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Blue economy

Marine Institute hosts symposium on ocean science and sustainability

By Moira Baird

The Marine Institute will host a virtual symposium Nov. 23-25 as part of Research Week.

The symposium will facilitate discussions about recent innovations, trends and solutions to aid in developing a sustainable blue economy for Canada.

More than 40 presenters from 25 international organizations are taking part in the three-day symposium, titled Propelling the Blue Economy: Connecting Our Oceans, Our People, Our Future.

The blue economy refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth.

It includes traditional ocean industries, such as fisheries, tourism and maritime transport, as well as emerging activities like offshore renewable energy, aquaculture, carbon sequestration and marine biotechnology.

An image of a wave with the Blue Economy symposium registration information.

Ocean Decade

The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science aims to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and build a common framework to ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the ocean.

“Economic development has been a central tenant of the Fisheries and Marine Institute’s mission since its inception in 1963,” said Dr. Rob Shea, vice-president, Memorial University (Marine Institute) pro tempore.

“As we navigate the opportunities for oceans education, training and research made possible by the UN Ocean Decade, we will continue to work with our industry, community and education partners to propel our collective success.”

Diverse perspectives

The symposium is designed to bring together scientists, researchers, government representatives, industry stakeholders, non-governmental organizations and Indigenous and coastal communities to exchange experiences and ideas on all aspects of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-30).

Many of the sessions will include students who are participating in global projects through MI International and are enrolled in the institute’s three schools: – Fisheries, Ocean Technology and Maritime Studies.

Among the symposium themes are fisheries; ocean technology; marine spatial planning; internationalization; autonomous shipping; and remote operations.

Collaborative research

“Supporting Memorial University’s research activity in the ocean and strengthening our relationships with key stakeholders is so important to collaboratively achieving the goals of the UN Ocean Decade,” said Paul Brett, associate vice-president of research and strategic partnerships, Marine Institute, and co-chair of the symposium.

Paul Brett wears a blue suit and smiles in front of a brick wall.
Paul Brett
Photo: Angie Bishop

“I believe the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University will play a significant role over the next decade and beyond in developing innovative solutions to sustainably manage our oceans.”

Next week’s symposium has been endorsed as an Ocean Decade activity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which was established to contribute to global peace through international collaboration in education, the sciences and culture.

Keynote speakers

President Vianne Timmons and Dr. Shea will open the symposium on Tuesday, Nov. 23.

The keynote speakers follow below.

Tuesday, Nov. 23

Alison Clausen, program specialist, UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, which is responsible for supporting global ocean science and services. She has more than 20 years’ experience in project development and management in marine conservation, marine policy and climate-change adaptation.

Saqamaw Misel Joe wears a black suit and stands at a podium.
Saqamaw Misel Joe
Photo: Submitted

Wednesday, Nov. 24

Saqamaw Misel Joe, traditional chief and spiritual leader, Miawpukek First Nation in Conne River. He has led his people for more than three decades on a path of reconciliation and economic empowerment through recent partnerships in fisheries and energy projects.

Thursday, Nov. 25

Andrew Furey, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. Sworn in as premier in August 2020, he is an orthopedic trauma surgeon, educator with Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine and founder of Team Broken Earth, which has provided medical relief in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake.

To register for the virtual symposium and to see the full schedule of events and speakers, please visit online.

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