It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the first MISSION ATLANTIC project e-newsletter! The last 12 months, and the first year of our project, have been a globally challenging period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like all researchers, the marine science community has been challenged by not being able to access the lab and conduct experiments. We have had limited interactions with colleagues and have not been able to perform activities at sea.

Yet, never before has our ocean and its ecosystems have been in such focus in social, economic, and political agendas. We are in a critical period, where we, as scientists, must provide the knowledge, tools, and solutions to navigate our future and move towards a more sustainable society.

Despite the pandemic, several important international milestones have been achieved. The IPCC published its sixth assessment report “AR6 Climate Change 2021”, IPBES prepared the Nature Futures Framework, which is currently under review, the UN launched the 2nd World Ocean Assessment (WOA II), the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, and, of course, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

As we celebrate our first birthday, we also celebrate MISSION ATLANTIC’s contributions towards the sustainable development of the Atlantic Ocean. Our team has initiated the largest integrated ecosystem assessment in the Atlantic basin. We’ve established a common modelling framework to assess relationships between impacts and ecosystem changes and identified indicators needed to monitor habitat changes and population connectivity across different regions.

We’ve succeeded in opening a dialogue with all stakeholders, spanning the length and breadth of the basin, and we are ready to work together in developing strategies to ensure better use of ocean resources for a sustainable future.

Looking ahead, we are eager to continue working with our sister projects, industry, NGOs and students, to further strengthen synergies and promote common goals on raising awareness of biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution. We’ve created a solid foundation to build upon and are ready to deliver the next steps in mobilising all Atlantic stakeholders to act together and improve our understanding and management of the Atlantic Ocean as we move towards a more sustainable society.

Patrizio Mariani, Project Coordinator, Denmark, October 2021

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