SponGES had its fourth Science-Policy panel/roundtable about North Atlantic deep-sea sponge ecosystems on 7-9 May 2019, in Rome. The meeting took place in connection with the Deep-Sea Conference arranged by the ABNJ Deep-Sea project.
The meeting was organised in cooperation between the ABNJ-project and the SponGES project. A number of SponGES scientists delivered presentations integrated into the general programme. In addition, a special SponGES session took place on the second day of the conference. The meeting was attended by around 45 participants representing scientists, managers and decision makers. Major international organisations as well as Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) joined in.
The program consisted of scientific presentations as well as presentations from management organisations. This ensured a good mix of viewpoints and experiences from the management of deep-sea fisheries and the protection and conservation of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems, and in particular sponges.
Several discussion panels were included between the sessions giving the possibility for questions and discussion of governance and policy, deep-sea science and management.
At the concluding panel, the SponGES scientific manager Joana Xavier said “it seems from the presentations of the past days that solid fundamental science is still what most stakeholders need”. She also stressed that “we need to find better communication mechanisms. And we aren’t talking just about academic collaboration but true collaboration between the various sectors. This is the way how we optimise the use of available resources and achieve greater common goals and make contributions most impactful”.
This meeting on the deep sea contributed to fulfil those needs.