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‘Blue Economy’ Outperforming General Economy Says New Report

2nd July 2017
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Marine Institute CEO Dr Peter Heffernan with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Hildegarde Naughton TD out and about at SeaFest on Saturday 1 July Marine Institute CEO Dr Peter Heffernan with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Hildegarde Naughton TD out and about at SeaFest on Saturday 1 July Photo: Andrew Downes/xposure

#BlueEconomy - The ‘blue economy’ is outperforming Ireland’s general economy, according to Galway’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit.

Figures from the fourth SEMRU report released for the Our Ocean Wealth Summit on Friday (30 June) show that the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy was €1.8 billon, or around 0.9% of GDP in 2016 - a 20% increase on 2014 levels.

The ‘blue economy’ also provided jobs for more than 30,000 people in 2016, the report noted.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan welcomed SEMRU’s findings during Friday’s summit at NUI Galway as part of SeaFest 2017.

“Investment in research for Ireland’s marine sector has been essential in shaping the strategic development of our blue economy,” he said. “These timely marine economic statistics are vital for evidence-based policy and decision making. 

“It’s very encouraging to see that established sectors are performing so well, and that emerging sectors such as those providing advanced marine technology products and services, and renewable energy, are experiencing rapid growth in Ireland's ocean economy.”

Dr Heffernan added: “The ambition set out in the Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth Strategy is to achieve a €6.4 billion ocean economy by 2020 and to do this in a sustainable manner requires joined up thinking and close collaboration between agencies and organisations driving innovation, progress and success in our marine sector.

“The SEMRU reports are a key component of Ireland's marine strategy which requires comprehensive and targeted surveys and reporting, so that we can benchmark the marine sector with other sectors, monitor progress and performance and create a better understanding of the dynamics of the marine sector.”

Friday also saw the launch of Ireland’s National Marine Research & Innovation Strategy by Marine Minister Michael Creed. The new plan, which covers 2017 to 2021, was welcomed by Marine Institute chair Dr John Killeen.

“The Marine Institute, as the national agency for marine research and development, was pleased to co-ordinate the development of this strategy,” he said. “We look forward to it informing the Institute's investments, including our plans to co-fund with other government agencies and departments on projects in a range of marine related research disciplines.”

The Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth Progress Report 2017 was also published at the summit, which took place as part of SeaFest, the national maritime festival, which concludes today (Sunday 2 July) in Galway.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attended events in the City of the Tribes yesterday (Saturday 1 July), greeting festival goers as he explored the activities and entertainment at Galway Harbour and Docks.

This included tours of scientific vessels like the RV Celtic Explorer, and seeing local boatbuilders’ demonstration of their craft.

Published in News Update
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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