The roses ocean and human health chair: A new way to engage the public in oceans and human health challenges

Josep Lloret*, Rafael Abós-Herràndiz, Sílvia Alemany, Rosario Allué, Joan Bartra, Maria Basagaña, Elisa Berdalet, Mònica Campàs, Arnau Carreño, Montserrat Demestre, Jorge Diogène, Eva Fontdecaba, Mireia Gascon, Sílvia Gómez, Angel Izquierdo, Lluïsa Mas, Montse Marquès, Juan Pedro-Botet, Maria Pery, Francesc PetersXavier Pintó, Marta Planas, Ana Sabatés, Joan San, Anna Sanchez-Vidal, Martí Trepat, Cristina Vendrell, Lora E. Fleming

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Involving and engaging stakeholders is crucial for studying and managing the complex interactions between marine ecosystems and human health and wellbeing. The Oceans and Human Health Chair was founded in the town of Roses (Catalonia, Spain, NW Mediterranean) in 2018, the fruit of a regional partnership between various stakeholders, and for the purpose of leading the way to better health and wellbeing through ocean research and conservation. The Chair is located in an area of the Mediterranean with a notable fishing, tourist, and seafaring tradition and is close to a marine reserve, providing the opportunity to observe diverse environmental conditions and coastal and maritime activities. The Chair is a case study demonstrating that local, collaborative, transdisciplinary, trans-sector, and bottom-up approaches offer tremendous opportunities for engaging coastal communities to help support long-lasting solutions that benefit everyone, and especially those living by the sea or making their living from the goods and services provided by the sea. Furthermore, the Chair has successfully integrated most of its experts in oceans and human health from the most prestigious institutions in Catalonia. The Chair focuses on three main topics identified by local stakeholders: Fish and Health; Leisure, Health, and Wellbeing; and Medicines from the Sea. Led by stakeholder engagement, the Chair can serve as a novel approach within the oceans and human health field of study to tackle a variety of environmental and public health challenges related to both communicable and non-communicable diseases, within the context of sociocultural issues. Drawing on the example provided by the Chair, four principles are established to encourage improved participatory processes in the oceans and human health field: bottom-up, “think local”, transdisciplinary and trans-sectorial, and “balance the many voices”.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number5078
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Citizen science
  • Marine conservation
  • Participatory process
  • Public health

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