A DAY FOCUSED ON THE PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION OF THE SEA AND ITS ENVIRONMENT
Today, 24th September, was a busy day at the 63rd Genoa International Boat Show, its stalls buzzing with crowds of visitors enjoying a sunny day filled with events dedicated to protecting the sea and its environment.
First, Minister for Public Administration Paolo Zangrillo made an official visit to the Genoa Boat Show. The Minister was able to visit several areas of the Show, expressing his appreciation for Italy’s industrial production, and discussed with the Italian Marine Industry Association a number of key Public Administration issues that have the potential to also concern the yachting sector, such as, for example, the implementation of the human resources devoted to the Digital Yachting Register to speed up registration and make the process to register under the Italian flag much more competitive. The Minister, who is originally from Genoa, was able to appreciate the transformation of the Genoa Boat Show’s venue, which, as of next year, will give the event a logistic platform specifically tailored to the needs of boat shows that will be unmatched on the global stage.
One of today’s most eagerly awaited events on the stage of the Eberhard & Co. Theatre at the 63rd Genoa Boat Show was the presentation of the first results of the ‘Sealife Care – Posidonia Restoration’ project. The green initiative was set up to launch a reforestation project dedicated to degraded Posidonia oceanica meadows in the Ligurian Sea. The project started in Sanremo (in the sea area of Pian di Poma) during the 70th Rolex Giraglia regatta and is organised by the European Commission Representation office in Italy with the contribution of Europe Direct Genoa, the Italian Marine Industry Association and Italian Yacht Club.
The event was moderated by Alberto Mariotti, editor-in-chief of magazine Vela e Motore, who opened the panel by calling to the stage Stefano Pagani Isnardi, Head of the Italian Marine Industry Association’s Research and Market Intelligence Department, Gerolamo Bianchi, Italian Yacht Club President, and Gianluca Saba, Head of Europe Direct Genoa from which the project first originated. Afterwards, Monica Montefalcone, Head of Seascape Ecology Lab, DiSTAV, University of Genoa, Donatella Bianchi, President of the Cinque Terre National Park, and Stefano Acunto, Director of ISSD, International School for Scientific Diving, explained the fundamental role played by this particular plant, little known to most people and disparaged far too often, a plant that acts as one of the lung’s sea, and then went on to describe more specifically its recovery operations and beneficial effects. An exemplary two-year project that is in line with the European Green Deal and the European Commission’s blue economy initiatives, which aims to restore the marine ecosystem and protect its biodiversity, often threatened by unsustainable human activities.
The talk was opened by Stefano Pagani, Head of the Italian Marine Industry Association’s Research and Market Intelligence Department, who spoke about the focus that the Italian Marine Industry Association places on all possible options and that the industry of the future will be called upon to face in order to be more sustainable, in view of safeguarding the environment. “This is a journey that entrepreneurs operating throughout the yachting industry have now begun, despite the fact that the sector itself is responsible for a minimal environmental impact,” stated Pagani. “Projects such as this provide a symbolic role but also a key function, raising awareness in all of us yachting enthusiasts. Initiatives like this also forge important partnerships, such as the one created with the Italian Yacht Club in view of this project.”
Gerolamo Bianchi, President of the Italian Yacht Club: “For a club that organises sailing regattas, these concepts are in our DNA and this idea of contributing to the reforestation with Posidonia in areas across our sea was an idea that we immediately embraced. We are very happy to collaborate with the University of Genoa to realise this project with the Italian Marine Industry Association, because we believe it is just the first step in an overall project that will continue over the next few years“.
Gianluca Saba of the Europe Direct Genoa Centre, recalled that the affected area near Sanremo, in Pian di Pomi, has been strongly affected by anthropic interventions in the past (about 56 per cent of Posidonia meadows has been lost over the last century). “The area is clearly a focal point for tourism but is of extreme interest not just for economic or tourism reasons, it is a home to these Posidonia Oceanica meadows. In order to intervene and test these transplantation and reforestation experiments in this area,” explained Monica Montefalcone – Seascape Ecology Lab, DiSTAV, University of Genoa. “Special bio mats made of completely natural material were placed in the sea, with which to prepare the soil and in which to replant Posidonia cuttings in an area of about 100 square metres. A team of underwater technicians have already implanted about 2000/2200 of them, which in time will surely give rise to a true meadow”.
On the project Donatella Bianchi, President of the Cinque Terre National Park, commented: “This is an essential and valuable intervention for all of us. The sea can regenerate itself faster than we can imagine. This action will certainly have immediate effectiveness and visibility. If we are now able to carry out this type of activity today, it is because behind it there is a lot of hard work carried out by the University of Genoa, which is a flagship of scientific research nationwide. This plant is recognised as a priority habitat at a European level. And thank goodness Europe has given us such an important habitat directive that today allows us to intervene with these actions”. Donatella Bianchi recalled the importance of Posidonia, a plant that produces oxygen, stores carbon dioxide, carried out a fundamental underwater biological action and slows down coastal erosion.
Stefano Acunto,representing the International School for Scientific Diving, a non-profit organisation that researches and trains technicians for this type of operation, spoke of the existence of other equally valid methods of this type of reforestation. “I often like to mention this combined effort of initiatives for the environment and the world of yachting,” said Acunto, “which can often be seen as antagonistic in some ways because, and there is no need to hide it, one of the many elements that create problems for Posidonia is precisely unregulated anchoring. So, I think this is a first step I hope others will follow. The monitoring will last four or five years as we will have to wait for these cuttings to take root’.
In conclusion, Massimo Pronio, Head of Communication Representation of the European Commission in Italy, had this to say: “We are very attentive to everything that is green and blue and the European Commission is pushing hard to encourage the ecological transition away from fossil fuels, to push the yachting industry towards sustainability goals. There are European funds aimed precisely at this. We have a programme called Blu Invest EU. We put together initiatives that concern the sea, and we don’t just issue directives for beach clean-ups with volunteers, we provide EU Beach Clean up initiatives in Italy in Europe and around the world, and we sponsor regattas, such as the Mille Vele event last year.
A large audience welcomed Marco Rossato and Igor Macera, two disabled from the ‘I Timonieri Sbandati’ Association, at the Eberhard & Co. Theatre. Having set off in the beginning of June with their wheelchairs on board the sailing boat Tornavento, they concluded their adventure at the Genoa International Boat Show. There were many anecdotes about the ‘Giro d’Italia a Vela – Navigare Oltre i Limiti’ (Tour of Italy by Sail – Sailing Beyond Limits), a total of 1,700 miles covered in 99 days of navigation and 45 berths in as many ports and marinas in Italy. And a multitude of messages were also launched on the social front, from eco-sustainability – Tornavento completed 70/80% of the journey by sail, the remainder with electric propulsion powered by on-board photovoltaics – to the collection of plastic, and the removal of architectural barriers for the disabled.
In order to welcome Tornavento to Genoa, the maritime engineering group Ingemar, technical sponsor of the Genoa International Boat Show, installed in record time a Marina4all pontoon equipped with special devices and technical aids to allow the crew and guests to move, embark and disembark in total autonomy and maximum comfort.
At 3pm, the stage of the Eberhard & Co. Theatre hosted the protagonists of ‘Spazzapnea – Operazione Fondali Puliti’, a freediving waste collection team competition that took place on 10th June this Summer in Genoa and simultaneously in five other Italian locations: Torre del Greco, Marina di Pisa, Mola di Bari, Ustica and Rome. Established in 2018 and supported by the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation, the Spazzapnea “project clean the seabed” aims to protect one of the main lungs of our planet from the dispersion of waste into the environment.
On the ground floor of the Blue Pavilion, Sergio Davì’s seven Raids were presented as he prepares for a new adventure. On board his Suzuki-powered Aretusa Explorer, Sergio Davì will set off tomorrow, Monday 25th September, from the Genoa Boat Show jetties for his new raid entitled “I Fari d’ Italia” (The Lighthouses of Italy), a fascinating route among the peninsula’s most stunning lighthouses.
Also held at the Eberhard&Co Theatre were panels dedicated to “Telemedicine as an approach to a new health management system on board ships and boats” – by Health’s Solutions and “Liguria: cutting-edge healthcare for marine mammals” by the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Piedmont, Liguria and Valle d’Aosta.
Tomorrow’s events – 25th September 2023
Blue Pavilion – Mezzanine Floor
10.30 am: PROPULSION SYSTEMS AND THEIR EFFICIENCY – (Organised by ATENA Lombardia with the Italian Marine Industry Association) – Tech Hall
11.00 am: MARINE CENTRE – UNIGE – Reporting on research activities carried out during the Doctorate in Marine Sciences and Technology (Organised by the Marine Centre – University of Genoa) – Innovation Hall
11.00 am: INNOVATION AND PERFORMANCE IN THE YACHTING SECTOR – (Organised by RINA) – Forum Hall
2.00 pm: 3rd TECHNO MARATHON – The Techno Marathon is back for its third edition, aimed at discussing alternative energy sources and sustainable materials (Organised by Amer Yachts and Simonetta Pegorari – Studio Pegorari, in partnership with the Italian Marine Industry Association) – Tech Hall
2.30 pm: EUROPEAN SUSTAINABLE BOATING ROUNDTABLE – (Organised by EBI – European Boating Industry, the Italian Marine Industry Association and the Liguria Region) – Forum Hall
EBERHARD &CO THEATRE
12.00 – 1.00 pm: Presentation of the 151 MIGLIA – CETILAR TROPHY
22.00 – 3.00 pm: MEETING ITALY’S OCEAN SAILORS – The incredible wave of Italian Class 40s
With Ambrogio Beccaria, Pietro Luciani, Edo Bianchi and, by video link, Alberto Bona, Andrea Fornaro and Alberto Riva.
3.00 – 4.30 pm: POR FESR – ROAD MAP FOR REGIONAL TENDERS 2023–2024 AND OUTCOMES OF THE 2014-2020 PLAN (Organised by the Liguria Region and Liguria International)