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EurOCEAN 2023: A United Front for Marine and Maritime Progress

The landmark conference, which took place in Vigo, Spain, on October 10-11, brought forth a healthy mix of scientific expertise, policy initiatives, and cross-sectoral engagement culminating in the signing of the Vigo Declaration.

EurOCEAN 2023: A United Front for Marine and Maritime Progress

  • 26 October 2023

Organized by the European Marine Board in collaboration with JPI Oceans and other European networks, the conference highlighted the synergies between the EU Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030, other EU research and innovation and management initiatives, and the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. As we navigate toward the middle of this pivotal decade, the conference acted as an inflection point, signalling the transition from mobilising efforts to the demonstration of impact. 

At the heart of this discourse, JPI Oceans coordinated a session on pharmaceutical pollution in marine environments. The issue has long lurked beneath the surface of public awareness but JPI Oceans together with JPI WATER and JPI AMR are giving the topic some exposure. Under the umbrella of the AquaticPollutants Cofund JPI Oceans and its partners fund 18 projects on contaminants of emerging concern.  

Highlighting this broad portfolio of projects, the Pharmasea project presented its activities at the conference. The research project investigates the fate and biological effects of active pharmaceutical ingredients for marine ecosystems. The panel of experts discussed that these ingredients often find their way into aquatic systems through improper disposal and sewage treatment inefficiencies while traditional waste management solutions still fail to address these complex compounds adequately. Consequently the presence of pharmaceutical ingredients in marine ecosystems leads to a cascade of undesirable effects, from disrupting the hormonal systems of marine life to contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. 

Vigo Declaration

Concluding the successful conference, the Vigo Declaration "Speaking with One Voice to achieve the One Ocean we want" was signed by the Chairs of the five organisations co-organising EurOCEAN (European Marine Board, JPI Oceans, EurOcean, EurGOOS and Euromarine). The declaration calls for integrated land-sea policies and management, sustained and better coordinated ocean observation and increased citizen engagement.  

JPI Oceans extends its gratitude to all participants and the European Marine Board as linchpin in the organization for a productive and insightful discussion. 

From left to right: Henning Wehde (EuroGOOS), Niall McDonough (JPI Oceans), Gilles Lericolais (European Marine Board), Carlos García Soto (EurOcean), Patrizio Mariani (Euromarine), Sheila Heymans (European Marine Board).