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Galway Marine Scientist is New President of International Council for Exploration of the Sea

5th November 2012
Galway Marine Scientist is New President of International Council for Exploration of the Sea

#marinescience – The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has elected Dr Paul Connolly as its new President for a three-year term (Nov 2012 – Oct 2015). Dr. Connolly is the Director of Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services at the Marine Institute.

Commenting on his election Dr Connolly said "This is a great honour and comes at a time of great opportunities for ICES.  The ocean affects every human life and a growing public awareness of the use of the ocean is driving a demand for impartial marine science and advice".

Marine Institute CEO, Dr. Peter Heffernan welcomed the appointment. "It's a testament to Dr Connolly's dedication to excellence in marine science, his long standing commitment to ICES, and the key the role of Irish and international scientists in understanding marine ecosystems."

Minister Simon Coveney T.D also congratulated Dr Connolly on this prestigious appointment. The Minister said "this is a great honour for Paul and is well deserved.  The appointment recognises his huge contribution to the world of marine science and underlines the high esteem that both he and his colleagues in the Marine Institute are held in the international scientific community."

ICES coordinates and promotes marine research on oceanography, the marine environment, the marine ecosystem, and on living marine resources in the North Atlantic. It is the prime source of scientific advice on the marine ecosystem to governments and international regulatory bodies that manage the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas.  ICES maintains some of the world's largest databases on marine fisheries, oceanography, and the marine environment, and its Data Centre is part of a global network of data centres.

"Against a changing policy landscape and a challenging economic climate, a key job in the coming year will be the renewal of the ICES Strategic Plan for the period 2014 to 2018.  Getting our strategy right will be critical," said Dr Connolly.

ICES is a network of more than 1600 scientists from 200 institutes linked by an intergovernmental agreement (the ICES Convention) to add value to national research efforts.

Ireland has a long association with ICES.  Founded in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1902 it is one of the oldest intergovernmental organisations. Ireland joined ICES in 1924 and two of its 29 presidents have been Irish - Arthur Went (1966 to 1969) and David Griffith (1991 to 1994).   "A key focus of the job will be to ensure that the ICES scientific community remains relevant, responsive, sound, and credible, concerning marine ecosystems and their relation to humanity," said Dr Connolly.

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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