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Marine Scientists Gather in Dublin on Sustainable Use of Seas

7th February 2013
Marine Scientists Gather in Dublin on Sustainable Use of Seas

#marinescience – Educators, trainers, European Commission members, and marine and social scientists from 11 countries across Europe met in Dublin in January for an important meeting of the Sea For Society project which aims to develop a sustainable relationship between humankind and the oceans.

The Sea For Society project is funded through the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The project's 28 partners represent universities, funding agencies, government marine research organisations, NGOs, business networks, science museums and aquaria, and the media.

For the first time, the project aims to bring together a wide range of participants (stakeholders, citizens and youth) across Europe to examine the issues surrounding the development of a new concept for sustainable use of the seas called "the Blue Society". This concept explores how humankind can coexist with, and benefit from, the oceans without harming them.

Sea For Society Project Manager, Ludovic Frère Escoffier, of the Nausicaá aquarium in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, said that the Blue Society was founded on "an unprecedented economic, technological and social approach which involves taking advantage of new resources, innovative solutions and positive experiences that the oceans offer".

The aims of the Sea For Society project will be accomplished through a series of forums held in nine European countries and will involve key stakeholders, youth and citizens. Each forum meeting will be based on a mutual learning, open-dialogue process, bringing together researchers, the general public and other actors to consider one of six allocated themes regarding what the sea provides to human beings in their daily lives: food supply, human health, a place to live, transport, energy, and leisure and tourism. The results of these consultations will be the basis of a European mobilisation towards a "Blue Society".

"As a result of this process, citizens, including young people, stakeholders, marine experts and scientists will all learn from each other and, in turn, the Sea For Society project will learn from these groups," said Dr. Christine Domegan, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at NUI Galway, who has been working on the methodology of the consultation process alongside Dublin-based project partner AquaTT.

The forums will use a facilitation process called Collective Intelligence, an idea and value structuring methodology that helps groups to deal with complex issues. To instruct project partners on how the Collective Intelligence consultations could be effectively carried out, Professor Benjamin Broome of the Arizona State University and Dr. Michael Hogan of NUI Galway conducted a two-day practical workshop as part of the Dublin meeting.

The workshop was followed by a day-long partnership meeting of all participating groups, and a half-day workshop on communications for the project.

Published in Marine Science Team

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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