The future of the oceans to be decided in Barcelona

·       Over 600 scientists will gather in the Catalan capital for the 2nd International Ocean Research Conference, taking place nine years after the first meeting. One of the conference objectives is to put the oceans on the international political agenda, so far focussed on terrestrial carbon dioxide emissions, with sights set on the Paris 2015 climate change summit. Taking part are Jane Lubchenco, a former member of President Obama's “scientific dream team” and Daniel Pauly, a critic of modern fishing practices, among other leading figures in the field.UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the Oceanography Society are organising the conference alongside the FNOB, who are working to maximise the potential of the Barcelona World Race as a platform for raising awareness of ocean environmental preservation issues

Over 600 scientists will gather in the Catalan capital for the 2nd International Ocean Research Conference, taking place nine years after the first meeting. One of the conference objectives is to put the oceans on the international political agenda, so far focussed on terrestrial carbon dioxide emissions, with sights set on the Paris 2015 climate change summit. Taking part are Jane Lubchenco, a former member of President Obama's “scientific dream team” and Daniel Pauly, a critic of modern fishing practices, among other leading figures in the field.UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the Oceanography Society are organising the conference alongside the FNOB, who are working to maximise the potential of the Barcelona World Race as a platform for raising awareness of ocean environmental preservation issues

The 2nd International Ocean Research Conference will be taking place from Sunday 16th to Friday 21st of November and was presented at midday today at the Barcelona World Race Interpretation Centre, with 620 scientists from over 75 countries taking part, gathering to map out the route for the world's oceans for the coming decade and to put ocean matters firmly on  international political agendas, so far focussed on terrestrial carbon dioxide emissions, in the run-up to the Paris 2015 summit on climate change.

The conference, being held at the Barcelona International Convention Centre (CCIB), is being co-organised by organised by the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO IOC), the Fundació Navegació Oceànica de Barcelona (FNOB) and The Oceanography Society and is being held nine years after the first edition. During the past decade, knowledge of the marine environment has developed at unprecedented rate and the meeting in Barcelona will feature a significant number of new issues on the agenda, such as rising sea levels, acidification, climbing sea temperatures, the state of coral reefs and the impact of overfishing.

The conference programme features participation from esteemed specialists such as Jane Lubchenco, from Oregon State University (USA), who was a member of President Obama's 'scientific dream team' and is the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA) at the United States Department of Commerce; Daniel Pauly, a marine biologist from the University of British Columbia (Canada) with a PhD in Fishing Biology and Biological Oceanography and a critic of modern fishing practices; and Shin-ichi Uye, from the University of Hiroshima (Japan), one of the world's leading researchers into the giant jellyfish.  

During the informative introductory session today, the director of Ocean Sciences at the UNESCO-IOC and the the scientific conference coordinator Luis Valdés highlighted that “the participation of the Swedish ambassador for the oceans Lisa Emelia Svensson, who will be in charge of transferring the concerns of scientists to the decision-makers, a task also to be carried out at UNESCO”.

The FNOB CEO, Andor Serra, explained that the organisation of the 2nd International Ocean Research Conference in Barcelona by the FNOB is part of the Barcelona World Race's scientific framework and commitment to protecting the environment. In fact, the boats taking part in the round the world regatta are collaborating on various scientific projects coordinated by the UNESCO-IOC whose slogan is “One Planet, One Ocean”. That slogan also lends its name to one of the crews, with Aleix Gelabert and Dídac Costa, which will act as a platform for environmental awareness and research.

The conference will take place in the CCIB from the 17th to the 21st of November, but will kick off on Sunday 16th with a keynote address by US oceanographer Mike Roman, President of the Scientific Committee for the 2nd International Ocean Research Conference. This opening address will be held at the Salón de Cientos at Barcelona Town Hall with the Deputy Mayor for Quality of Life, Equality and Sport and FNOB President Maite Fandos giving an official welcome to the scientists taking part.

The conference programme includes a series of activities open to the general public. There will be three research boats moored at the city's Moll de la Fusta area of the port: the Ramón Margalef and the Francisco P. Navarro from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography and the SOCIB catamaran, from the Balearic Islands Coastal Observation System. Visitors will also have the chance to visit two of the IMOCA 60s, the yachts used for the Barcelona World Race; the FNOB's training yacht and One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton. The latter will bear the name of the conference slogan and the yacht's skippers, Aleix Gelabert and Dídac Costa will take part in a number of ocean research projects by collecting valuable data during the regatta, which starts  at Barcelona on the 31st of December.

The Museu Marítim de Barcelona (Maritime Museum) will also host the first edition of the Barcelona Underwater Festival, including various activities related to the subaquatic world, such as the biggest ever exhibition of underwater cameras, entitled: “The challenge of photographing underwater” and an exhibition of underwater photographs “The iconographic Montphoto archives” as well as film and video screenings from the Marseille Underwater Film Festival.

At the Blau Museum also, there will be a round table headed up by ocean sailor Cali Sanmartí and researcher Josep Maria Gili.