#Addressing the 'Our Ocean Wealth Conference' today, Simon Coveney, TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine outlined the significant progress made to date in implementing the Government's 2012 Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth: An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland.
The Minister said "today's event brings together some of the most important figures in the Marine sector, and places it firmly in the spotlight as an industry with a significant economic and social contribution to make. It provides us with an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved since Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth was published and to consider how to meet future opportunities and challenges".
Minister Coveney said that "I have spoken today about the many initiatives which have flowed directly or indirectly from HOOW. Integrating our marine policy is leading to significant results already but this is not a short term strategy. The target of doubling the percentage of GDP contributed by marine sector is an ambitious one but is more than achievable. Reaching those targets will depend on public and private sectors working collectively to make our ambitions for the sector a reality. We must be bold and radical in our ambitions for the sector and open to a range of new ideas".
In concluding his Address, Minister Coveney said that "HOOW has had some early successes in terms of implementation of the early actions identified in the plan but we must not underestimate the significant challenges which lie ahead. We can now finally envisage a potential golden era for Ireland's marine sector and today's conference is both timely and relevant in contributing to the pathways ahead towards a vibrant marine economy".
The Conference was opened by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D. and included contributions from Minister Coveney, Pat Rabbitte, T.D., Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Sean Sherlock, T.D., Minister for Research & Innovation; and Fergus O'Dowd, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Minister Susan Sullivan from the Government of Newfoundland /Labrador, Canada also spoke at the Conference.
The Keynote Address was delivered by Miguel Marques, Economy of the Sea: Executive Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers on the subject of A Global Perspective on the Economy of the Sea. The Conference covered four main themes: The Global Opportunity for Irish Seafood; Research & Innovation and Emerging Sectors; Energy – Offshore Hydrocarbons and Where Land Meets the Sea – Opportunities and Challenges for Marine Tourism. Key speakers addressed these four themes followed by a panel discussion with relevant stakeholders.
The Conference is the first annual review of the Plan and was attended by over 400 delegates from the public and private sector with an involvement in the marine sector.