Tara in China, Spring, 2018: Participating in scientific and environmental challenges

© Shanghai

7 February 2018

Starting at the end of February, Tara will be making ports of call in China over a period of 2 months. This will be a particularly important part of the Tara Pacific expedition, involving scientific, educational and political issues. Interview with Romain Troublé, executive director of the Tara Expeditions Foundation:

Why did the Tara Expeditions Foundation accompany President Macron on his first official trip to China?

This was the first time that the Foundation had the opportunity to be part of a presidential delegation. The French ambassador to China, with whom we’ve been working for a long time, judged that we had our place there, in view of Tara’s imminent visit.

Beyond this event, we’ve been working with China and have been connected with Chinese universities for some time now. This visit was therefore a logical continuation of our scientific cooperation.

The goal was also to strengthen the image of the Tara Foundation in China. Clearly our participation in this trip will influence the success of Tara’s presence in China.

The environment and the climate were also at the center of discussions, crucial topics for the Foundation. In particular, this trip was the opportunity to visit the Beijing Space Center and see the satellite CFOSAT (China-France Oceanography satellite) which will be responsible for studying the physical characteristics of the Ocean’s surface starting this year.

 
Romain Troublé (directeur général de la Fondation Tara Expeditions) lors de la conférence FACTO, Miami Romain Troublé, Directeur Général de la Fondation Tara Expéditions © Maeva Bardy – Tara Expeditions Foundation

 

How can China be an important partner for the Tara Foundation’s mission?

For the last 2 years, China has become the leader in climate issues, along with France. It’s very interesting and important to cooperate with China on a scientific level, to exchange know-how and information. Close ties should therefore be developed with this country which has become a key partner and is getting stronger on a scientific level.

China is aware of its responsibilities in terms of waste, pollution and even management of resources. We must not be naïve: China is showing all the signs of a country willing to meet challenges and assume its responsibilities.

 

What will be Tara’s main objectives during her 2-month stay in China?

Our presence in China will be organized into several stopovers, including Sanya, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Xiamen, each lasting between one and 2 weeks. During these stopovers the focus will be on educating young people — a major issue in China. Many visits of school children are being planned, in addition to the special events organized to disseminate the Foundation’s work.

On the scientific side, several conferences will be given by researchers from the Tara Oceans consortium to present their excellent work. More generally, we are already collaborating with researchers from the universities of Xiamen, Hong Kong and Guangxi. Our ambition is to anchor these collaborations in the long term.

As for further sampling, the corals around Hainan Island are among the most northwesternly in the Pacific Ocean. Since Tara is studying corals in the greatest variety of environments, it’s important to make a stopover there.

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