Summary Report from International Symposium

Summary Report
Of the International Symposium on 80th Anniversary of the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries: Towards the Excellence in Oceanography and Fisheries
Split, Croatia, 21-22 October 2010

Acknowledging the longevity of quality oceanography and fisheries research carried out for 80 years in the oldest Croatian marine public research institution, Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (IOF), Split, Croatia, and respecting the present national reform in science sector and evaluation of public research institutes, organisation of an interdisciplinary meeting covering present situation and perspectives and promoting all IOF research activities has been put as a demand. For that purposes the International Symposium on 80th Anniversary of the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries: Towards the Excellence in Oceanography and Fisheries was organised and held in Split, Croatia, on 21 and 22 October 2010. High-level international experts, the directors of marine research institutions, representatives of international programmes, national decisionmakers and managers, and many senior and young researchers have been participated on the Symposium.

The Symposium included invited lectures given by high-level international experts and research coordinators on major oceanography and fisheries activities, programmes and perspectives in the Adriatic and Mediteranean Sea and in general. Then the IOF targeted presentations on its research activities have been supplemented and presented by the IOF experts, concluding the Symposium by round table on different aspects of oceanography and fisheries research – being useful both for directing national marine research activities but also for international community, networking, cross-border and international collaboration activities necessary to be performed on common topics of interest.

Different topics on the round table have been organised to emphasize the importance of integrated approach in marine research activities, held through collaborative and interdisciplinary studies over a basin of interest, Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas, and being recognized by national decisionmaking and governing bodies.

A need for national operational oceanography centres has been accentuated in the Symposium, as the rapid environmental assessment and protection of lives and infrastructure is much more efficient when knowing the present situation and ocean forecast in an accident situation. IOF capacities are covering all of aspects necessary to become an important contributor to the future centre activities, operability and maintenance, as proved through its inclusion and membership in Mediterranean Operational Oceanography (MOON) network.

Trans-boundary and regional assessment and protection activities in managing the living resources in a basin, Adriatic, Mediterranean or in general, should be based on ecosystem-based research philosophy, by including a variety of experts in different science research fields, from natural sciences, through social aspects of sea exploration, up to legislative actions and relevance.

Sustainable management in exploration of living resources, including fisheries, has been strongly accentuated as driving a significant part of national economies, and impacting the quality and a way of life in marine countries. The science and research activities should be the basis for the management, including the strategic planning and projections over a region of interest, such as Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas. Aquaculture, as a growing part of marine country economies, particularly of Croatia, should be self- sustainable, realised through minimizing negative impacts on the marine and coastal environment. International and national environmental monitoring programmes should be an unavoidable activity in any long-term assessment and projection climate and ecosystem functioning analyses, as they cannot be obtained without “real” oceanographic, environmental and fisheries data.

Another important issue rising from the Symposium is efficient managing and exploitation of the data, as their inadequate utilization is decreasing the quality of science and management in marine sciences and activities, and producing a waste of money which is investigated in cost-demanding field activities. For that purpose it is important to properly manage and exploit environmental data on the international and national level, for which IOF is already recognized as an important partner on managing environmental data following the international standard.

Finally, human capacities are the most important “resource” of any research centre and activity, and their competences and skills are an important to boost overall capacities in marine research activities. International mobility of researchers, especially training and knowledge gaining of young people entering the world of science, is a prerequisite for long-term sustainability of a research centre, and for setting the research quality level to the international standard. Following that, the Symposium welcomes the mobility measures which have been introduced to the current science reform in Croatia. IOF, as a potential national research centre in marine sciences, is already participating in large number of international activities, which are going to be reinforced in due time according to the Strategy 2011-2020. The Strategy will turn IOF into desirable and unavoidable partner and research centre in any marine research activities in Croatia and Mediterranean, from oceanography through fisheries up to biomedicine and engineering research fields, following long research tradition and quality preserved continuously over 80 years of existence.

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