On the 23rd of January 2023, the OCEAN CITIZEN project Kick-off meeting was held on the beautiful Island of Tenerife, Spain. Hosted at the Iberostar Grand Mencey Hotel, around 50 collaborators gathered for an exciting three-day meeting.
The first day, Dr. Sergio Rossi introduced the project’s ambitions and objectives, emphasizing the importance of the OCEAN CITIZEN project results for the European Commission and the replicability of the project outcomes for oceans worldwide. Dr. Rossi emphasized the significance of Artificial Reefs technology in expanding and consolidating existing marine protected areas, creating ecological corridors for bio-system interactions, restoring biodiversity, and enhancing Blue Carbon through innovative structures and processes. Additionally, Dr. Rossi highlighted the importance of the five selected intervention areas across Europe. These ecozones, with their diverse nature in terms of climate, water characteristics, and socio-economic framework, will allow for testing OCEAN CITIZEN ‘s technology under different biodiversity, biomass, and Blue Carbon conditions, including various Marine Protected Areas and ecological corridors.
The Project Officer, Alberto Zocchi, joined the consortium online to share his vision for the project and communicate the European Commission’s expectations as well as the importance of projects of such magnitude in the industry.
During the first two days, collaborators had time to discuss technical aspects and resolve issues through detailed presentations from each of the Work Package leaders.
On the third day, the entire consortium had the fantastic opportunity to visit the site of the future Underwater Gardens Regenerative Park in Punta Blanca. The Underwater Gardens Regenerative Park is a crucial element for the continuity of the OCEAN CITIZEN project as it will provide visitors with the chance to experience and engage with ocean restoration and ecosystem protection.
After enjoying a delightful lunch at a local restaurant, a visit to the port of Playa San Juan was organised, including a quick swim in the clear waters of Tenerife.