The Conservation Pillar aims at developing Programs to protect, value and promote the blue natural capital, supporting functional and ecologically coherent marine protected areas and other sustainable uses of the ocean. Given the current status of the oceans, where degradation levels are beyond the ocean’s regeneration capacity and impacts of human activities are global and of high magnitude, there is an urgency in reverting this situation.
The Foundation Action Plan for 2017 proposes to start addressing this issue combining the following approaches:
1. Help saving the remaining wild places in the ocean by supporting science-based processes in establishing efficient Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and recovering degraded ecosystems;
2. Changing the way the ocean is explored, bringing sustainability, namely, to coastal fisheries and valuing the marine blue natural capital;
This choice intends to bring focus to the Foundation’s approach under the Conservation Pillar. Topics such as, for example, ocean pollution, IUU fishing, large-scale industrial fishing, invasive species and shipping, are not proposed as a priority for the first years of the Foundation’s Action Plan.
The main projects developed thus far and proposed in this Action Plan aim at contributing to the implementation of MPAs at the national and international levels, through establishing partnerships, supporting scientific processes and implementing sustainable development options for coastal fisheries. Establishing new MPAs, increasing the efficiency of the existing ones and reducing the number of “paper MPAs” are long-term goals. Simultaneously, setting a “proof-of-concept” sustainability Program for coastal fisheries in Portugal will bring leverage for the Foundation ambitious goal of help establishing a network of effective sustainable fishing solutions in Portugal and elsewhere.
Supporting an integrated conservation project in the Azores using scientific expeditions and a network of international partners, is also an objective to advance in-situ conservation of endangered species and habitats and sustain science-based information supporting the designation of new MPAs. This approach is then scalable to other regions worldwide.
Improve ocean governance in general and foster a sound ocean stewardship through better regulation.