Minister Planas closes the Meeting of the Seas, which will promote joint research between gastronomy and science with a grant
The III Meeting of the Seas closed this Wednesday in Marbella, with the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, a decisive edition in which it is consolidated not only as the great international reference of haute cuisine from the sea, but also as a model of joint collaboration between science and gastronomy. More than a thousand people have followed through the network a congress that has brought together in different parts of Seville, Cádiz and Malaga about a hundred chefs, biologists, researchers and representatives of the different economic sectors that live from the sea.
The closing day served to launch, from the hand of chefs and oceanographers from Japan, Virginia, the Amazon or Galicia, a message of hope. As stated by the scientific director of the congress, Carlos Duarte, “we still have time to regain the health of the seas within a generation.”
Gastronomy can have a lot to do with this recovery of marine ecosystems. This has been demonstrated throughout this edition by projects such as the one led by chef David Chamorro together with scientists from the University of Cádiz in search of culinary applications for the invasive algae that has threatened the Andalusian coasts for five years. In order to give continuity to this fruitful interdisciplinary relationship, the president of Vocento Gastronomy, Benjamín Lana, announced that the Encuentro de los Mares will award a grant to support research lines between the sea and the stove. He also pointed to the possibility of holding a sister congress somewhere in America, which will serve to strengthen ties with those who look at the Atlantic from the other side.
The fundamental role of chefs in preserving the “biological, economic, social and cultural wealth” that the seas treasures was also mentioned by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food during the official closing of the event: “They not only transform the products that they come out of the water, but add value to the entire food chain ”. Planas recalled the weight of Spanish fishing in the ‘blue economy’ throughout Europe and warned that “growth cannot be considered if it is not accompanied by sustainability.” An objective shared by all the participants in the Andalusian forum, whose farewell left some testimonies that invite us to look to the future with moderate optimism.
The main theme of this third edition was underwater reforestation and the auditorium of the Iberostar hotel passed the person responsible for the largest repopulation of aquatic meadows carried out to date worldwide. Biologist Karen McGlathery explained how nearly 200 hectares have been recovered off the coast of Virginia, turning them into a privileged nursery for fingerlings and a powerful carbon sink that improves water quality and protects the coastline.
His experience allows us to think of underwater planting as one of the great remedies against climate change, but also if it is connected with Ángel León’s research on the eelgrass it can also become a valuable pantry. McGlathery acknowledged yesterday that it had not occurred to him to eat that kind of marine rice until he read in the magazine ‘Time’ about the advances of the Cadiz, whom he has been able to meet at the Meeting of the Seas.
Fishing in the Amazon
For his part, Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino demonstrated, by reeling off his cooperation work with the communities of the upper Amazon, that eating what lives in water can ensure the survival of threatened ecosystems, if done in a rational and respectful way. After years of indiscriminate fishing, the limited artisanal catch now practiced by fishermen in Pacaya Samiria, the largest floodplain area in South America, has brought the populations of the gigantic paiche fish from 530 when the project began to more than 10,000. Its success allows “to create a mirror of prosperity in which other communities can look at themselves,” noted journalist Ignacio Medina.
The Meeting of the Seas left other inspiring experiences, such as the review of the tradition of algae cultivation in Japan by Professor Atsishi Watanabe, or the cuisine inspired by the cultural heritage of Galician sailors presented by Pepe Vieira. But above all it showed that this “symbiotic relationship” between science and cooking has much to offer the future of the planet.