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There has been a disappointed reaction from a number of fishing vessel owners to terms offered under the Government's latest whitefish decommissioning scheme.

"We haven’t surveyed members yet as this is anecdotal, but we are hearing of dismay and disappointment,” Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO) chief executive Aodh O’Donnell said.

“We are calling for immediate additional engagement by and clarification from Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) on this,” O’Donnell said. “The disappointment is quite widespread among our members.”

Letters of offer to 57 owners have been issued by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM). It says it will ensure that over 9,000 tonnes of quota fish valued at €35 million annually will be available for remaining whitefish vessels to catch, ensuring the remaining fleet's economic viability into the future.

Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue has increased funding for the scheme from 60 million euro to 75 million euro– drawn from the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) which was allocated to mitigate the negative impact on the Irish fleet of Brexit.

Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation (IS&WFPO) chief executive Patrick Murphy said that it was an “absolute scandal” that some applicants had received offers well below the market price of their vessels.

“This represents the latest in a series of victimisations of Irish fishermen – losing waters on EU access, losing quota due to Brexit, and now our government, which doesn’t have to spend a penny of exchequer money on this, trying to force people to accept derisory offers,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he had heard from several vessel owners who had been offered well below the lowest ceiling per gross tonne.

The decommissioning scheme, which was recommended by Ireland’s seafood task force in response to significant loss of access to quota due to Brexit, proposes paying applicants a basic payment of €3,600 per gross tonne(GT), and a “catch incentive premium” of up to €8,400 per GT for quota species covered under the TCA.

This would be calculated by indexing total vessel landings of quota stocks against the maximum total landings of quota stocks by any one vessel within each segment.

“When we were into the seafood task force, we did so in good faith, and when we saw terms and criteria for decommissioning, we said it was wrong as we felt it wasn’t going to be fit for purpose,”Murphy said.

“Now we see that not only are the criteria unworkable, but they are contradictory,” he said.

“For instance, penalising a vessel on its age when it might be more successful than a younger vessel,” he said.

“The increased funding by the minister is not enough, and it is ironic that crew will do better out of this in some cases than vessel owners,” Murphy said.

“It is immoral to roll out something like this when some people are unable to pay mortgages. One man was told that the decision to accept was not his, but the bank manager’s decision,” he said.

Approved applicants have until February 8th, 2023 to accept the offer. Once an offer is taken up, vessel owners must surrender their fishing licences within eight weeks and decommission their vessels, in an “environmentally compliant manner”, by October 31st,2023.

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Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue has said he is increasing the budget for scrapping whitefish fishing vessels from 60 million to 75 million euros.

As Afloat reported earlier, offers will be made to 57 owners, he said, and tax reliefs will increase proportionately as part of the budget increase.

He also pledged to continue conveying “Ireland’s concerns” at EU level over Norway’s bid to gain greater access to fishing grounds off the west coast.

McConalogue made the commitment at a meeting on Tuesday with fishing industry representatives in the Marine Institute in Galway, on the eve of resumed negotiations between the EU and Norway on a fisheries agreement.

“Our interests relate to blue whiting and the level of the transfer of blue whiting quota to Norway to pay for other fishing opportunities that the EU is seeking and the level of access to EU waters which, in practice, involves fishing in Ireland’s 200 miles zone,” he said.

“These negotiations will re-commence on Wednesday. The discussions with Irish industry representatives today were very useful and enabled a full consideration of the issues and the negotiating options,” he said.

He said he was pleased that a number of industry representatives would attend and “assist my team as the negotiations progress”.

“I advised that I am continuing to engage directly with EU Fisheries and Environment Commissioner Sinkevicious to ensure that he understands Irelands’ concerns and its priorities in these negotiations,” he said.

The marine minister said he also used the opportunity to provide an update on the voluntary scheme to decommission fishing vessels as recommended by the Seafood Taskforce.

Updating the industry on voluntary decommissioning, which aims to voluntarily remove 8,000 GT and 21,000 KW to “rebalance” the whitefish fleet and improve the viability of the remaining fleet, he said that an increase in budget was required.

He said this was due to the level of interest from vessel owners and the calculations from BIM on the levels of direct payments required to meet the objective of the scheme.

McConalogue said he has successfully sought additional funds from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and secured an updated EU State Aid approval to increase the budget from 60 million euro to 75 million euro, with “tax reliefs increasing proportionately”.

“Offers for voluntary decommissioning will now be made to 57 vessel owners, and the decommissioning of those vessels will make available an extra €34m in quota for the remainder of the whitefish fleet, improving their profitability and securing the future of the fleet,” he said.

“I am satisfied that I have now enabled all those who have chosen to apply for this scheme to receive the full value of the scheme payment as guided by the Seafood Taskforce recommendation,” he said.

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Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has released further details of Ireland’s third whitefish fleet decommissioning scheme.

The information has been issued as a guide to fishing vessel owners who have registered expressions of interest in the scheme, which is being rolled out due to loss of quota as a result of Brexit.

The EU has approved the 80 million euro scheme – involving direct grants of 60 million euro and 20 million euro for tax adjustments – under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR).

Described as “voluntary”, it aims to decommission up to 60 vessels to ensure sustainability of the remaining fleet.

Five categories have been created to calculate the amount which vessels affected by loss of Brexit Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) stocks may receive, BIM says.

It provides for a basic payment of €3,600 per gross tonne(GT), and a “catch incentive premium” of up to €8,400 per GT for quota species covered under the TCA.

This will be calculated by indexing total vessel landings of quota stocks against the maximum total landings of quota stocks by any one vessel within each segment.

Landing data will be supplied by the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), and will relate to a two-year period – either 2018 and 2019, or 2020 and 2021.

The fleet segments which the scheme applies to are: beamers; hake gillnetters’ prawn vessels 12-18m; prawn vessels 18-24m; prawn vessels 24-40m’ seiners; Tier 1; whitefish 12-18m: whitefish 18-24m; whitefish 24-40m;whitefish/prawn <12m.

Vessels within 80% or higher of the maximum total value of landings of TCA stocks within each fleet segment are eligible for 100% of the €8,400 per GT, BIM says.

  • Vessels with between 60-80% of the maximum value are eligible for 80% of the €8,400 (€6,720 per GT).
  • Vessels with between 40-60% of the maximum value are eligible for 60% of the €8,400 (€5,040 per GT).
  • Vessels with between 20-40% of the maximum value are eligible for 40% of the €8,400 (€3,360 per GT).
  • Vessels with landings below 20% of the maximum value are eligible for 20% of the €8,400 per GT (€1,720 per GT).

BIM gives an example to illustrate this - if a vessel with the most landings of TCA quota stocks in the ‘Whitefish 12-18m’ category landed 10 tonnes, any other vessel in the same category which landed eight tonnes or more would be eligible for 100% of the catch incentive premium.

Grant payments will also vary depending on the age and size of the vessel, under a points scheme.

Vessels over 30 years old will get 20 points, while vessels between 20 and 29 years old will get 10 points. Vessels between 10 and 19 years old will get five points.

Vessels greater than 150 GTs will get 20 points; vessels between 100-150 GTs will get 10 points; and vessels between 50-100 GTs will get five points.

Points will also be awarded on the average number of days fished during the two 12-month periods from January 1st 2018, and December 31st, 2019. For example, vessels fishing more than 180 days during this period will get 30 points.

Points will be given on a graded basis also for total landings of TCA stocks by weight as a percentage of total catch average over the two 12-month periods from January 1st 2018, to December 31st 2019.

BIM says EU BAR State Aid Guidelines for the fishery and aquaculture sector stipulate that the amount of aid for permanent cessation related to Brexit will be reduced by the amount of temporary cessation support – as in voluntary tie-up funding - and the amount of income loss support received by operators.

Support provided directly to crew as part of these schemes, such as voluntary tie-up, will not be deducted from the permanent cessation aid payable to vessel owners, it says.

The Brexit Permanent Voluntary Cessation Scheme will open for applicants in September, BIM says.

It says it is not in a position to provide individual calculations in advance of applications being received, but has provided an email address for further queries – [email protected]

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Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue today (Thursday 28 July) welcomed State Aid approval to facilitate the implementation of the voluntary decommissioning scheme for the whitefish fishing fleet recommended by last October’s Report of the Seafood Task Force – Navigating Change.

Reacting to the approval decision by the EU Commission, Minister McConalogue said: “The Seafood Task Force, which included representatives of the five fisheries producer organisations and the four main fisheries cooperatives, recommended in its October 2021 report that a voluntary decommissioning scheme should be implemented to help restore balance between fishing fleet capacity and available quotas, following the reductions in quotas for stocks arising from the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

“I have ensured that the dimensions of the scheme will follow the recommendations of the task force. The task force considered that a scheme targeting the voluntary decommissioning of vessels with total capacity of up to 8,000 gross tonnes and 21,000 kilowatts could restore the viability of the remaining fleet.

“Today’s decision makes way for implementing this key recommendation of the task force which will offer vessel owners a premium of up to €12,000 per gross tonne. This will comprise a basic premium of €3,600 per gross tonne and a catch incentive premium of up to €8,400.

“The catch incentive premium paid will reflect the TCA quota stocks catch history of the vessel applying, ensuring that the scheme is most attractive to active vessels, whose voluntary departure from the fleet can contribute most to rebalancing the remaining fleet with the reduced quota available.”

The minister added: “In line with the recommendations of the task force I am also requiring that owners of vessels who choose to participate in the scheme must ensure that crew working on their vessel are compensated for their loss of livelihood following the decommissioning of their vessel.”

The scheme provides for a payment by the vessel owner to the crew member for each year of service in the fleet, up to a maximum of €50,000 for a crew member who had worked in the fleet for 40 years.

The Seafood Task Force recommended that in order to achieve the objective of improving the viability of the fleet within available fishing quotas post Brexit a package of tax measures be put in place to support vessel owners who choose to apply to leave the fleet under what is a voluntary exit scheme.

The tax measures recommended by the Seafood Task Force in relation to payments under the scheme were enacted on 2 June 2022 through section 15 of the Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022, which provide for beneficial treatment of the scheme payments with regard to capital gains and income tax with potential benefit up to €20 million.

Minister McConalogue concluded: “This scheme flows directly from the recommendations of the Seafood Task Force. I have asked BIM to ensure that the scheme will allow for an adequate period of time for vessel owners to reflect before making what are important decisions in relation to whether or not they wish to avail of the scheme.

“The overall package of measures that are being implemented on foot of the Seafood Taskforce Recommendations will contribute to the long-term viability of the fishing fleet, the wider seafood sector and the coastal communities dependent upon it.”

The scheme will be administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) which will publish full technical details and open the scheme in a matter of weeks. A fund of up to €60 million in direct payments is available to deliver the voluntary scheme.

Further details of the scheme will be available from bim.ie/fisheries/funding/.

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Marine Minister Michael Creed has announced that the implementation of the Pilot Quota Balancing Policy for Demersal (Whitefish) Stocks will be delayed until Monday 1 June.

The Pilot Quota Balancing Policy for Demersal (Whitefish) Stocks (with technical amendment of August 2019) was due to be implemented from 1 January, with quota balancing statements to issue to licence holders by the end of April.

But the minister said he acknowledges the current economic climate has had a significant impact on the seafood industry and has been particularly challenging for vessels in the whitefish fleet — fishing for hake, haddock, monkfish and whiting.

“This delay will allow our whitefish fleet extra time to become familiar with the quota balancing process and to adapt in these unprecedented times,” he said on Friday (24 April).

Quota balancing means that where a vessel lands more than its allocated catch limit for a stock during a fishery management period, a deduction will be made from a future catch limit for that vessel.

It is understood that quota balancing statements for demersal (whitefish) stocks for the calendar months of January 2020 to May 2020 will be issued to licence holders for information purposes only.

Minister Creed has recently come under fire for his reluctance to avail of EU finding to ease the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Ireland’s fishing sector.

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Following a recent public consultation, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has adopted a pilot quota balancing policy for whitefish stocks. This pilot scheme has been developed at the request of, and with the assistance of, the Quota Management Advisory Committee.

It is intended that the pilot quota balancing policy for whitefish stocks will apply from 1 July 2019. A pilot scheme for pelagic stocks was introduced by the Minister on 1 January 2018 and will continue to be in effect.

Quota balancing applies where a vessel’s landings exceed that vessel’s catch limit for a fishery management period. Any fish landed in excess of a vessel’s assigned limit must be paid back by means of a deduction from a future allocation. Where the excess is greater than 10%, a higher ratio of payback applies to the full excess. As this is a pilot system applicable to whitefish stocks, quota balancing will apply to five main commercial stocks initially and further stocks will be subject to quota balancing on a phased basis. The pilot quota balancing policy is a conservation tool to support the industry in fully implementing the discards ban, or landing obligation, which means that fishers have to land all of the fish that they catch.

"The pilot quota balancing policy is a conservation tool"

Minister Creed while welcoming the full implementation of the discards ban, acknowledged the challenges facing the Irish fishing industry. The Minister said today “I fully appreciate that the discards ban has brought about a change of practice for many Irish fishers. I have worked with industry representatives to find a practical means to support the implementation of the discards ban. The pilot quota balancing policy promotes conservation of Irish fishing quotas and also supports coherence between the discards ban and the effective management of the quotas”.

A copy of the policy & information booklet is available on the Department’s website here 

The Quota Management Advisory Committee comprises fishing industry representatives from the catching and processing sectors, who make recommendations to the Minister as to the management of Irish fishing quotas.

A Quota Balancing system is being introduced to assist with the full implementation of the Landing Obligation (or ‘Discards Ban’ as it is also known), as provided for under Article 15 of Regulation (EU) No. 1380/2013. A quota balancing system is a conservation measure that will aid the Minister in matching available quota to actual catch so that incentives to discard are reduced.

Quota balancing means that any fish landed in excess of a vessel’s assigned limit must be paid back by means of a deduction from a future allocation. Where the excess is less than 10%, a payback ratio of 1 to 1 (1: 1) applies to the full excess. Where the excess is greater than 10%, a higher payback ratio will be applied to the full excess, ranging from a payback ratio of 1 to 1.2 (1: 1.2), up as far as a payback ratio of 1 to 2 (1: 2).

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The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. early this morning (Wednesday) announced that he has secured 36,886 tonnes of whitefish quotas for Irish fishermen at today’s EU Fisheries negotiations. This is a 10% increase on last year.

The deal was agreed at 1.30am after 2 days of intensive negotiations.

The whitefish quotas agreed amounted to a value of €131m, an increase of €10m on the 2015 figure.

For the third consecutive year, the values of whitefish and prawn quotas available in 2016 show an increase. The overall 8% increase in quota for prawns, one of Ireland’s most valuable fisheries, includes a quota uplift to support the introduction of the discards ban.

Minister Coveney said, “We are currently rolling out the most radical reform ever agreed under the Common Fisheries Policy. The phasing out of discards is a challenging policy for the fishing community to implement and is being supported by the introduction of quota uplift for fisheries affected. A discards ban will apply to prawn, whiting, haddock and hake fisheries in 2016. Fishermen are being given additional quota to cover the increased landings with an 18% overall increase for these stocks with an additional value of €9m, if more selective fishing methods are used to avoid juvenile catches.”

Minister Coveney added, “The new CFP also introduces a policy that sets quotas at the highest level possible while ensuring the sustainability of the stock (Maximum Sustainable Yield or MSY). This will result in increased quotas and stability for the fishing sector in the coming years.”

In some cases, moving towards MSY will result in short term reductions in quota as we rebuild stocks and we can see that reflected in the 4% reduction in cod in the Celtic Sea and a 13% reduction in the haddock stock in the Celtic Sea. However, the benefits of the policy are visible in the Celtic Sea where we now have an increase of 26% in the whiting stock which is now being managed at MSY levels.

The quotas secured at Council are important for ports around the coast;

- The prawn fishery is Ireland’s most important whitefish fishery and was facing a 10% cut going into Council. The final quota outcome is an 8% increase, an additional €4.8m in value terms over last year for the prawn fleet.

- North West – Greencastle and Killybegs; whitefish quotas have increased by 20% with notable increases in megrim ( 26%), monkfish (20%), north west haddock (42%) and rockhall haddock (25%).

- South and West – Ros a Mhil, Dingle, Castletownbere, Union Hall and Dunmore East; total whitefish quotas have increased by 7%. Notable increases are whiting (26%), Megrim (5%), and Hake (21%).

- The Irish Sea haddock quota is increased by (40%) which is important for the ports of Clogherhead, Howth and Kilmore Quay.

- Other notable increases are the 48% increase in the large horse mackerel quota for the pelagic fleet in the north and west coast and the 3% increase in the albacore tuna for the south west tuna fleet.

In relation to herring off the West and North West coast, further scientific advice is being sought with a view to establishing a small commercial fishery later in the year.

Finally, the Council agreed to strengthened conservation measures for the endangered sea bass stock, including the introduction of a catch and release recreational angling fishery for the first half of 2016, with a one fish bag limit for the second half of the year. This is important for the bass angling tourism business.

Concluding, Minister Coveney said, “Overall, this is a very positive and balanced package for our fishing sector. I am confident this deal for 2016 will support further growth in the seafood sector while underpinning the long term sustainability of fish stocks.”

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#whitefish – Following 48 hours of intensive negotiations the Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D., said tonight that he was relieved that he had successfully managed to turn an extremely worrying proposal from the European Commission into a much improved outcome for the Irish whitefish industry.

The Minister said "The total €123m value of quotas secured for the whitefish fishermen amounts to a small increase from last year. This is a good result overall and is a long way from the original Commission proposals which would have resulted in very significant losses to our fleet". The original Commission proposal included a 20% reduction in whitefish quotas, involving a direct income reduction of €18m for our fishermen.

The Minster said "I am particularly pleased to have persuaded the Commission to reverse the proposed 14% cut in the prawn quota, the most important fishery for the whitefish fleet. We succeeded in getting the Commission to follow the scientific advice for prawns and apply a 3% increase in our quota for this extremely important €60m fishery. This was my number one priority heading into these negotiations and it took a lot of effort to convince the Commission of the merits of our arguments. I have also secured an 11% increase in the important hake fishery and maintained quotas for the economically important monkfish and megrim stocks. This involves a total landing value of €27million to the whitefish fleet operating in the Celtic Sea."

Other details negotiated include;

In the North West, a 20% increase in monkfish quota; a minor increase for the megrim quota, a doubling of the Rockall haddock quota and a 14 % increase in Donegal haddock for the ports of Greencastle and Killybegs
For the South and West coasts and the Irish Sea, a 3% increase in the €60 million prawn fishery which benefits the ports of Clogherhead, Howth, Union Hall, Castletownbere, Dingle and Ros a Mhil.
For the South West, a 11% increase in hake, no change in monkfish and megrim which together provide for a € 27m fishery, mainly important for the southern ports of Castletownbere and Dingle;
For the mixed whitefish fisheries off the South and West coasts, a 12 % reduction in haddock (down from a 41% proposed cut); a 13% cut in cod (reduced from the 64% proposed cut) and 12% reduction in whiting (from a proposed 14% cut).

The Minister explained "The most difficult area coming into these negotiations was the Commission proposal for cod, haddock and whiting in the Celtic Sea. I successfully resisted very substantial cuts in cod and haddock quotas following extremely difficult negotiations. We were able to bring to the table an Irish industry initiative to introduce new fishing gear in 2015 that will allow more young fish to escape and this assisted me greatly in getting the proposed severe cuts (-64% Cod and -41% Haddock) brought down to more manageable levels. This important initiative, it is estimated, will reduce discards of haddock and whiting in the Celtic Sea by some 4,000 tonnes each year - a 30% reduction in total discards of these stocks. It will assist greatly in providing a solid basis for the growth of these fish stocks in the Celtic Sea and should support quota increases in the coming years and the fishing industry should be commended for their initiative."

The Minister concluded "the package agreed for whitefish quotas for Irish fishermen in 2015 represents a successful outcome considering the depth of cuts proposed by the Commission at the start of these Council negotiations. We can face into 2015 having secured an increase for our vitally important prawn fishery and stability for many of our valuable stocks around our coast. This is a good outcome for the fishing industry and it also supports a sustainable approach to protecting our fish stocks"

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#whitefish – Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney TD., has expressed his serious concern at the major threat to Irelands' whitefish fleet, ahead of the upcoming EU Fisheries negotiations in Brussels. The Minister said that the Commission had produced a devastating and unnecessary set of the most severe whitefish quota cuts.
Minister Coveney said today that "If the Commission's quota proposals remain unchanged, we are facing an overall 20% cut to our whitefish and prawn quotas for 2015. In the Celtic Sea, the Commission wants to dramatically cut the key whitefish stocks on which our fleet are dependant".
The Commission's proposal is to cut Cod by -64%, Haddock by -41%, Pollack by -20%, Skates & Rays by -20%, Whiting by -14%, Monkfish by -12% and Hake by -4%. Minister Coveney said "There are also a number of other stocks where cuts of up to 20% are proposed without an acceptable justification. These levels of cuts are not justified and are not acceptable".
The Minister added that "I presented the scale and implications of these cuts to the joint Oireachtas Committee last week. (The Whitefish Fleet is facing a loss of 5,500 tonnes of whitefish quotas if the Commission's proposals are not modified at Council). The level of cuts proposed for the whitefish fisheries are extremely worrying. What is really unacceptable to me is the fact that many of these cuts are based on a very narrow interpretation of the available scientific advice and are, in my view, completely unjustified. I can accept reductions to quotas to protect the long term sustainability of our stocks but I will not accept scientifically unnecessary cuts that would undermine the sustainability of our fishing communities."
The Minister went on to say "I am frustrated with the Commission's whitefish quota proposals and I will, with the support of our industry representatives, other stakeholders and our scientists be arguing forcefully throughout the Council for a rational application of the scientific advice."
The Minister added that "I find it especially unacceptable that, in the context of the new Common Fisheries Policy and in particular the impending ban on discards, the Commission are taking such a rigid approach to the setting of quotas for 2015."
The Minister explained that " I am committed to setting quotas in accordance with Maximum Sustainable Yield (fMSY) but, in line with the agreement I brokered on the new Common Fisheries Policy, we must phase it in where it's immediate application would seriously jeopardize the social and economic fabric of the fishing fleets impacted. The Commission proposals assume its immediate application irrespective of the socio economic implications. This is not acceptable"
The Minister will attend the EU Fisheries Council in Brussels from the 15th to the 16th of December, where quotas for the Irish fleet for 2015 will be determined. The proposals put forward from the Commission impact the Irish white fish sector in particular with severe cuts in many stocks of vital importance to Ireland. The Commission has proposed cuts to pelagic stocks such as herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and boarfish. The Minister, working with our industry, is willing to accept these cuts on the basis they are justified on the available scientific advice.
Concluding, Minister Coveney said "This is my fourth December Fisheries Council and each year it seems to get more difficult. This year looks like being the most difficult one yet. I am extremely worried that despite our collective efforts we will be presented with a fait accompli of the worst set of cuts to our quotas in recent years. I will work as hard as I can with industry and other stakeholders, as well as important Member States such as France, the UK and Spain, to try and avoid that outcome. I am however very concerned that this will be an uphill task given the scale of the whitefish cuts being proposed."

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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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