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The decarbonisation agenda, the restoration of ecosystems, such as the marine prairies, or the plans underway on protected marine areas will continue, despite the crisis caused by the covid-19, guarantees the Minister of the Sea.
In an interview with Lusa about World Oceans Day, which will be celebrated on Monday, Ricardo Serrão Santos, explained that despite the economic setback caused by the pandemic of the new coronavirus, which causes the covid-19 disease, the “bet on the economy blue has to stay. ”
Still this year, he said to Lusa, the marine protected areas must double, because the process is practically ready. Currently, marine protected areas represent between 05 and 07% of the Portuguese sea.
"We are preparing to reach 14%, associating management plans to them", said the minister, stressing the importance of associating economic sectors to the process, foreseeing "many benefits for the economy" even though the results (of creation of the areas) are not immediately visible.
For now, the minister points out that the gap in economies due to the covi-19 also brought “some benefits” to the oceans, and says that it was important to monitor how ecosystems responded to this slowdown.
Admitting that on the issue of sustainability terrestrial ecosystems have had more visibility, even as a result of the Paris Agreement on climate, Ricardo Serrão Santos points out that World Oceans Day has the role of increasing literacy and highlighting the importance of the ocean, which is the main climate regulator.
“The ocean we have is not the same as we had before industrialization”, because of the effects of this industrialization “started to heat up, to lose oxygen, with relevant impacts on the life of the oceans themselves, and to acidify, with effects on corals, in fish and molluscs ”, recalled the official.
And then there is the issue of plastics, he added, the 70 kilograms of plastic per square kilometer, which will make plastic the first technofossil on the planet.
Asked how the postponement of the UN summit scheduled for this time in Lisbon could have been detrimental to better protection of the oceans, the minister preferred to emphasize the positive side of, in 30 years of agendas for sustainable development, a goal first appearing dedicated to the oceans.
“We continue to discuss all issues and look forward to having the conference next year. But many seminars related to this subject are taking place ”, he said.
At the same time, the decade of ocean science for sustainable development is in progress, which should be approved in December to run from 2021 to 2030, he recalled.
And for 2030 Portugal is also committed to the global commitment to reach 30% of marine protected areas. Asked if Portugal will reach this value at the end of the decade Ricardo Serrão Santos said that the 30% is a “joint effort” but assured that there will be more marine protected areas at that time.
For World Oceans Day, the governor leaves a request, that the world change and innovate in the way it uses the ocean, so that it does not have to spend a lot of money to recover in the future and rather act now in a sustainable way, so that there are no costs in the future but benefits.
“We are managing to correct many things. Even in terms of fishing, we managed to recover fish stocks, to recover cetaceans. There are positive things that show that if we follow the right path, we will restore ecosystems, ”he said.
World Oceans Day is marked every year on 8 June by UN proclamation and is intended to remember the importance of the oceans in people's lives. The date was chosen to mark a UN environment conference that took place in 1992 in Brazil, known as the “Rio Conference”.
This year's theme for the day is “innovation for a sustainable ocean”.