Experts look to a positive future for oceans as major marine conference closes

The World Marine Biodiversity Conference 2011 closed on Friday 30 September in a mood of optimism in tackling the challenges scientists are now identifying in the sustainability of our ocean ecosystems.

After a week of over a thousand presentations from 930 delegates from 76 countries, provocative keynote addresses from leading experts, and vigorous debate, the final session on Friday concentrated on the way forward, including building on examples of successful marine conservation across the globe.

It was also announced that the next world conference in marine biodiversity will take place in 2014 in Quingdao, China, hosted by the Institute of Oceanology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Quingdao is the most important centre for marine science research in China.

Anne-Helene Prieur-Richard, Deputy Director of the international DIVERSITAS programme stressed to delegates the importance of the new tool now being developed to harness and channel scientific information and messages to governmental policymakers. The new Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) will fill a previous gap in being the interface that should strengthen the influence of science on policy making.

Dr Martin Solan, from the University of Aberdeen’s Oceanlab, who co-organised the conference said: “This has been a brilliant week in bringing so much expertise to Scotland from across the world. While there have been many differing viewpoints put forward, the common themes which have emerged are the need to all pull together, for different disciplines and specialisms to work together, and for us to make sure that the knowledge we are now able to gather about our marine environment is able to influence the decisions of those creating policies which will impact on it.”

Professor David M Paterson, from the University of St Andrews, who also organised the event, added: “We have heard many examples this week of great research, well presented argument, and many coherent strategies for the future. We feel very positive that we are in an excellent position to build on the examples we have heard about this week, and move forward together for the sake of our seas and those who will inherit them. We are looking forward to meeting again in China in three years time and discussing progress.”

The World Conference on Marine Biodiversitywas brought to Scotland by the Universities of Aberdeen and St Andrews, and took place at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre between September 26 and 30.

The event was supported by ACSEF (Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future), and by Energetica, the public-private project to create an ‘energy corridor’ between Aberdeen and Peterhead. Shell sponsored the conference exhibition.ENDS

For full details visit the conference website