The Sea Forum – Forum do Mar was a joint initiative organised by Oceano XXI and AEP, which took place between 16-19 June at the Exponor and APDL facilities in Leça da Palmeira. It consisted of a trade fair, an international conference, a Cluster in Action event, an internationalisation event and a number of parallel activities encompassing nautical recreation, workshops for young people and tours of Portuguese Navy vessels. The Sea Forum was supported by the Compete Programme of the QREN (National Strategic Reference Board) and benefitted from a range of institutional support from bodies such as the APDL (Port Administration of Douro and Leixões), Matosinhos Municipality, EMAM (Maritime Affairs Task Group), AICEP (Portuguese Business Development Agency), the Portuguese Navy, Intercéltica and Visionarium.
The principal elements of each component of the Forum are set out in brief below:
Sea Fair – A pioneering event in Portugal, encompassing various sectors of economic activity represented by 94 exhibitors – companies and business associations, universities, laboratories and R&D centres – from various regions of Portugal and Galicia. The fair took place between 16-19 June, with 16-17 June being reserved for trade visitors and 18-19 June open to the public. The fair was visited by 3200 people. The Sea Fair hosted the closing session of the project for Atlantic interregional cooperation – Aux-Navália, organised by the Association of Naval Industries – and witnessed the signing of two cooperation protocols, one between the Portuguese Navy and INESC (Computing and Systems Engineering Institute), the other between various R&D centres and the University of Porto and the Porto Higher Institute of Engineering, in relation to the development of the Sea Centre of the Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto, a key project of the Marine Economy and Knowledge Cluster.
International Conference – ‘Economic Enhancement and Sustainability of Marine Resources’ – Taking place on 17 June, the Conference was well received, with 350 attendees. There was good participation on each of the three panels, the first of which was dedicated to ‘The Exploitation and Monitoring of Marine Resources’, the second to ‘The Potential for Economic Enhancement of Marine Resources’, whilst the third dealt with ‘Ocean Governance and Sustainability’.
Internationalisation Event – The event was organised with the support of a specialised company and the collaboration of AICEP and consisted of the prior identification of 45 international representatives of the marine economy sector, who were invited to attend the Fair and to establish a network of contacts with Portuguese exhibitors.
Cluster in Action – This event consisted of an organised programme of presentations by institutions, projects, and products or services, undertaken by exhibitors with the aim of encouraging knowledge exchange, fostering cooperative relationships and strengthening the Cluster.
Parallel activities – The parallel activities, which took place at APDL and on Leça beach, consisted of a nautical event – sailing and surfing – organised by Intercéltica, youth sea workshops supported by EMAM and Visionarium, as well as visits to the Portuguese Navy vessels Schultz Xavier and Creoula (18 June). (see Parallel Activities Presentationand the Parallel Activities Video).