ECOMARE is the only Portuguese finalist project in the RegioStars Awards, which will be announced on Wednesday evening at a ceremony to be held in Brussels as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities.
Competes in the category that combines green, blue and gray. The infrastructure located in Ílhavo, Aveiro, results from a partnership between the University, the port of Aveiro, the Câmara de Ílhavo and the Lisbon Oceanarium. It combines the gray of the port with the green of the Ria de Aveiro nature reserve and the blue of the protection and sustainable use of marine resources. One of the visible and mediatic parts is the rescue and rehabilitation of marine animals.
“We do periodic collection of animals (mammals, turtles, birds) that for some reason need treatment. And ECOMARE will also function as a rapid response center in case of oil spills off the Portuguese coast. This is where all the sea animals that need to be rescued will come from, ”says Ricardo Calado, a researcher who leads the area of Biotechnology and Aquaculture at ECOMARE.
For this official, it is an almost unique infrastructure, at national and European level, and Ricardo Calado is confident that it may be a project awarded by the European Commission.
ECOMARE involved a total investment of € 5 million and received 4.1 million European funds. The national contribution was made by the University and Port of Aveiro. He is involved in several research projects, many of them also funded by organizations or Portugal 2020 funds.
For Ricardo Calado, ECOMARE helps to deconstruct the complexity of scientific research. And gives some examples: working with a company to produce salmon in Portuguese waters or developing a method to combat illegal catching of bivalves in the Tagus.
But for the researcher, ECOMARE's main mission is to help raise public awareness that marine resources are not infinite and endangered and action needs to be taken to reverse the situation.
The fact that she is among the 24 finalists of the RegioStars Awards (out of 199 nominations) is a satisfaction to the president of the Center's Coordination and Regional Development Commission. Ana Abrunhosa considers that it is also a sign of recognition by the European Commission of the value of the project and that Community funds are being well spent.
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