Barefoot on the rocks

31 May 2023

Mariasole Bianco’s love for the sea goes back to childhood.

“I’d spend three months a year in Sardinia. I remember this feeling of freedom, of interacting with the beauty of nature, walking barefoot on the rocks.”

At 15 years old, she began diving. Beyond the wonder of the underwater world, Mariasola could also see that something was changing in the sea. And that’s how she decided to dedicate her life to it.

The sea becomes a career

And that’s when love turns into a career, a mission. The decision to dedicate her life to the sea, both as a researcher and activist, came naturally. A life that led her to become a scientist and an advocate for ocean conservation.

At Slow Fish 2023 Mariasole Bianco is a guest speaker at out conference “Where the Land meets the Sea”. It’s a moment dedicated to the theme of interconnections between the land, the sea, and human beings. “The sea is our lifeblood: it produces 50% of the oxygen we breathe and sequesters a third of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; it’s a climate regulator, and the most important store of biodiversity, containing 80% of all living species, of which only a small part has been mapped and named. That should make it clear how fundamental aquatic ecosystems are for our existence.”

Where the land meets the sea – June 1 at 3 p.m.

Slow Fish Coast to Coast is an invitation to widen our outlook beyond the seas and oceans, to not consider them as something separate from our life on land. From our carbon emissions and their acidifying effect on the oceans, to the health of plankton and their fundamental importance for the oxygen we breathe, an the protection of those coastal ecosystems which make long stretches of our planet’s coastlines habitable and productive, allowing these regions to be bastions of human culture–not least in the form of fishing. Speakers include Mariasole Bianco, marine conservation expert, Pierre Mollo, biologist and researcher specializing in plankton, and journalist Jacopo Pasotti.

Sign up to take part!

Discovering the wonder of the sea

Not everyone is aware of how heavily life on Planet Earth depends on the sea and its resources. Yet even from just a few numbers, a few elementary facts, it should be clear to anyone how much we owe to our oceans. In order to take care of the seas we need to stop for a moment, and reflect on their immensity, to marvel at all the wonders they contain.

As Mariasole puts it: “I’m convinced that the first step on our journey toward taking better care of the sea is reconnecting with nature. To experience that awe and wonder that I did when I was a child. It’s important these types of experience happen early in life. Visiting a Marine Protected Area, for example, it’s impossible not to feel a sense of love and responsibility. We can only develop that sense of responsibility through contact with nature, in order to change our behavior, to make an effort to lower our impact on the environment.”


The choices we make when buying food are just as important for seafood as for foo grown on land. “Ideas like seasonality an reducing waste also apply to the sea: these are all behaviors that highlight a sense of attachment to nature. But responsible choices are more difficult when we approach the marine environment. The doubts more numerous. That’s why with Worldrise we’ve started working on the concept of meroir. The term recalls the concept of terroir, the territory that produces a particular type of wine.”

“Meroir is the word we use to explain the ecosystem where the resources come from: An ecosystem in which humans are important actors. The meroirs we would like to promote are small-scale artisanal fisheries. Because a resource can only be fully understood and protected if you consider its environmental, social, economic components.”

And that’s the goal of Slow Fish.

by Silvia Ceriani,

Slow Fish 2023 is organized by Slow Food and the Liguria Region, with the support of the City of Genoa. We’re in the Porto Antico of Genoa from June 1-4. Sign up to the Slow Food newsletter for the latest updates. #SlowFish2023

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