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Canada’s Environment & Climate Change Minister Visits Marine Institute To Talk Atlantic Ocean Collaboration

14th October 2017
Marine Institute headquarters in Oranmore, Co Galway Marine Institute headquarters in Oranmore, Co Galway

#MarineScience - Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, was at the Marine Institute headquarters in Oranmore yesterday (Friday 13 October) to discuss collaborations under the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

The Marine Institute meetings were part of a tour by Minister McKenna to London and Dublin to advance discussions on clean growth and climate action.

Minister McKenna was accompanied by Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers and met with the Marine Institute’s chair Dr John Killen and chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan, members of the senior management team and scientific staff.

The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss existing projects and opportunities to further Ireland and Canada’s collaboration on Atlantic Ocean research and climate impacts.

“Transatlantic cooperation is essential to broadening our scientific understanding of the Atlantic Ocean and helping to ensure it remains healthy and productive,” said Dr Heffernan. “It’s hugely important for Ireland and brings us closer to achieving the goals of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Co-operation signed here at the Marine Institute Galway in May 2013 by the EU, USA and Canada.

“The goal is to work together, share expertise and advance our science goals to promote the sustainable management of our Atlantic ocean for the benefit of all.”

Since the signing of the Galway Statement, the Marine Institute says it has led initiatives to further this collaboration in areas including Atlantic seabed mapping and climate change research, and is leading the EU H2020-funded Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance - Coordination and Support Action.

Speaking on her visit to the Marine Institute, Minister McKenna said: “Canada and Ireland are natural partners on marine research. Canada recognises that Atlantic research will be more effective if we work together and on both sides of the ocean.

“The knowledge we gain benefits us all, and all and is crucial to helping us to meet the challenges we face, in particular climate change, food security and new sources of energy.”

Ambassador Vickers added: “We are now entering a new era of transatlantic co-operation that will enable us to achieve great things together in the coming years.

“We are raising the importance for ocean discovery above sectoral interests and putting marine research on a new global level that transcends national borders, making literal the bonds connecting Ireland and Canada, to increase our knowledge of the ocean that joins us and to maximise the innovation potential it affords us.”

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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