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Opportunity For Ireland In European 'Blue Economy' Action Plan

13th May 2014
Opportunity For Ireland In European 'Blue Economy' Action Plan

#BlueEconomy - The European Commission last week presented an Action Plan for Innovation in the 'Blue Economy' to help use ocean resources responsibly and sustainably as sources of food, medicine and energy, and drive growth and jobs in Europe.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan said the plan "reflects the importance of the oceans impact on our daily lives and the urgent need to better understand our oceans in order manage them responsibly to generate benefits for all citizens.

"It’s a very welcome initiative and consistent with initiatives already underway here in Ireland such as Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth - An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland, which aims to increase the turnover from our ocean economy to exceed €6.4 billion by 2020.”

A key objective of the action plan is to create a digital map of the entire seabed of European waters by 2020. Maps like those developed by the INFOMAR programme in Ireland are also crucial for accurate localised models of climate change and forecasting.

Meanwhile, opportunities for Irish marine researchers will be enhanced by the focus on blue growth in the new Horizon 2020 programme, with a specific €145 million budget for 2014-2015 alone, and further opportunities across the programme.

There are also plans to look at the possibility of forming a 'Knowledge and Innovation Community' made up of major players from the research, business and education communities.

In addition, the the blue innovation action plan proposes to set up a Blue Economy Business and Science Forum, which will involve the private sector, scientists and NGOs to help shape the blue economy of the future and share ideas and results.

“Ireland’s marine plan has established similar forum – a ‘marine development task force’ to look at pushing opportunities and significantly moving the plan forward,” said Dr Heffernan.

"All of this will mean more opportunities for Irish researchers and business to partner and support EU initiatives on marine economic development in line with our national integrated marine plan.”

Published in Marine Science
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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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