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Galway Statement Ten Year Celebration Marking Decade of Marine Research Cooperation Across the Atlantic Ocean

5th July 2023
Galway Statement 10 Year Celebration (L-R) Mick Gillooly, Interim CEO for Marine Institute; John Bell, Director for Healthy Planet, DG R&I, European Commission, Hein Pieper, Chairman of the Dutch water authority Rijn en IJssel, President of the European Union of Water Management Associations (EUWMA); Mairéad McGuinness, EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union; Francois Houllier, President and CEO IFREMER; Steve Thur, Assistant Administrator for Research, NOAA; and Patricia Reilly, Chef de cabinet for Commissioner McGuinness; in Iveagh House, Dublin.
Galway Statement 10 Year Celebration (L-R) Mick Gillooly, Interim CEO for Marine Institute; John Bell, Director for Healthy Planet, DG R&I, European Commission, Hein Pieper, Chairman of the Dutch water authority Rijn en IJssel, President of the European Union of Water Management Associations (EUWMA); Mairéad McGuinness, EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union; Francois Houllier, President and CEO IFREMER; Steve Thur, Assistant Administrator for Research, NOAA; and Patricia Reilly, Chef de cabinet for Commissioner McGuinness; in Iveagh House, Dublin.

Yesterday, the Marine Institute, along with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission, co-hosted a high-level celebration in Iveagh House, Dublin, marking ten years of the Galway Statement - a decade of marine research cooperation across the Atlantic Ocean.

The milestone event, entitled "10 Years of the Galway Statement. Celebrating a decade of marine research cooperation along and across the Atlantic Ocean - Our Shared Resource" will continue today and Thursday at the Marine Institute and the University of Galway.

The Galway Statement is a landmark agreement signed by representatives of the European Union, the United States and Canada who agreed to join forces on Atlantic Ocean Research. The goal was to better understand the Atlantic Ocean and promote the sustainable management of its resources. The Agreement aimed to connect the ocean observation efforts of the three partners. The work also studied the interplay of the Atlantic Ocean with the Arctic Ocean, particularly in relation to climate change.

This celebration showcases and reflects on the achievements of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance (AAORIA), which has grown to become truly all-Atlantic - from East to West, North to South, and from the Arctic to Antarctica. The event also focused on the coming years, through high-level dialogue and intergenerational discussion, on this model for science diplomacy.

Yesterday’s event programme included presentations on discoveries and achievements from the past decade, while looking to the future with discussion on the future of AAORIA.

The Marine Institute coordinated the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Coordination and Support Action up to 2020, partners in many of the Mission Ocean initiatives and looks forward to playing a pivotal role in the implementation of the All Atlantic Research and Innovation Alliance. The Marine Institute has recently launched its new five-year corporate strategy (2023-2027) which sets out eight strategic priorities centering on transforming the Institute’s knowledge, advice and services to benefit people, policy and planet. Ocean Knowledge that Informs and Inspires sets out a roadmap to enable Ireland to deliver on national and EU policy goals on sustainable seafood production, ocean science and management, environment and biodiversity, maritime transport, offshore renewable energy and climate action. 

Commenting on the event, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said “As an island nation, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland’s culture, heritage and identity are intrinsically linked to the Ocean surrounding it. The Galway Statement has been instrumental in fostering a decade of marine research cooperation. It has led to the development of numerous collaborative projects and initiatives in which Ireland will continue to play a significant role over the next decade.

Michael Gillooly, Interim CEO of the Marine Institute said, “The Galway Statement and AAORIA have delivered an exemplary example of science diplomacy. The Marine Institute is proud to have contributed to this important work and we look forward to continued cooperation with the other members of the alliance”.

Further sessions are planned over the next two days showcasing the profound impact of the past decade's marine research collaboration. A significant program highlight will be the intergenerational discussion session to engage with Early Career Ocean Professionals, contributing to the AAORIA.

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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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