Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): Provide guidelines to balance development on the coastline

Representatives of the academic world, government and the Armed Forces, were present at the seminar organized by the Catholic University of Maule in conjunction with the Network of Non-State Public Universities G9 , in which a cross-cutting problem in the country was discussed, as is to achieve a balance between caring for the ecosystem and the extraction of natural resources on the coastline.

On the occasion, Renato Quiñones, academic from the University of Concepción and member of the UN group of experts on the health of the oceans, gave the Conference “Contribution of marine sciences to the sustainable development of the coastal zone: living with the complexity and uncertainty”, an exhibition in which he emphasized the complexity that exists in socio-ecological systems in which different cultural, political, social, economic, ecological components, among others, coexist, “which are constantly interacting, and therefore Therefore, they are constantly adapting.

In this coexistence of the different areas, Professor Quiñones highlighted the role that science has and in particular in the ocean and its coastal zone, because they are located in a highly complex socio-ecological system. “The ocean is a true very thick soup where in a milliliter of water there can be up to 30 thousand bacteria and an equivalent number of viruses”.

“The ocean is a true very thick soup where in a milliliter of water there can be up to 30 thousand bacteria and an equivalent number of viruses” – Renato Quiñones, academic University of Concepción.

Then the expert stated that we live in an uncertain scenario, since the physical-chemical and biological components of the ocean are in constant change, we must incorporate the human component, whose influence can also contribute to change, a situation that increases uncertainty when we want to get closer to understanding the behavior of coastal systems. Therefore, in the face of this uncertainty, the academic asked himself, what is the role of science to contribute to the sustainable management of coastal hydrobiological resources?

Problems that, according to the scholar, should be addressed through interdisciplinary research. “The way to deal more rationally or optimally with the management of fisheries and aquaculture in the face of this tremendous uncertainty and complexity, and what we have done, is to create an ecosystem approach to fisheries and aquaculture, where knowledge of science is interpreted comprehensively, that is, the ecosystem approach to fishing is a management method that analyzes fisheries in a different way, seeking to interpret the reality of the resource with others, with respect to the ecosystem and the other realities that are occurring in this case in the coastal zone”, he reflected.

Concept that was supported by Eugenia Gayo, director of the UPWELL Millennium group , who emphasized the complexity of the coastal ecosystem and highlighted that, throughout the Chilean territory, it has provided different services, depending on the geographical area.

“It is important to know that on the coast people did not live the same way everywhere, for example, what happens in the great north is different from what happens in the south and that is currently being experienced as well” – Eugenia Gayo, director UPWELL Millennium group

“The coast in general, since pre-Columbian times, has been a central axis for the colonization of South America (…) And one of the important things that is observed is the temporal variability and how human settlements have been growing and increasing through of time around the coastal zone (…) It is important to know that on the coast people did not live in the same way everywhere, for example, what happens in the great north is different from what happens in the south and that we live today as well”, stressed Eugenia Gayo.

For his part, Juan Francisco Santibáñez, head of the Fisheries Development Division, expressed that to date times of high complexity are being faced, with socio-ecological systems of multiple actors, which today are also crossed by uncertainty that makes governance difficult. For this reason, the authority stated that “from the Undersecretary of Fisheries we are trying to attend and we think that it is essential to incorporate these eco-systemic visions to the humans who practice extractive activities and those related to artisanal fishing, but we are also very clear that in order to advance to a sustainable model that allows us to attend to these dynamic and changing times, we must advance in aspects of trust that point not only to how we relate to scientific information, but also to the relationship with our peers in the fishing and aquaculture sector and that it is central to any government from here on out.”

Francisco Javier Mackay, deputy director of the Directorate of Research and Development Programs of the Chilean Navy, said that the military entity “is looking for problems to be solved through science, in areas that are their responsibility (…) in recent years we have generated networks of preparation in science, to discover what things we can do better”, he expressed.

Renato Quiñones, UdeC academic, celebrated what the deputy director pointed out, since “the work that the Navy does is vital, illegal fishing is the main risk that threatens Chile’s maritime sustainability.”

“From the Undersecretary of Fisheries we are trying to attend and we think that it is fundamental to incorporate these eco-systemic visions to the humans who practice extractive activities and those related to artisanal fishing, but we are also very clear that in order to advance to a sustainable model that allows us to attend these dynamic and changing times” – Juan Francisco Santibáñez, head of the Fisheries Development division

For his part, Manuel Yáñez Espinoza, regional secretary of the Maulé Region Ministry of Social Development , indicated that “the challenge implies that all the actors agree to guide efforts, so that the coastline is seen as a pole of development ”, emphasizing that investment is needed from both the public and private worlds.

Reflection with impact for Chile
In addition to the panel of experts, the rectors of the G9 Universities were present at the activity. Diego Durán, rector of the Catholic University of Maule, host of the activity; Carlos Saavedra, rector of the University of Concepción and president of the G9 Network; Ignacio Sánchez of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile ; Darcy Fuenzalida, from the Federico Santa María Technical University and Aliro Bórquez, from the Catholic University of Temuco.

“The discussion of the issues that are important for Chile have always been part of the debate of the universities that are part of the G9 and for us as UCM,” said Rector Durán in his speech, adding later that “the issue of coastal zone, as a pole of development in different areas, is very relevant and that is why we wanted to configure this seminar with this discussion panel in a broad way to be able to count on different visions and the opinion of different experts, which allow us to generate a reflection which we hope will have an impact on the service that can be provided in the future”, he said.

While the president of the G9 Network, rector Carlos Saavedra, added that, “in its purpose of contributing to the discussion and development of public policies in the country, as well as enriching the broad dialogue, open to the entire community, this new seminar virtual network of the G9 Network accounts for the equation between development and sustainability as a problem that requires theoretical and applied research. When the whole world faces a situation in which it must take care of the balance between resources, needs and renewal, the dialogue based on research that takes place in universities is essential and this new virtual seminar of the G9 Network contributes to it” .

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