8th BioMarine International Business Convention
1-3 oct 2017, Rimouski Qc, Canada View Location

May 27

Interview of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco by Pierre Erwes Chairman BioMarine



In an international environmental context of concern, Prince Albert II draws the major global issues regarding marine environment: “The Sea is an essential component of life and is part of our human heritage. Our duty is to ensure that this heritage is preserved and passed on to the next generations in a sustainable and rational way. Let us learn from our hesitations, our past mistakes and let us build now the foundations for a fruitful collaboration which brings together civil society, industrials, investors and scientists.”

In this interview, Prince Albert II of Monaco presents a realistic overview of the environmental state of our oceans, and shares with us the ideas of its strong commitment and beliefs. More than ever, he proves by his leadership that Monaco plays a major role on the international stage. During his upcoming participation in the BioMarine Business Convention next September 2011, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco will stress again the importance of collaboration between science, industry and civil society with regards to the sustainable development of our oceans.

Interview by Pierre Erwes, President BioMarine


Monaco and the Sea:

PE: Your Highness, when world leaders began to look at the future of our oceans, Monaco had already opened the way. Was your ancestor Prince Albert I of Monaco a visionary precursor?

HSH: My ancestor had a passion for the oceans. He participated in the discovery of their tremendous wealth and was in fact a forerunner of environmental development. In his days, knowledge was not easy to spread. The Oceanographic Museum which celebrated its centenary in 2010 remains the showcase of this knowledge.

PE: The world recognizes in you the ability to promote the cause of the Ocean. What motivates you?

HSH: Our principality is bathed by the energy of the Mediterranean Sea. This Mediterranean Sea which was the cradle of our civilisations is primarily a hub of knowledge and culture essential to our development. Environmental issues are of fundamental importance in preventing conflicts. Access to water, preservation of marine ecosystems, deforestation, all these issues concern me and I try to unite around me the various communities involved to offer solutions tailored to the geographic, political and economic context.

PE: Your Highness, what do you think are the major marine issues of today and tomorrow?

HSH: There are many issues indeed.
First, I think we must approach the problem of purification and waste treatment in seas and oceans. Some countries, including some western countries, dump at sea natural, organic and industrial waste, without treating it beforehand. We need to educate them on the major risks. The oceans can no longer absorb and recycle at an ever faster pace the vast amounts of waste we are dumping into them. I am concerned about the presence of micro plastic particles from the grinding of plastic waste of all kinds poured into the oceans over the last fifty years. This micro waste is carried along by ocean gyres, stagnates and forms clusters across thousands of kms square. I have discussed this issue with the major industrial actors in this sector who are ready to ensure bio-degradable plastics are used in the future. With regards to the present situation, scientists and industrial actors are thinking about possible economically viable solutions that would recover millions of cubic meters already on the surface of our our oceans.

Another of the major challenges regards marine bio resources. We now know now that some species can not regenerate sufficiently as the catches are so important. We need to change our habits while compensating for the shortfall generated by economic exploitation of these natural resources. Aquaculture is an option, especially since we can now offer alternatives which can substitute animal protein by vegetable protein.

My last point regards the major energy challenges of tomorrow.Tomorrow, offshore wind energy, wave energy, tidal energy and biofuel from microalgae will enable us to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. I do not think there is ONE single solution, but each country must enforce its assets. It is interesting to think that the sun will provide infinite energy for the development of micro algae in developing countries.

PE: Your Highness, according to you, are societal issues consistent with a real environmental policy of the sea?

HSH: You raise a fundamental element of our system. Humankind must be at the heart of our reasoning, and societal issues are part of our major environmental projects. It is all about balance but also education. It is important to give the younger generations a taste for nature, explain to them this subtle balance and make them aware of the careers that will enable them to take part in tomorrow’s major issues while respecting our most valuable assets: the seas and oceans.

Monaco Blue Initiative (MBI)

PE: To mark the centenary of the Oceanographic Museum, you launched the Monaco Blue Initiative. The second edition was held here in Monaco last February. What do you expect of such a summit?

HSH: The Monaco Blue Initiative is a great catalyst for ideas. I was very positively surprised by the strong will to cooperate between NGOs, industrial actors , scientists and investors. Our world is not unipolar. If we want to promote major environmental projects we have to reconcile conservation, economic development and scientific research. These communities share, discuss and progress even on complex topics.

PE: Marine protected areas often put in opposition the conservation model to the development business model. During the MBI, there was a very positive response to the concept of development marine areas.

HSH: Marine protected areas represent a real opportunity for our oceans.They allow the regeneration of marine bio-resources and reconcile economic development especially through small-scale fisheries and the development of eco tourism.

BioMarine 2011

PE: Next September you will honour us with your participation in BioMarine which will host many companies from around the world working in the field of marine bio-resources. This audience of industrials and investors will be very receptive to your collaborative message. What would you like to say to them today?

HSH: We can and we must increase research and innovation in this vital sector. I am certain that the technological breakthroughs in this area will bring concrete solutions to the problems we are facing. The oceans and marine organisms hold a tremendous wealth of which we begin to see the potential. Many molecules derived from marine organisms contribute to progress in cancer treatment in particular. Some extremophile marine bacteria are giving us the secret of longevity and energy production. For our oceans, it is imperative that we find the right balance between conservation and development.

PE: Arctic areas are very fragile areas. The protection of these sanctuaries is crucial to you.

HSH: I attach particular importance to the arctic areas. They represent the last great sanctuaries on our planet. Although the development of these areas seems inevitable, we need an approach which is both reasoned and reasonable and must take into account native populations

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

PE: Your foundation serves the oceans and forests. The evening Gala on 9 September, organized in partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and BioMarine, is expected to raise funds to support projects related to ocean development.

HSH: I am looking forward to meeting with the influent people who support us and work, like us, towards the development and conservation of our oceans. These initiatives are crucial if we want science, environment and socio-economic development to progress.

Prince Albert II of Monaco