The Galp Foundation held the second edition of Ocean Talks, which included debates to promote discussion on the opportunities in relation to the sea and the creation of value based on the oceans, at the Museum of the Sea, in Cascais.
Joana Garoupa, the foundation´s managing director, introduced the debate, arguing that this type of activity is essential at a company “emotionally associated with the sea”, such as Galp.
On the day the town celebrated its 165th anniversary, Joana Balsemão, a municipal councillor, explained, in her presentation, the connection of a parish with 24 km of coastline with the sea. Emphasising the town council´s concern with the environment, she spoke, for example, about surveying the five main ecosystems present in the coastal region. The aim is to “ascertain where the threats and main pressure points are, in order to find out if we need to create more protected areas”, she said.
Nuno Lourenço, manager of Business Development at CEiiA, underlined the importance of technology in the economic exploration of the opportunities provided by the oceans, in addition to its role in studying the impact of economic activity on the oceans as a means of finding solutions. “For this to happen, the use and interaction of smart vehicles to report and exchange information will be necessary”, explained Nuno Lourenço. The system would also need to include interfaces to enable the most relevant information to be worked on and to be used by companies, states and their organisations.
The knowledge acquired would then be disclosed to the general public, thereby helping to bring human societies closer to the issue of the oceans, and, above all, to understand the impact of their activity on the open sea.
Some of the negative impacts were presented by Rui Rosa, a professor at the University of Lisbon School of Science. He illustrated, for example, that there were over a million marine species threatened with extinction in April this year, particularly large fish. Excessive fishing is one of the reasons. The other is the destruction of the habitats due to pollution – with plastic, for example – and to climate change.
On the one hand, the excess of CO2 in the atmosphere is being largely absorbed by the oceans, which has resulted in an increase in acidity levels. On the other, the volume of areas with no available oxygen is growing. This is changing the behaviour of marine species such as sharks, whose activity has increased in certain areas, principally on the surface, to the detriment of others.
IF YOU LOVE SOMETHING, YOU TAKE CARE OF IT
Solutions need to be found, and Patrícia Furtado de Mendonça, founder of the Acqua Mater project, explained that there is already plenty of information on what not to do, and that the time has come to take a positive approach, “finding ways of encouraging people to love the oceans, because if you love something, you take care of it”. These initiatives must be geared to the younger members of society, “as the future of our planet depends on them as well”, she argued.