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ESOF Scientists Explore Atlantic Resource Opportunities at Dublin Symposium

12th July 2012
ESOF Scientists Explore Atlantic Resource Opportunities at Dublin Symposium

#blueecomony –  Scientists from both sides of the Atlantic met today at the ESOF 2012 Atlantic Symposium to explore the many ocean governance, economic development and environmental challenges and opportunities their shared Atlantic resource represents.

A key focus of the Symposium is how to harness evolving technology to drive the 'blue economy' through smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and how to achieve this through collaboration across the Atlantic Ocean in the areas of science, technology and innovation.

Speaking at the Atlantic Symposium, Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute said, "The Atlantic represents a significant resource, and while it separates the continents, it also presents a huge opportunity to work together to solve shared environmental issues and to explore opportunities for development and economic benefit. Today, we have taken the first steps in creating a new roadmap for better and more focussed cooperation between the European and American continents."

Prof Scott Glenn, Rutgers University, USA, described the historical, cultural and scientific links between Europe and the United States of America divided by the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. He pointed to challenges such as sustainable ocean governance, climate change prediction and impact, and deep-sea research which require a united approach.

These issues were further developed by Prof Michael St John, Danish Technical University and PI of the Euro-BASIN project, and by Dr Michael Crosby of the MOTE Laboratory in Florida who said, "The world's magnificent oceans are not barriers between us, but bridges of shared resources, challenges and opportunities. International partnerships designed to increase our scientific understanding of marine ecosystems as part of a single interconnected global system, that includes human activities, are essential for long-term sustainable use of these shared resources. However, translation and transfer of such scientific understanding is vital to enhance global "ocean literacy" in the broader public to build a foundation for improved stewardship of marine resources."

The final keynote speaker, Mr Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission, said that "the EU and its Atlantic neighbours share the same values and global concerns, such as climate change, energy supply, food security and health. Encouraging and improving international cooperation is therefore a priority of the EU 'Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Ocean Area' and an integral part of Horizon 2020, the new EU research and innovation funding programme."

Published in Marine Science Team

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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