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Lisbon ,  September 08, 2017

Regional Government signs joint declaration for preservation of oceans, says Gui Menezes

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology highlighted in Lisbon the "contribution" of the Azores to "the sustainable future of the oceans," ensuring that the sustainability of the extraction of resources, mitigation of marine litter, control of illegal fishing and the increase of knowledge on the oceans are "a priority" of the Azorean Government.
Accordingly, Gui Menezes stated that the Regional Government defends "the principles and goals" of the joint declaration signed today by Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries as well as by Mediterranean and North Atlantic countries for the preservation of oceans." The government official pointed out that "the Region, within its reach, will contribute to their accomplishment."
The Regional Secretary spoke at the ministerial meeting held under the Oceans Meeting 2017; it was attended by delegations from more than fifty countries and eight international organisations. The meeting aimed to discuss common international policies for Oceans.
The joint declaration signed during this event consists of a "global commitment" for programmes of applied research, marine litter mitigation and fisheries sustainability, among others.
"Because we are islands, we are aware of our environmental vulnerability and the limited abundance of our resources," said the Regional Secretary. In this regard, he defended that "we have the responsibility, as rulers, to pursue policies consistent with the principles embodied in this declaration."
"We combat overfishing, marine pollution, climate change and the destruction of habitats," said the government official. He pointed out several measures taken by the Government of the Azores, namely the creation of protected marine areas and the development of regional policies aimed at the reduction of marine litter at sea, through initiatives and projects included in the Action Plan for Marine Litter (PALMA).
In this context, it is also important to mention the European project known as INDICIT, of which the Region is a partner. It aims to define and implement indicators related to the impact of marine litter on sea turtles and other living beings.
According to Gui Menezes, the Azores 2020 Operational Programme includes the financing of projects applied to environmental sustainability in the marine space. The regional administration and regional scientific teams are involved in large transatlantic projects, such as ATLAS and ATLANTOS; both focus on the mapping of ocean resources and the observation of the Atlantic.
In his speech, the Regional Secretary for the Sea also stressed that the subarea of the archipelago in the National Exclusive Economic Zone has an extension of about 1 million km2, being "one of the largest areas of Europe."
"The Azores are one of the most unique places on the planet due to the archipelago's location in an area where the three tectonic plates meet in the middle of the Atlantic as well as due to the density of their marine ecosystems," assured the government official. In this regard, he pointed out the existence of hydrothermal vents, seamounts, abyssal plains, coastal areas, deep-water coral reefs and the open sea.
"With all this diversity and with an average depth of 3 thousand metres, the Azores still have a great potential for discovery that can be used for the benefit of humanity," said Gui Menezes.


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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