The Sea For Society (SFS) summer activity “Encontros Frente ao Mar” (in English, “Meetings by the Sea”) took place in three locations along the Portuguese coast from July to September, as part of the pre-mobilisation activities of the SFS project. These activities were organised by Ciência Viva, SFS Partner and Area Leader for Portugal, and were integrated in the Ciência Viva’s 2014 “Science in Summer” programme. This is a dissemination programme open to the general public, run in collaboration with institutions from different fields across the country since 1996.
The aim of the pre-mobilisation activities “Meetings by the Sea” was to disseminate the aims and objectives of the SFS project and to start mobilising Portuguese society for Ocean issues in scope of the project activities.
Six activities took place in scope of the “Meetings by the Sea”. The six activities took place in three beaches in different regions of Portugal:
- Praia da Barra, Aveiro (in the North of the country);
- Praia do Forte Novo, Quarteira, Algarve (in the south of the country); and
- Praia de São João, Costa da Caparica (in the centre of the country).
The above beaches have been strongly affected by coastal erosion related to climate change and specifically by last winter’s storms.
The activities consisted of field trips guided by experts and local authorities, in July and in September, and counted with a total of 90 participants.
Field trips at the beaches. Credit: Ciência Viva
In September the field trips were followed by debates with researchers and experts from natural and social sciences, local and national authorities, local stakeholders from the private sector, Civil Society Organisations, and Non-Governmental Organisations, local residents, fishermen, tourists, and surfers. The diversity of participants contributed to a rich and fruitful exchange of knowledge and ideas on the coastal problems and the management options and actions being implemented in each location.
Specific issues for each region were highlighted, namely:
- The important role of the Port of Aveiro and the University of Aveiro, in cooperation with the local stakeholders, in supporting the implementation of erosion and climate change adaptation measures.
- The importance of the tourism sector as economic actor in coastal protection in Algarve.
- The need to tackle the resident and seasonal population’s lack of knowledge and participation regarding the coastal dynamics’ issues, in Algarve and in Costa da Caparica.
Debates after the field trips. Credit: Ciência Viva
While disseminating the SFS project and creating awareness of coastal erosion issues, these activities strongly contributed to the mobilisation of the Portuguese society towards the Blue Society vision as actively engaged the stakeholders and the general public towards the sustainable management of marine ecosystem services.
This experience will contribute to the presently undergoing discussion and definition of the activities to implement in the Mobilisation phase of the SFS project, which will start at the national and European levels in the beginning of 2015. The “Meetings by the Sea” activities’ results will be analysed at the meeting of the SFS Consortium at the Sea Academy, next December, where the mobilisation activities will be decided.
Find more information on the SFS Portuguese summer activities included in the Ciência Viva’s “Science in Summer” programme in this news.