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Marine Institute Appoints Two Directors

1st December 2020
Dr Ciaran Kelly has been appointed Director of Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services at the Marine Institute Dr Ciaran Kelly has been appointed Director of Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services at the Marine Institute Credit: Andrew Downes

The Marine Institute has announced the appointment of two Directors to the state agency’s Senior Leadership Team. Dr Ciaran Kelly has been appointed Director of Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services and Joe Silke to the position of Director of Marine Environment and Food Safety Services.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute said, “I congratulate Dr Ciaran Kelly and Joe Silke on their appointments to the Marine Institute’s Senior Leadership Team. Both Ciaran and Joe bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to these roles, and will lead our people in undertaking innovative research and providing a range of monitoring, scientific and technical services to government, agencies and industry.”

The Marine Institute’s Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services team research, assess and advise on the sustainable exploitation of Ireland’s fisheries resource and marine ecosystems.

Joe Silke, Marine InstituteDirector of Marine Environment and Food Safety Services, Joe Silke Photo: Andrew Downes

Dr Ciaran Kelly graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in marine biology and a PhD in Fisheries Science from University College Dublin. Starting as a researcher on commercial deep water fish species on trawlers out of Killybegs, Ciaran has gone on to lead the acoustic survey and pelagic assessment teams at the Marine Institute, before managing the national Marine Research Funding Programme. He has been involved in advice provision to government managers and policy makers for over 20 years, playing a key role in the development of the Maximum Sustainable Yield advice framework and the development of advice for data limited stocks at the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES).

As the Director of Marine Environment and Food Safety Services, Joe Silke will lead the team responsible for scientific services to government in support of evidence-based policy advice and to meet objectives for safe seafood, sustainable development of the marine environment and fish health.

Joe studied in Galway Mayo Institute of Technology and in Trinity College Dublin where he qualified with a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science. His career originated in the aquaculture industry where he worked in shellfish hatcheries and on-growing facilities, and innovative production methods through the 1980s. He then moved into research activities in phytoplankton and oceanography, and carried out several projects in the field of marine aquaculture development and environmental surveying. Joe has served on several international working groups and is the current Chair of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) Panel on Harmful Algal Blooms.

The Marine Institute is the State agency responsible for marine research, technology development and innovation in Ireland. The Marine Institute carries out environmental, fisheries, and aquaculture surveys and monitoring programmes to meet Ireland's national and international legal requirements. The Institute also provides scientific and technical advice to Government to help inform policy and to support the sustainable development of Ireland's marine resource.

The Marine Institute aims to safeguard Ireland's unique marine heritage through research and environmental monitoring. Its research, strategic funding programmes, and national marine research platforms support the development of Ireland's maritime economy.

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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