Ecole bleu Outremer: a successful scientific mission for everyone

The challenges of tomorrow’s ocean are at the heart of this mission conceived by IFREMER, the French research institute for the exploitation of the sea. They were all aboard the Marion Dufresne, the largest ship in the fleet. French oceanography. Of the 75 students, many came from Mayotte. And on this Wednesday afternoon, in the conference room of the Grand Port Maritime de La Réunion, the room was packed, not to mention those who were able to follow the conference of this blue school via videoconference.

A successful mission, which made it possible to bring together experienced scientists, scientific students, students of maritime and artistic professions, witnesses of ocean sciences and emblematic figures of culture, Taambati Moussa for Mayotte was on a journey. Huguette Bello, President of the Reunion Region, was dithyrambic at this conference; the elected official underlined the importance of a mission related to ocean issues.

The very purpose of this floating school has pleased more than one. The student testimonials leave no doubt about the impact this mission had on them. Indeed, in a video projected during the conference, where the students were able to narrate a strong moment. For the Mahoran student, the exchange and work around the “Fani Maore”, Mayotte’s underwater volcano, remains the most important moment for him.

Blue school at the Marion Dufresne

©IFREMER/Louis Bouscary

This trip around the Indian Ocean allowed the students to discover the Iles Eparses and sail around Mayotte and the Big Island. Thus, from June 28 to July 27, they experienced an oceanographic campaign inland. Professors from the University of Reunion and the University, Training and Research Center of Mayotte (CUFR) and other structures such as the maritime schools of the two departments have played an important role in this project, also supported by the Ministry of Overseas.

Several speeches were made during this conference, notably by Sophie Brocas, General Manager of Overseas Territories and François Houllier, General President of IFREMER; they presented ten commitments related to the challenges of this mission. Among them, the third concerns Mayotte. A strategy for continuous monitoring of the Mayotte volcano “Fani Maore” is to be put in place by 2023 for the two officials. And this in collaboration with the Mayotte population. The other commitments concerned the establishment of a dialogue between the different universities, the collection of biological data, new studies to better understand the ecosystem of the overseas territories, in particular that of the Indian Ocean. The interdisciplinary and regional approach was also discussed. Public awareness of maritime issues also remains an important issue; it is necessary through actions to stimulate the population to take an interest in it.

During these 27 days, young budding scientists have better understood the challenges of the sea and oceans; the actors’ commitment is also to arouse maritime vocations in them. Emphasis should therefore be placed on training young people in maritime professions. All actors present underlined the importance of promoting projects related to the sea. Economic development and maritime jobs can be reconciled with the conservation and protection of the marine environment.

Arrival of the Blue School mission in Reunion

Arrival of the Blue School mission in Reunion

©Céline Latchimy / meeting the 1st

These 75 young people from France, abroad and the Indian Ocean basin, through their experience on board the Marion Dufresne, are the new flag bearers, new people smugglers for a more sustainable ocean. The mission ended this Wednesday with the arrival of the Marion Dufresne in Réunion, the last stage of this floating school, first edition. All called for a renewal of the mission.

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