The Atlantic Ocean is an invaluable shared resource, with vast societal value for all countries located at its shores. Yet there are still much we need to know and understand to ensure the sustainable management of the Atlantic Ocean as a whole.
Equally considering the Atlantic Ocean as a shared responsibility, our joint vision is to bring together and systematically connect all relevant actors across the Atlantic Ocean to identify concrete research and innovation activities with a long-lasting potential and impact across a range of six key areas.
It is long known that the ocean’s physical and biological processes influence Earth’s weather and climate. But changes are occurring: ocean acidification, sea level rise, flooding and extreme weather, climate change; which are impacting countries and communities, as well as ocean’s processes and ecosystems themselves. There is a need to work together to better understand and predict climate variability to ensure humankind’s well-being and build a sustainable blue economy.
Human population is growing, and so is the need for food supply. Although the oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, only 3% of our food comes from the ocean. At the same time, we know that wild fish stocks are declining and ocean degradation is occurring. New food production strategies based on scientific knowledge are needed to ensure a responsible and sustainable fisheries management, aquaculture development, food security and biodiversity.
Earth is really an ocean planet, as the world’s ocean covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. Yet a whopping 95% of the ocean is unexplored! Even with all the existing technologies – satellites, buoys, underwater vehicles, vessels – the current ocean observation, forecasting and monitoring systems are fragmented and their sustainability is a concern for most. There is a recognised need for sustained long-term observations.
The marine environment is harsh for man-made materials – ocean waves, tidal currents, salinity, temperature gradients, extreme environments, among others. To best manage the ocean, new marine technologies and new applications are needed not only for data collection, monitoring as well as to sustainably explore the ocean’s resources, including renewable energies.
Earth is really an ocean planet! Not only the ocean covers the majority of Earth surface, as it his home to the most life forms. However human activity is its greatest threat. All we do on land has a profound effect on the ocean from chemical and other environmental pollutants to debris. Plastics, for example, one of the greatest challenges at this time. It is crucial to better understand the impact of emerging pollutants to promote a healthy and sustainable ocean.
Research in the polar regions is relevant and important for all of us and our everyday life, because of its profound effect on the Earth’s climate and ocean systems. Polar science has therefore the potential to support the sustainable use of resources, the protection of the planet and benefit humanity. “What happens at the poles does not stay at the poles”.