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Marine Institute CEO: Public Engagement With The Sea Essential

5th April 2020
Dr.Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute Dr.Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute

The new Chief Executive of the Marine Institute says that it is essential that there is good public understanding of the importance of the sea.

The Institute is the national agency responsible for maritime research, technology development and innovation policy.

Dr.Paul Connolly says that the indications are that there is growing public interest in the oceans which is “grounded in the impact the oceans are having on climate.”

Before taking over the leadership of the Institute, following the retirement of former CEO Dr. Peter Heffernan, he was its Director of Fisheries and Ecosystems and has also been President of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas, known as ICES. This is a network of 20 countries developing scientific understanding of marine ecosystems, their conservation, management and sustainability.

“For every ten breaths you take, seven of those breaths use oxygen that came from the ocean, so the ocean is producing 70 per cent of the oxygen we breathe”

“For every ten breaths you take, seven of those breaths use oxygen that came from the ocean, so the ocean is producing 70 per cent of the oxygen we breathe,” he says.

Dr. Connolly identifies problems that have to be dealt with – ocean acidification, changing currents and how that impacts the weather; the issue around plastics pollution which “has become huge in terms of the consciousness of the public” and he says that “the whole area of food from the ocean is very big in the public mind.”

He says that there will be Marine Protected Areas established around Ireland and that these will need discussion and close work with the fishing industry.

“Coming into the next couple of years the whole issue of climate, trying to understand climate and the big part the ocean plays in it will be huge,” he CEO says in the Podcast that you can listen to here.

Listen to the PODCAST below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He also presents the radio programme Maritime Ireland on radio stations around Ireland.

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