This morning, Tuesday 8 June 2021, coinciding with the celebration of World Oceans Day, scientists and institutions have called for the protection of the oceans and the sustainable use of resources from the large Poema del Mar aquarium in Gran Canaria. The event, organised by Loro Parque Fundación and the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN), was attended by the two Canarian universities and the deputy minister for the Fight against Climate Change of the Government of the Canary Islands.
This event takes place within the framework of the United Nations Decade for the Oceans, and seeks to promote a movement of institutions and citizens for ocean protection as well as to inform about the impact of human beings on the environment, and to mobilise and unite the world's population in a project for the sustainable management of the oceans.
Dr. Javier Almunia, director of the Loro Parque Fundación, welcomed the audience, highlighting the need to protect marine resources and the commitment that his Foundation has maintained with the oceans for more than two decades. "We took over from Loro Parque", he explained, which pioneered research work in this field in the 1980s "to try to create a cetacean sanctuary in Macaronesia at a time when whales were still being hunted in the area". "Today, we have other problems such as plastic pollution, overfishing, noise pollution... and there is still a need for protection for marine mammals backed by international organisations," he said.
For his part, Joaquín Hernández, director of PLOCAN, explained that the marine environment is a vital support for human beings and wanted to draw attention to the state it is in today: "natural balances are threatened, the health of the oceans is getting worse, and we have to reverse processes such as pollution, climate change and overexploitation of resources," he said. To achieve this, he said, the Canary Islands must promote observation and research, something that PLOCAN works on every day, to better understand the environment, observe its changes and mitigate the effects of the factors that threaten its balance.
Both Luis Serra, rector of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and Ernesto Pereda, vice-rector of Research at the University of La Laguna, emphasised the strong link that both Canarian educational institutions have with the sea and the importance of continuing research through projects such as CanBIO, co-financed by Loro Parque and the Government of the Canary Islands, to understand the effects of climate change and to be able to propose measures for its protection and recovery. Pereda, who could not be present at the event and joined via telephone, wanted to highlight the incomparable setting in which the event was being held, the impressive Deep Sea of Poema del Mar.
Finally, Miguel Ángel Pérez, Deputy Minister for the Fight against Climate Change of the Government of the Canary Islands, wanted to highlight the great biological wealth of the waters of the archipelago, a biodiversity that must be protected, he said. "We must move from a model of extraction to a model of sustainability in resources, and it is in the hands of places like Poema del Mar to make us aware that the future of our generations depends on what we do today," he concluded.
All the participants wanted to congratulate Loro Parque Fundación and PLOCAN for the initiative, which has served to strengthen the ties and synergies between the different parties working and developing R+D+I for the preservation, conservation, recovery and sustainable use of the oceans.