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Collaboration Is Key To Ensuring Sustainable Future For Our Shared Ocean

23rd July 2020
Dr Paul Connolly is chief executive of the Marine Institute Dr Paul Connolly is chief executive of the Marine Institute Photo: Andrew Downes/Xposure

This week’s Oceans of Learning topic, the final one in the 10-week series from the Marine Institute, focuses on partnerships between marine science, industry and education and how these can help ensure a healthy and sustainable future for our ocean.

Collaboration is one of the core values of the Marine Institute’s work — from mapping our seabed to policy support and scientific advice for the maritime sector, seafood safety monitoring services and funding marine research projects.

“It is vital to have a culture of open communication and a collaborative mind set with government, industry and other organisations in Ireland, to keep a focus on knowledge gap areas and new research requirements that will allow us to sustainably use and protect our ocean resource,” said Dr Paul Connolly, chief executive of the Marine Institute.

“Working on the international stage is also very important and is key to develop research programmes that deepen our understanding of the ocean and predict how it may change and impact on our island nation."

One of the Marine Institute’s key activities over the next 10 years will be the Europe-wide Mission Ocean, which focuses on restoring the health of our oceans, seas, rivers and lakes.

The goal of Mission Ocean is that by 2030 we will be focused on cleaning marine and fresh waters, restoring degraded ecosystems and habitats, and decarbonising the blue economy in order to sustainably harness the essential ‘goods and services’ that our oceans, seas, rivers and lakes provide.

“The ocean is our greatest natural resource. It provides us with the oxygen we breathe, provides us with food, influences our weather and climate, contributes to our economy, sustains our coastal communities and promotes our overall wellbeing,” said Dr Connolly.

“Understanding our ocean and providing the scientific advice for its sustainable use are central to the Marine Institute’s work and are key to our future.”

The week kicks off this afternoon (Thursday 23 July) with an exclusive Irish interview with Kathy Sullivan, the first person to ever experience travelling to both deep space and the furthest depths of the ocean.

Sullivan said: “We live on a very dynamic planet and need rich, detailed information to understand it. Whether it is in deep outer space or the inner deep of the ocean, it is important to be curious and explore our complex planet.”

Marking the closing week of the Oceans of Learning series, Marine Minister Dara Calleary said: “As an island nation, Ireland has a special relationship with the seas and oceans. The future of Ireland’s seafood sector and coastal communities will depend on the sustainable management of this precious resource…

“The Government also recognises the enormous potential that the ocean has to offer in tackling climate change and the need for further scientific research to understand and develop this potential.”

Resources for this week’s Oceans of Learning theme, One Shared Ocean, One Shared Future, are available from the Marine Institute website.

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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