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A geographer has been awarded €300,000 in funding to lead the Irish stage of a European project aiming to boost the transformation towards a “climate neutral” blue economy.

Dr John Morrissey, lecturer in geography at Limerick’s Mary Immaculate College, will lead the Irish research element of Aquabalance, a project under the EU’s “Blue Economy Partnership” programme.

The research, which has received €1.3 million between partner researchers in Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Italy, will run for three years.

The project funding comes at a time when the EU is trying to encourage discourse around “blue economies—coastal and marine communities—as new economic space”, Dr Morrisey explains:

“Our economic priorities in Ireland often don’t reflect that we are an island nation. There’s huge potential in the likes of off-shore wind and the rejuvenation of coastal communities and this project will look at new ways of thinking about and designing models for aquaculture in regional contexts,” he says.

“For example, how can a community have salmon farms that benefit the local area, do not harm the environment and fundamentally benefit everyone?,” he says.

“In particular, Aquabalance will focus on the sustainable development challenges of aquaculture in Europe, contributing to the goals of the EU “Farm to Fork” strategy and tackling the grand challenges of climate change and social justice,” he says.

“This project takes a multi-national and transdisciplinary approach to understanding emerging blue economies, focusing in particular on dilemmas associated with rebalancing the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of sustainability,” he says.

Prof Natalia Maehle, Aquabalance project coordinator, says this is “a cutting-edge project that will provide the aquaculture industry and stakeholders with a wide range of new knowledge and evidence-based recommendations to ensure its social legitimacy and sustainability”.

A three-year funded PhD, and a postdoctoral research contract for two years, is also included in the funding.

Published in Marine Science
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The panel of blue bioeconomy experts has been announced for the Marine Ireland Industry Network’s ‘MIIN in Kerry’ event next week.

Taking place during Bioeconomy Ireland Week on Friday 20 October at the Rose Hotel in Tralee, Co Kerry, as previously reported on, the event will welcome blue bioeconomy experts as well as national and regional stakeholders a host of marine industry companies to discuss some of the key topics driving sustainability, growth and development of the sector.

The blue bioeconomy panel will be moderated by Máire Éinniu of Údarás na Gaeltachta and includes Catriona Power of Circular Bioeconomy Cluster, John Browne of De Brun Iasc Teo, Tim Yeomans of Shannon ABC and Deirdre Wall of Brandon Bioscience.

Registration for this event is free but limited, so MIIN recommends registering early to avoid disappointment. Those interested can register online and find more information on the MIIN website.

The blue bioeconomy panelists are as follows:

  • Máire Éinniu, Údarás na Gaeltachta (moderator): Máire supports high potential start-ups and assisting SMEs with their growth plans, and leading the strategic projects of Páirc na Mara development and Ros a Mhil. Meanwhile, Údarás na Gaeltachta (UnaG) is a regional state agency which is responsible for the economic, social and cultural development of Gaeltacht regions of Ireland.
  • Catriona Power, Circular Bioeconomy Cluster (panellist): Catriona is the project lead and contact point for the Circular Bioeconomy Cluster based at Munster Technological University, working at the intersection of innovation, sustainable technology and business for organisations in Canada, UK and Europe. Meanwhile, the Circular Bioeconomy Cluster South-west is the first-of-a-kind regional bioeconomy cluster in Ireland with a focus on marine, agriculture and waste-to-value thematic areas, our goal is to develop and promote the circular bioeconomy in the South-West region.
  • John Browne, De Brun Iasc Teo (panellist): De Brun Iasc Teoranta processes seafood in Ireland, and is based in Ballinaboula just outside of Dingle in Co Kerry. Set up in 1984, this second-generation business also supplies many restaurants and cruise ships with crab, prawns and salmon.
  • Tim Yeomans, Shannon ABC (panellist): Tim Yeomans works to devise and deliver projects to benefit the company’s bottom line, responsible for business development activities, scientific and strategic development of Shannon ABC, and financial reporting. Shannon ABC was established in 2008 as a collaboration between Limerick IT and IT Tralee, working with companies in the biotech, food, and life science sectors.
  • Deirdre Wall, Brandon Bioscience (panellist): Brandon Bioscience is a community of scientists, farmers, and innovators who share the goal of creating a more sustainable future for agriculture. Their mission is to provide targeted performance biostimulants that increase the quality and yield of food crops while delivering excellence in innovation, manufacturing and customer satisfaction. Founded in 1998 in County Kerry, Ireland, they have grown to export precision biostimulants to over 44 countries worldwide.

Supported by Enterprise Ireland and the Marine Institute, MIIN provides a key collaboration resource for Irish companies in the marine sector, facilitating not just inter-company engagement but also providing a one-stop shop for external buyers to get a view of Irish marine industry capability.

Published in News Update

The Marine Ireland Industry Network (MIIN) has announced its upcoming ‘MIIN in Kerry’ event on Friday 20 October at the Rose Hotel in Tralee, Co Kerry.

Taking place during this year’s Bioeconomy Ireland Week, the event will host blue bioeconomy experts as well as national and regional stakeholders such as Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Circular Bioeconomy Cluster South West and a host of marine industry companies with expertise in the blue bioeconomy.

MIIN says it is looking forward to discussing some of the key topics driving sustainability, growth and development of the sector.

This year’s Bioeconomy Ireland Week theme is All Voices Together, where stakeholders across Ireland’s bioeconomy will demonstrate and share how the natural environment can be utilised in a sustainable and circular way to help achieve a fair and prosperous economy on the Irish shores.

MIIN aims to showcase a host of local and regional MIIN member companies at #MIINinKerry who boast plenty of experience and expertise working in the blue bioeconomy.

Registration for this event is free but limited, so MIIN recommends registering early to avoid disappointment. Get in touch with [email protected] for more information and follow updates on the MIIN website and social media channels.

Supported by Enterprise Ireland and the Marine Institute, MIIN provides a key collaboration resource for Irish companies in the marine sector, facilitating not just inter-company engagement but also providing a one-stop shop for external buyers to get a view of Irish marine industry capability.

Published in News Update

Cabo Verde and The Ocean Race have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that could see the island archipelago host stopovers and future meetings of The Ocean Race Summits in partnership with the iconic around the world sailing event.

The MOU would see The Ocean Race Summits — a congress of change-makers from across government, industry, NGOs and the scientific community — return to Cabo Verde, as well as the racing fleet during the next around the world races.

The arrangement was announced in New York on Monday (18 September) by Ulisses Correia e Silva, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde, who was participating in the latest The Ocean Race Summit by tabling a proposal to the General Assembly of the United Nations on Ocean Rights.

“Cabo Verde and The Ocean Race have established a special partnership through the signing of an MOU today. This collaboration is designed to promote the Rights of the Ocean, the Ocean Science programme, the blue economy and Cabo Verde as a tourist destination in water sports and eco-tourism,” the Prime Minister said at The Ocean Race Summit, as Cabo Verde leads the charge on this critical diplomatic path forward to restoring ocean health.

“In Cabo Verde we have a partner who is pushing forward at the leading edge of a movement and shares our vision that sport can play a role in protecting the ocean,” said Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race.

“In January of this year we hosted a very successful edition of The Ocean Race Summit in Cabo Verde and together with Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva, we welcomed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss the importance of Ocean Rights as a way to protect and restore health of the ocean.

The Ocean Race Summits presents Ocean Rights in the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday 18 September. From left: Tania Romualdo, Permanent Representative of Cabo Verde to the UN; Ulisses Correia e Silva, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde; and Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean RaceThe Ocean Race Summits presents Ocean Rights in the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday 18 September. From left: Tania Romualdo, Permanent Representative of Cabo Verde to the UN; Ulisses Correia e Silva, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde; and Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean Race

“This week we have taken another step on that journey with the introduction of Ocean Rights at the United Nations. This is the first step towards a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights, in Cabo Verde, and in Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva we have a steadfast partner to join us on this mission in a way that will benefit all stakeholders of the race.”

Working towards a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights is part of The Ocean Race’s multi-award winning Racing with Purpose sustainability programme developed in collaboration with 11th Hour Racing, a premier partner of The Ocean Race.

The islands of Cabo Verde have long been a tactical landmark for sailors competing in The Ocean Race, who have historically needed to decide whether to weave between the islands, or to avoid the potential wind shadows by giving the archipelago a wide berth.

The 2023 race was the first time the race made a stop in Mindelo, Cabo Verde and the stopover was hailed as a great success, with over 70,000 visitors to Ocean Live Park and over 2,200 school children taking part at in-person educational workshops. The Ocean Race Summit in Mindelo had 344 participants and 40 international media covering the event.

The 14th edition of The Ocean Race finished in July in Genoa, Italy with 11th Hour Racing Team (USA) as the winning team. As part of a 10-year plan, the next two editions of the around the world race will take place in 2026-27 and 2030-31, while The Ocean Race Europe will take place in August-September of 2025 and again in 2029.

Published in Ocean Race

The fast-changing and evolving landscape of Ireland’s post-Brexit blue economy mean the skills needed for these types of jobs in coastal communities are also changing and evolving.

Individuals already working in the blue economy who want to develop their career or those who would like start to work in the blue economy are being urged to apply for training grants of up to €10,000 available under the €25 million Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Scheme, which is being administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

The blue economy covers a wide range of economic activities within coastal communities. In Ireland, about 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast and many communities along the Irish coast depend on blue economy industries such as tourism, fishing and aquaculture.

As well as providing funding of up to €200,000 for capital projects, the recently launched Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Scheme also provides funding of up to €10,000 per applicant for skills development and training.

Given that many courses begin term in the autumn, BIM is calling on all interested parties to visit its website to learn more about the grants that are available for skills and development.

Brenda O’Riordan, regional officer at BIM said having the right skills and training can help businesses manage change and the growing need to be more flexible and adaptable within today’s blue economy. 

“One of the certainties for anyone working today is the need to be able to adapt to change,” she said. “For example, having digital skills is increasingly important for many seafood and other blue economy businesses, as more transactions move online. This is just one example of where an individual could really enhance their skills for the benefit of themselves and the wider coastal community.”

The Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Scheme is an initiative of the Government of Ireland and is being administered by BIM. The aim of this new scheme is to help address economic and social impact of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union for businesses operating in the blue economy and located in communities within 10km of the coastline.

The scheme has a €25 million budget available in 2022 and 2023, funded under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve. For more details visit

Published in Coastal Notes

The Marine Institute and the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at NUI Galway are conducting a survey of marine and marine-related businesses as part of the regular reporting on Ireland’s Ocean Economy.

Although the CSO and other State organisations provide some data on marine related economic activity, the Marine Institute says there is a need to supplement this data with company surveys across a number of sectors in the growing blue economy.

These include advanced marine technology products and services, offshore renewable energy, marine commerce and legal services, marine manufacturing, construction and engineering.

The survey began this month and will continue in July, with the results published later this year. In addition to general economic figures collected, this year’s survey includes a section on the impact of COVID-19 and other external factors effecting marine businesses.

Queries regarding the survey should be directed to Marie-Christin Lanser, scientific technical officer with the Marine Socio-Economic and Social Data Programme at [email protected] or Prof Stephen Hynes, director of SEMRU at NUIG at [email protected].

Published in News Update

The European Maritime Day (EMD) the annual two-day (19-20 May) event takes place in Ravenna, Italy during which Europe’s maritime community meet to network, discuss and outline joint action on maritime affairs and sustainable blue economy.

EMD is the place where ‘Ocean Leaders Meet’. It provides an engaging and complete interactive experience to catch up on the current state of play on a broad range of issues concerning the blue economy and the marine environment and discuss ways of moving forward. It features a large number of excellent speakers, thematic sessions, stakeholder workshops and project pitch sessions organised by stakeholders and the European Commission as well as hundreds of B2B meeting opportunities. EMD targets professionals from businesses, governments, public institutions, NGOs and academia.

The 2022 edition of European Maritime Day is a hybrid event for 750 physical participants. This year’s main theme is ‘Sustainable blue economy for green recovery’.

All the sessions will be organised in a physical format, with speakers and moderators in the venue. In parallel, all the sessions (plenaries, workshops, pitch stage sessions) will be available for remote participants via webstreaming or ZOOM.

EMD 2022 will also host the EU4Ocean Summit (on day 2 – 20 May), focusing on Ocean and Climate, Food from the Ocean and Healthy and Clean Oceans. (See, related Marine Institute's celebratration of Marine Research Vessels and Ocean Explorers – Our Past, Present and Future).

The EMD is co-organised by the European Commission, the City of Ravenna, the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructures and Sustainable Mobility and the Region of Emilia-Romagna.

In parallel with EMD Conference in Ravenna, there will be plenty of 'EMD In My Country 2022' events taking place all over Europe from April to October 2022.  

Published in Marine Science

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue has announced a new Brexit mitigation scheme to promote the blue economy and to be delivered through the seven Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs).

Announcing the scheme in his opening address at the Irish Skipper Expo in Limerick today (Friday 25 March), Minister McConalogue said it is “designed to assist coastal communities to overcome the impacts of Brexit and grow and diversify their local economies by promoting the growth of the wider blue economy”.

He continued: “The Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme will have a €25 million budget for the years 2022 and 2023, funded under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve. The scheme will offer grants of up to €200,000 for entrepreneurial initiatives by micro and small enterprises operating in the blue economy, within the 10km coastal remit of the seven FLAGs.

“Stimulating entrepreneurial activity in the blue economy will provide a post-Brexit stimulus to the economies of our coastal communities.

“The scheme will support capital investment projects and business mentoring and capacity development by enterprises engaged in the blue economy and also upskilling and training to support individuals to build on their existing skills and knowledge to develop new complementary skills that will enable them to exploit economic opportunities in the blue economy.”

Minister McConalogue also announced the implementation of a further recommendation of the Seafood Task Force: a Brexit Inshore Marketing Scheme designed to assist the inshore fisheries sector to mitigate the impacts of Brexit by growing value in existing markets and developing new markets.

“As part of this scheme, I have approved Bord Bia’s marketing plan for 2022 for inshore fisheries products and this will focus on supporting the sales and promotion of inshore species such as Irish crab, lobster, whelks, inshore herring/mackerel and line caught hake and pollock on both the domestic and export markets,” he said.

“The plan was developed by Bord Bia in consultation with industry stakeholders and the main inshore exporters and processors. The 2022 marketing plan will have a budget of €615,000.”

Continuation of both schemes after 2023 will be examined as part of the development of the forthcoming Seafood Development Programme, as recommended by the Seafood Task Force.

Further details will be available from Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

Published in Fishing

The Atlantic Smart Ports Blue Acceleration Network’s (AspBAN) programme for startups aims to develop innovative solutions to the needs, challenges and innovation priorities of the ports of the Atlantic.

Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, highlighted the role of the project — which is co-financed by the European Union under the European Maritime Fund and Fisheries — for its contribution to the implementation of the Action Plan for the Atlantic 2.0.

AspBAN’s Acceleration Services programme will consist of weekly workshops on topics related to product-market fit, collaborating within the blue economy, metrics, implementing and scaling and so on. These will be complemented by mentoring sessions with experts.

Every two months a pitch session will be hosted, where start-ups will be pitching to investors, ports and other relevant stakeholders in the ever-growing AspBAN network.

The programme is focused on strengthening innovation in the European blue economy, with a clear focus on sustainability. Therefore, it will be open for start-ups that are both able and willing to implement their sustainable solutions in AspBAN’s focus countries: Portugal, Spain, France and Ireland.

Also, start-ups should have at least a prototype ready and be prepared to raise money.

“The Acceleration Services programme is a deep dive into the European Innovation ecosystem of Atlantic blue ports,” says Ana Pinela, project coordinator for Beta-i Collaborative Innovation.

“It will involve sharing specific knowledge while connecting the participating start-ups to relevant investors, like-minded people and mentors to accelerate their businesses. Also, it will allow start-ups to connect with other start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs in a universe of Atlantic blue ports.

“We’re searching for innovative start-ups, whose cutting-edge solutions may contribute to boosting digitalisation and improve operational efficiency, green transition and positive impact on achieving sustainability metrics, and for the emergence of new businesses for the ports in the blue economy area.

“AspBAN aims at kicking off a dynamic start-up acceleration ecosystem where EU Atlantic ports will work as blue economy hubs.”

The Acceleration Services programme is free of charge and start-ups may apply until next Friday 15 October 2021. For further details, visit the AspBAN project 2021 microsite HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

An upcoming webinar hosted by the Marine Ireland Industry Network aims to highlight ‘Ireland’s Blue Edge in Innovation’.

The showcase of Irish marine clusters and technology companies will be hosted on the GoToWebinar platform on Thursday 30 September from 11am to 12.30pm. Registration is open HERE.

Three industry clusters will be showcased, namely offshore wind power, the marine bioeconomy and commercial fishing in Killybegs.

There will also be presentations from four Irish companies innovating in the marine sectorL Raceix, Cathx Ocean, Dublin Offshore Consultants and Druid Software.

For more details contact [email protected]

Published in News Update
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