Oceans for Tomorrow - Commission Info Day for Potential Research Projects on Oceans and Seas, Brussels
The "Ocean of Tomorrow" call for proposals that will be presented
in detail this morning seeks to generate the knowledge that will help us to
innovate so that we can strike the balance making the most of the seas' and
oceans' potential, while preserving the marine environment that is the source
of this wealth.
Brussels, 9 September 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me first thank you all for coming here today. I am pleased to see such strong interest in the "Ocean of Tomorrow” call for proposals. It is a pleasure to open this information day in front of such a distinguished assembly of marine scientists and maritime industries stakeholders.
The oceans of today provide an enormous contribution to our wealth and well-being. They are a critical source of food and energy, as well as a vital medium for the global transportation of goods. However, the seas and oceans can pay a heavy price for human activities, as we saw with the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico this year.
The Oceans of Tomorrow will be subject to even more human exploration and exploitation. As coastlines around Europe and around the world get more and more crowded and urbanised, we are already moving certain coastal activities offshore. Production of fossil and renewable energies is already moving to deeper areas; aquaculture is in critical need of space for growth, even our ports are finding it increasingly difficult to expand in response to the demands of international trade.
The increasing scarcity of mineral and biological resources provides another drive towards the exploration of the deep sea. Its rich biodiversity and mineral resources constitute an untapped potential and it is only normal that we seek to discover, understand and harness it. But this must not be done at the expense of the marine environment.