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Paul Connolly is New CEO of the Marine Institute

4th October 2019
New CEO - Dr Paul Connolly New CEO - Dr Paul Connolly

Dr Paul Connolly has been announced as the Chief Executive Officer of the Marine Institute, Ireland’s state agency for marine research, technology development and innovation. The appointment follows the upcoming retirement of Dr Peter Heffernan after 27 years as CEO of the institute.

Dr Connolly is the current Director of Fisheries and Ecosystems Advisory Services (FEAS) at the Marine Institute, leading a team of more than 80 scientists and staff to provide scientific advice on the sustainable exploitation of Ireland’s fisheries resource and marine ecosystems.

On the announcement Minister Creed said, “Our marine resource offers significant opportunities for Ireland in areas of research and innovation, the sustainable development of our blue economy, and ocean observation to prepare for the impacts of climate change. With Dr Connolly’s extensive experience in sustainable fisheries management, leading innovative and integrated research programmes and driving strategic collaborations nationally and internationally, the Marine Institute will continue to deliver excellent science, advice and technical support to government and industry.”

Dr Connolly said, “Over the next five years, I will be deeply committed to supporting a culture of high performance driven by our people, whose skills, experiences and passion for the marine are central to the work of the Marine Institute. These are very exciting times for ocean science, with the UN Decade of the Ocean beginning in 2021, the anticipated delivery of a new research vessel in 2022 and the need to address the challenges posed by a changing climate.”

Dr Connolly is a former president of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES); a network of 20 countries, which aims to advance scientific understanding of marine ecosystems and provides impartial scientific advice for meeting conservation, management, and sustainability goals.

He has chaired the quarterly meetings of the Irish Fisheries Science Research Partnership (IFSRP) since it was established by the Minister in 2008. Dr Connolly led the development of the ICES Strategic Plan (2014-2018) which was adopted by 20 member countries, and worked closely with government, agencies and the Marine Institute team to develop Ireland’s integrated marine plan, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth. He also led the executive in developing the Marine Institute’s Strategic Plan, Building Ocean Knowledge Delivering Ocean Services (2018 - 2022).

Dr Connolly has a PhD from UCD (1986), an MBA from NUI Galway (2006) and completed the Timoney Advanced Leadership programme in 2016.

Published in Marine Science
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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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