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Ponta Delgada ,  January 19, 2011

José Contente

Safeguard of marine resources and transfer of knowledge are challenges that the Azores must face with strength

The safeguard of marine resources in the Azores and the transfer of knowledge that may lead to their use in business context are “two challenges and opportunities that we must seize with all our energy.” 
The statement was made by the Regional Secretary for Science, Technology and Infrastructures during the opening ceremony of the scientific forum to support the decision-making process, “Knowing the Azores Sea,” which he presided over on Wednesday morning. 

According to José Contente, the knowledge economy on the Sea should include references of the past and future of the Azores, the definition of areas with exploration potential in the areas of energy and biotechnology, the support to the creation of industrial marine biotechnology clusters, the research on fossil energy resources, the exploitation of renewable energy sources and the qualification of human resources in the area of prospecting and resource extraction.

For the Regional Secretary, it is also time “to maximise the benefits of the installed capacity on Santa Maria in spatial terms, which should be further enhanced.”
As he explained, EDISOFT invested in 2009 in the expansion of the capacity of that station in order to receive images from Earth Observation SAR, from the European satellite Envisat and the Canadian satellite Radaesat-1, allowing the Station to combine the launcher tracking mission with Earth Observation. 
This new capacity allows EDISOFT “to complement its offer in the field of Remote Sensing with application in different fields, including the Monitoring of Oceans with the possibility of generating alert mechanisms in Near Real Time,” stated José Contente.

The Regional Secretary for Science, Technology and Infrastructures also reminded that the Santa Maria Station “monitors, night and day, the trajectories of various remote observation satellites, collecting useful data for ship detection, monitoring oils spills and other operational services.”
According to José Contente, the maritime monitoring and surveillance services provided by the Santa Maria Earth Observation Station have already supported the CleanSeaNet project, managed by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the MARISS project (Maritime Safety Service), which grants Portugal, through the Azores, “a central role in the Atlantic.”

Furthermore, the Regional Secretary also defended the need of the Azores be attentive to the European space project GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) in coming years.
Taking into account that under the GMES project, the Sentinel satellites will be available soon, of which is entirely devoted to the Sea observation, José Contente revealed that the Government considers that the Santa Maria station should turn into a GMES station to receive data directly from these satellites (particularly from the one addressed at maritime observation).

“The Azores are in a geographical position that allows a faster access to data from the satellites that cover the area between Europe and the United States,” the Regional Secretary stated, adding that, according to technicians, such situation “would allow access to information about half an hour before satellites pass over the stations located near the North Pole.”

In addition, stated the Regional Secretary, “direct access to satellite data will create new opportunities for qualified employment in the Azores, particularly in the field of processing data from the GMES satellites (Sentinel), which may be done by local companies in partnership with the University of the Azores (Department of Oceanography and Fisheries) and the ESA Station on Santa Maria.”
José Contente also mentioned that the Government, under the 2020 Strategy, intends “to highlight the essential role of knowledge and innovation to promote our development, so that “we may increasingly mobilise research and innovation to produce more knowledge and specialise the Region according to its strengths,” as the “Sea is surely one of them.”

In a joint organisation if the Regional Directorates for Science, Technology and Communication and for Sea Affairs, the scientific forum to support the decision-making process “Knowing the Azores Sea”, which counts on the participation of three dozens of researchers, takes place in Horta on Wednesday and Thursday.
Issues such as Management of Maritime Space, Marine Geology and Topography, Biodiversity and Habitat, Adverse Factors in Marine Environments, Promotion and Awareness, Underwater Archaelogy, Physics and Chemistry applied to the sea and Maritime Economy are some of the themes under discussion at this meeting.


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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