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Lisbon ,  October 08, 2018

Future of marine research in the Azores is Regional Government's concern, says Gui Menezes

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology stressed in Lisbon that "one of the major concerns of the Regional Government is the situation of researchers in the fields of marine sciences linked to the IMAR and the University of the Azores."
According to Gui Menezes, "there is a lot of uncertainty about the future of the critical mass based on Faial, which has provided great contributions to the national scientific production on the sea." As he emphasised, "it is urgent to find solutions for these human resources and, in this regard, the Government of the Azores is available to contribute to a solution. "
In this context, he defended that, "under the AIR Center and the Atlantic Observatory, priority status should be awarded to safeguarding the marine research produced in the Azores."
The Regional Secretary spoke on the sidelines of a meeting of the Interministerial Commission for Maritime Affairs (CIAM), where he addressed various issues related to the Economy of the Sea.
Gui Menezes highlighted the "potential" of the Region as a "testbed" in offshore aquaculture technologies, mentioning "the contribution that the Atlantic Observatory may provide in this area, which may become a space for collaboration of multidisciplinary research teams."
"The islands are privileged places to test new offshore aquaculture technologies," the government official said, adding that the Region "is already starting to take the first steps towards this, through private initiatives with public support, although there is still a long way to go."
The Secretary for the Sea assessed the situation of the Azores Maritime School, which he considered to be "a project of paramount importance for the promotion of the Blue Economy in the Region and in the country."
"The infrastructure is in the phase of completion and the Government will launch this year the tender for the acquisition of equipment with a base price of about 1.3 million Euros," said the government official.
"We want this school, which represents an investment over four million Euros, to be a national reference in the training and qualification of maritime professionals," added the government official.
During the meeting, the Regional Secretary also highlighted the investments made by the Azorean Government in ports and coastal protection works.
"The Region has invested in port infrastructures on all islands, namely in commercial ports but also in tourist, recreational and fishing port, which represent an investment of 145 million Euros in this legislative period."
Regarding coastal protection, Gui Menezes stated that, given the geographic and geological specificities of the Azores, "the islands are quite vulnerable to the action of natural erosive agents, which have required significant investments in the stabilisation, enhancement and redevelopment of coastal spaces; the investment exceeds 20 million Euros."
The Regional Secretary also defended the existence of a specific allocation to the regions of the Azores and Madeira under the financial mechanisms of the European Economic Area and Norway (EEA Grants)."
Gui Menezes stressed that the planning of the Azores maritime space is being developed through MarSP - Macaronesian Maritime Spatial Planning, a project funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (FEAMP).
As part of this project, "the Government will present the proposal for a regional maritime management plan by the end of 2019, which will then follow its normal procedures, including a period of public consultation."
The Interministerial Commission for Maritime Affairs is an entity focused on reflection and strategic decision-making with the mission of ensuring the implementation and updating of the National Strategy for the Sea.
This commission includes several ministers of the National Government as well as members of the Regional Governments of the Azores and Madeira responsible for the area of maritime affairs.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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