BlueRemediomics Partners from UNIABDN and CNRS Joined “The Ocean is coming to Luxembourg” Event

IMS Luxembourg
With the initiative “The Ocean is coming to Luxembourg“, IMS Luxembourg and the 1OCEAN Foundation, supported by the European Investment Bank, aimed to raise awareness among landlocked countries of their impact on and dependence on the oceans. As part of the event, which took place from the 5th to the 7th of June, BlueRemediomics Co-Coordinator Prof. Chris Bowler (CNRS) and director of the Marine Biodiscovery Centre at the University of Aberdeen Prof. Marcel Jaspars, participated in a panel discussion on the topic “Towards a Sustainable Blue Economy”. 
The “Blue Economy” session delved into the need for investments in sustainable projects aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to promote a responsible blue economy. It also presented solutions for a sustainable blue economy, such as blue pharma, responsible blue tourism, decarbonisation of maritime transport, and investments in marine renewable energies.

The ocean, our silent ally

Oceans are a vital source of food and resources, but their sustainability and management are major issues. With the backdrop of the BlueRemediomics project,  Marcel Jaspars and Chris Bowler highlighted the importance of a healthy ocean to biodiversity and climate along with some of the “unseen” impacts of the ocean, such as oxygen generation, temperature stabilisation and stabilisation of weather patterns.

Threats and the need for protection

This led to an animated discussion around the threats to the ocean and why there is such an urgent need for its protection. Various issues were brought to the table including climate change, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss and pollution. It was argued that combating these issues effectively and protecting the ocean against these threats would not only lead to a healthier planet in general but would also enable us to mitigate the impact of climate change and lead to more international and intergenerational equity in the future. 

Conservation, management & sustainable use of resources

The panel ended by discussing the questions: What do we need to know to conserve and manage the ocean in the long term? How can we use ocean bioresources sustainably? Nature-based solutions, meaning sustainably managing and using natural processes (e.g. marshes, river currents, etc.) to tackle socio-environmental issues, were mentioned as an important consideration when it comes to conservation. The sharing of benefits was mentioned as being very important when it comes to using ocean bioresources sustainably. With this in mind the new UN Ocean Treaty on areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), which was agreed upon in 2023 and is now being ratified, will play a large role in protecting marine biodiversity and ensuring the sustainable use, sharing of benefits and capacity building. Marine Protected Areas were mentioned as playing a key role in ensuring the conservation yet also the sustainable use of the ocean.

BlueRemediomics relevance

The BlueRemediomics project aims to improve the understanding of the relationship between the marine microbiome and ocean health and address key ecosystem services enabled by marine microbes (carbon sequestration and aquaculture). By establishing a Microbiome Health Index (MHI) for monitoring marine environments, the BlueRemediomics project intends to integrate our knowledge of the marine microbiome into ocean health assessments including the assessment of coastal anthropogenic impacts (e.g. urbanisation, aquaculture industry). At the same time, the project aims to develop novel tools and approaches to harness the marine microbiome for the development of sustainable products and processes.