The database will be comprised of samples received from various sources, including the oil and gas industry (see Figure 1) and foreign research vessels that survey in South African waters.

This was followed by a presentation by Dr Laura Braby on the usefulness of temperature/salinity and current data received by PGS, a Norwegian marine geophysical company which provides services to the oil and gas industry (see Figure 2). These presentations highlighted the value and challenges of working with industry, especially the need for metadata to be included with any data files received.

Next on the programme was a discussion on upcoming opportunities and historically collected data from industry that the Secretariat could follow up on.

Outcomes from the meeting included: 

  • The decision to promote SAMREF on various platforms such as the South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research (SANCOR), SAEON and DSI newsletters, as well as through Operation Phakisa
  • Further discussion between SAEON and the DSI on the organisational structure of the SAMREF Secretariat, the data policies and linking to the Maritime Information Management System (MIMS) and the National Oceans and Coastal Information Management System (OCIMS), and the process for project proposal through SAMREF beyond only being a brokerage service; and 
  • The possibility of having two Forum meetings a year to follow up on and inform the work plan to maintain momentum.

Data, data products and metadata will be available on the SAMREF website or the South African Spatial Data Infrastructure (SASDI) platform.


Figure 1: Sediment analyses using the Wentworth Grain Size Classification method for sediment samples received from Total. The samples were collected during the Brulpadda drilling operations in January 2019.


Figure 2: Cruise tracks for the PGS seismic surveys conducted between 2015-2016.

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