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Daniel Pauly: the biodiversity we have exploited for millennia is now threatened

The UA confers a new honorary doctor's degree  and delivers 121 special awards

Palomar claims that the contribution of universities "should not be measured in economic terms only".

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Santo_Tomas2013_RectorAlicante, 28th January 2013

Coinciding with the celebration of the patron of universities, St. Thomas Aquinas, the French biologist, Daniel Pauly, has been invested this morning as the new Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Alicante. The festival celebration, the first of its kind chaired by the UA President, Manuel Palomar, has been attended by the Director-General for Universities, Higher Education and Science of the Region of Valencia, Jose Miguel Savall.

Considered "one of the fifty most recognized and influential scientists in the world", as stressed by his sponsor -lecturer and Director of the Department of Marine Sciences and Applied Biology, José Luis Sánchez Lizaso- Pauly has warned us that "the biodiversity we have exploited for millennia is now threatened, as well as the many ecosystems in which resources and species are included". He criticized the problems associated with "the culture of the sea", which "is to raise large fishes, such as salmon or tuna, with a diet of small fishes like sardines and anchovies". "We need 2-4 kilos of fish to produce one of salmon and from 10 to 20 kilos, for each kilo of tuna", he explained. Pauly, who has been one of the pioneers of marine reserves, claimed scientific activism and participation in NGOs, to get "allies" and influence policies to conservation and protection of marine biodiversity "if we want to continue enjoying food from the sea in the future". The new honorary doctor has confessed feeling "deep emotion and a great honour" by joining the list of honorary doctors from the UA, including oystanding personalities such as Ramon Margalef, Jane Goodall and Mario Vargas Llosa.

After the inauguration, we have proceeded to hand out special awards in doctoral, bachelor's, graduate, diploma, architecture, technical architecture, engineering and technical engineering programmes; a total of 121 awards to the best academic records.

During his closing speech at the celebration, the UA President claimed the role of universities "as the driving force of local economies", explaining that through their contribution "the Region of Valencia has achieved 0.6 points increase in income per capita".  Despite this fact, Palomar claimed that the contribution of universities should not be measured in economic terms only. "There is much more than measurable facts," he said, and appealed "to critical thinking, informed participation, knowledge of the past to apply it to the needs of the present and to the preservation of knowledge, and cultural, social and local heritage", inter alia, as essentials for future new citizens. In this sense, the President referred to the open debate on the need to better align the offer and demand of the university study programmes of many public universities, "an offer that is snug and structured in the UA," he said. Palomar has ended up his speech by thanking the new winners, "individual effort will promote the common good of the University of Alicante and of all of us working here".

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