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Displaying items by tag: Marine Institute

The importance of aquaculture in providing a sustainable food supply was highlighted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) director general Dr Qu Dongyu on a recent visit to south Galway bay.

Speaking at Kellys’ Oyster farm, Dr Dongyu also emphasised the importance of slow tourism and noted that many visitors to the area enjoy the “oyster experience”.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Rick Officer explained how the Marine Institute's environmental monitoring, fish health and seafood safety programmes support local aquaculture management systems.

Dr Dongyu warmly praised the Irish approach, and its strong alignment to the FAO's strategic aims for “better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Members of the Cuan Beo environmental group displayed their native oyster restoration project, economic assessment of the catchment area, and programmes engaging local communities in the marine.

The FAO director general was also shown their recent QR code project which displays localised ocean data to fishers and the wider public at sea access points in Galway and Clare.

Teagasc, the agricultural advisory organisation, was represented by Anne Kinsella who highlighted the organisation’s role in agritourism and artisan foods.

The stop at Kelly Oysters was part of an official visit to Ireland by Dr Dongyu, where he presented the FAO’s Agricola Medal to President Michael D Higgins.

The medal, which bears the Latin name for “farmer”, is conferred upon international figures who have undertaken outstanding efforts in advancing the cause of global food security, poverty alleviation and nutrition.

President Higgins is the first Irish recipient of the Agricola Medal.

Published in Aquaculture

Progress on the Marine Institute’s digital services development was presented at the 2024 International Conference on Marine Data and Information Systems (IMDIS) in Bergen, Norway.

The conference showcased advances in marine data and digital programmes across the international community, which are important for managing and sustainably developing our marine spaces and better understanding marine-related climate change.

Michael Gillooly, Director of Ocean Climate and Information Services at the Marine Institute, said, “There has been significant progress, at both national and international levels, in the development of marine digital services, tools, infrastructures and data management best practices to make valuable marine data available and applicable to understanding and managing our oceans.”

Eoin O’Grady, Manager of Information Systems and Development at the Marine Institute delivered a keynote presentation on Ireland’s Digital Ocean programme and how it is adopting Digital Twins of the Ocean to make marine data and information more readily usable. A Digital Twin is a virtual representation of the ocean environment. These new virtual marine models will help us to better understand what is happening in our oceans and to forecast what might happen in the future. Digital Twins will help to inform the policies and programmes that manage our marine areas.

Tara Keena, Data Analyst at the Marine Institute, presented on how the Institute manages marine data, based on international standards and accreditations, to support the development of a trusted Irish marine evidence base to underpin future marine policies and programmes. The Marine Institute is recognised by UNESCO’s International Ocean Data and Information Exchange (IODE) programme as the National Oceanographic Data Centre for Ireland, with its quality assurance framework accreditation. The data managed through the centre provide the evidence needed for Digital Twins of the Ocean and related digital decision support services for our marine sectors.

“Establishing Digital Twins for our oceans will help make trusted marine knowledge more readily available to policy makers, stakeholders, businesses, scientists, and citizens,” Mr Gillooly said. “Digital Twins of the Ocean, based on quality assured marine scientific and socio-economic data, will provide the digital evidence base and tools to enable the digital transformation of Ireland’s marine and maritime sectors. They support important areas such as planning and licensing, management of sustainable fisheries, climate adaption and mitigation, environmental management, aquaculture management, offshore renewable energy infrastructure development, transport and port operations.”

Two Marine Institute posters presented at the IMDIS conference highlighted important uses of Irish marine scientific data:

"Progress on increasing quality and transparency in ICES commercial fisheries data" by David Currie, Fisheries Data Team Lead, and,
"Management of spatial data integrity including stakeholder feedback in Maritime Spatial Planning - A Perspective from Ireland" by Tara Keena.

Published in Marine Science
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The Marine Institute is proud highlighting the importance of the ocean surrounding our shores by celebrating UN World Oceans Day on Saturday, 8th June 2024.

The United Nations World Oceans Day takes places on 8th June each year, and raises awareness of the major role the oceans play in our everyday lives, and our individual and collective duty to use ocean resources sustainably.

“Our oceans are a resource that we must manage and protect - they support diverse ecosystems, are a source of food, influence our climate and weather, and offer countless benefits to our health and wellbeing,” said Dr Rick Officer, CEO of the Marine Institute. “Ireland’s ocean economy employs about 33,500 people, helping to sustain coastal communities and marine and maritime industries such as fisheries, aquaculture, ports and shipping, technology, and tourism.”

Ireland’s ocean economy employs about 33,500 people, helping to sustain coastal communities and marine and maritime industries such as fisheries, aquaculture, ports and shipping, technology, and tourismIreland’s ocean economy employs about 33,500 people, helping to sustain coastal communities and marine and maritime industries such as fisheries, aquaculture, ports and shipping, technology, and tourism

Dr Officer added, “Ireland’s marine resources are central to many of the complex challenges facing society, including achieving food and energy security and adapting to climate change. At the Marine Institute, we provide the essential ocean science and knowledge needed to navigate these challenges, develop new opportunities, and protect Ireland’s vital marine resources.”

The Marine Institute is Ireland’s scientific agency responsible for supporting the sustainable development of the state’s maritime area and resources. The Institute conducts applied research and provides scientific knowledge, advice and services to government, industry and other stakeholders.

The theme for UN World Oceans Day 2024 is ‘Awaken New Depths’ which aims to build widespread appreciation for the ocean and awaken new depths of understanding, compassion, collaboration, and commitment for the oceans and all they sustain.

Published in Marine Science

In honour of World Oceans Day on June 8th, the Marine Institute has revealed the fifteen primary schools in Ireland that have been shortlisted for the Explorers Education Programme’s Ocean Champion Awards 2023-2024.

Patricia Orme, Corporate Services Director of the Marine Institute, praised the teachers and children for their outstanding projects, emphasising the importance of ocean literacy and community collaboration in preserving the marine environment.

The concept of ocean literacy, coined twenty years ago in the USA, has gained momentum in Ireland through the efforts of the Explorers Education Programme. According to Ms. Orme, this year's project applications showcased a strong focus on ocean literacy and the arts, reflecting the growing awareness of the ocean's significance.

Projects from schools in nine coastal counties highlighted the diverse ways in which communities connect with the ocean, from Donegal to Kerry and from Cork to Dublin. The initiatives demonstrated significant community engagement, influencing behavioral changes and promoting a sustainable ocean and blue future.

The successful projects encompassed a wide range of activities, including art exhibitions, documentary films, rock sculptures, and environmental education efforts. Ms. Orme expressed excitement about the upcoming announcement of winners and the recognition of schools' outstanding achievements.

The selected schools will be awarded under different categories such as Marine STEAM, Ocean Literacy and the Arts, SDGs & the Ocean, and Marine Outdoor Education. The presentation of plaques and certificates will be organized by the Explorers teams throughout June, coinciding with the World Oceans Day celebrations.

15 Primary Schools Shortlisted for Explorers Ocean Champions Awards

15 Primary Schools Shortlisted for Explorers Ocean Champions Awards15 Primary Schools Shortlisted for Explorers Ocean Champions Awards

Published in Marine Science
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The Bronze Famine Shoes, an iconic representation of Ireland’s historic Famine Heritage Trail will soon be making their way across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada aboard the Marine Institute’s Research Vessel Celtic Explorer. The symbolic sculptures, crafted by artist Alannah O'Kelly, pay tribute to the millions affected by the devastating Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852. The journey to Canada follows the launch of the Global Irish Famine Way, a project aimed at raising awareness about the significant historical event and its enduring impact on Irish communities worldwide.

The Bronze Famine Shoes serve as a powerful symbol of remembrance for the victims of the famine, and the forced migration of Irish people during that period. The decision to bring the sculptures to Canada highlights the shared history and cultural ties between Ireland and Canada, particularly the significant Irish diaspora in Canada. It presents an opportunity to engage Canadian audiences in meaningful conversations about Irish migration, resilience, and commemoration.

The Marine Institute is proud to partner with Strokestown House to bring the Bronze Famine Shoes to Canada aboard the RV Celtic Explorer. This collaboration combines the expertise of the Marine Institute in maritime research and cultural exchange with Strokestown House's commitment to preserving Irish heritage and fostering dialogue about the Great Irish Famine.

The RV Celtic Explorer is Ireland’s largest national research vessel and has played an essential role in fisheries surveys, seabed mapping, and oceanographic research for over 20 years. The vessel will travel to St. Johns, Newfoundland to mobilize for a significant survey along the western Greenland shelf as part of the Biological Carbon Export in the Labrador Sea (BELAS) survey. This international, collaborative, interdisciplinary survey is being led by the University of Galway with partners from Dalhousie University of Nova Scotia and Memorial University of Newfoundland, and is supported by Ship-time funding from the Marine Institute, the Canadian Research council, the Ocean frontiers Institute (Canada) as well as the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre in Applied Geosciences, University College Dublin (iCRAG).

Caroilin Callery of the Irish Famine Way with the replica Bronze Shoes that are to be transported and presented in Canada during a Marine Institute research trip Photo: Andrew DownesCaroilin Callery of the Irish Famine Way with the replica Bronze Shoes that are to be transported and presented in Canada during a Marine Institute research trip Photo: Andrew Downes 

Dr Rick Officer, CEO Marine Institute, expressed his honor in bringing the Bronze Famine Shoes to Canada aboard the RV Celtic Explorer. He stated that “This journey represents a powerful symbol of solidarity and remembrance, highlighting the enduring legacy of the Great Irish Famine and its impact on Irish communities around the world.”

The arrival of the Bronze Famine Shoes in St. Johns will be marked by the launch of the Global Irish Famine Way, and a series of events and exhibitions hosted by Dept of Foreign Affairs, Strokestown House, and their partners. 

Published in Marine Science

Applications are currently being accepted for ship time on Ireland’s national marine science research vessels in 2025 and 2026.

In addition to the RV Tom Crean and RV Celtic Explorer, time is also offered on the ROV Holland I as well as the Marine Institute’s Slocum Glider submersibles Laochra na Mara and Aisling na Mara.

Applications must be submitted using the Marine Institute’s new planning system, Marine Facilities Planning, by Wednesday 19 June. Click HERE to request an account to access the MFP website.

Each application will be reviewed and the applicant will be informed as soon as possible whether the ship time they requested is available. If the requested timing is not available, alternative dates may be offered.

The Vessel Charter Guidelines should be read carefully before submitting the ship-time application form.

Further information, technical specification and contact details for the Slocum Gliders are available on the Glider webpage.

Applicants may seek grant-aid to cover all or part of the vessel charter costs for Research Surveys or Ship-Based Training Programmes in 2025. The closing date for receipt of grant-aid applications is Wednesday 19 June.

Applicants for ship-based training are advised to consult with the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) at [email protected]. SMART aims to standardise and optimise ship-based training for undergraduate and post-graduate students and develop nationally accredited ship-based training activities for national higher education.

Applicants are advised that survey schedules can change during the year; contact Research Vessel Operations at [email protected] to check whether any survey slots remain for 2025 and/or request to be notified if any dates become available.

Published in Marine Science

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme has been recognised for promoting ocean literacy and driving marine education at the primary school level.

The programme's annual Ocean Literacy, Engagement & Impact Report highlights a range of activities available to schools, supporting the new Primary School Curriculum Framework, 2023.

Dr Rick Officer, CEO of the Marine Institute, congratulated the team, saying that the programme continues to deliver quality initiatives that promote marine education. He referred to marine modules about squid, sea turtles, and deep-sea species, seashore safaris, marine workshops, and maintaining aquariums in the classroom as excellent examples of how the Marine Institute’s Explorers team supports teachers. The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme uses cross-curricular marine content to develop children’s key competencies and ‘blue’ skills in the classroom.

With the objective of creating marine leaders and ocean champions, 28 schools participated in the ‘Healthy Ocean Projects & Ocean Champion Awards’ in 2023. The projects showcased children developing their creative skills through arts, designing boats, taking part in musical performances, and running marine science fairs.

The Engagement & Impact Report notes a highlight of the year was the Explorers Programme winning the ‘Best Education Outreach Award in Ireland,’ presented by Business and the Irish Times. The award recognized the Programme for its excellence in promoting ocean literacy at the primary school level and the work of those delivering it throughout the country.

The Engagement & Impact Report notes a highlight of the year was the Explorers Programme winning the ‘Best Education Outreach Award in Ireland,’ presented by Business and Irish Times. The Engagement & Impact Report notes a highlight of the year was the Explorers Programme winning the ‘Best Education Outreach Award in Ireland,’ presented by Business and the Irish Times

Explorers Strategic Education and Communications Manager, Cushla Dromgool-Regan remarked that "This recognition was also highlighted at a recent EU ocean literacy event held in support of the UN Ocean Decade conference in Barcelona. Stakeholders are now acknowledging the need to drive marine education globally. It is fantastic to see the Explorers' work and, in particular, the education resources being recognised at this level."

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme is committed to raising awareness of the marine environment and promoting ocean literacy at the primary school level. With its innovative and engaging initiatives, the programme is creating a new generation of marine leaders and ocean champions.

For more information about the Explorers Education Programme is available here

Published in Marine Science
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The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) of the Marine Institute and Innovate UK hosted a networking reception in Dublin on Monday (15 April) to advance their joint plans to create green shipping corridors between Ireland and the UK.

The event attracted maritime industry stakeholders who are interested in responding to this research call by constructing consortia which can drive progress in this important area of research.

The call is co-funded by the Marine Institute and the UK Department of Transport and will be delivered by the IMDO and Innovate UK.

Minister for Transport, Eamonn Ryan said: “My department welcomes the launch of the joint funding call from Marine Institute, the Irish Maritime Development Office and Innovate UK. This will produce detailed and valuable feasibility studies on green shipping corridors focused on routes across the Irish Sea, between Ireland and the UK.

“The Clydebank Declaration was launched at COP26 in 2021, with Ireland as one of the initial signatories of the initiative. Clydebank was designed to drive forward to the decarbonisation targets set by the International Maritime Organization in relations to green shipping. The launch of this funding call by Marine Institute and Innovate UK represents the first step towards meeting this ambition and demonstrates an innovative and collaborative approach to solving this issue, which I commend.”

Elin Burns, deputy British ambassador to Ireland, also welcomed the research call and said: “The UK and Ireland are delighted to collaborate together to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time, climate change. The UK has ambitious net-zero targets, and transport continues to be a sector which contributes significantly to emissions.

“Green shipping corridors are key to demonstrating the development of technology, infrastructure and regulations to promote industry adoption of zero-emission technologies. The UK and Ireland’s partnership on this fund recognises our close maritime links across both trade and travel, and demonstrates our commitment to supporting green corridors between our countries.”

The call provides an opportunity for maritime industry stakeholders to consider how consortia might be formed to address the challenges of creating green shipping corridors across the Irish Sea. It also recognises the importance of trading and tourism links between Ireland and the UK and the imperative of reducing carbon emissions in the maritime industry.

Commenting at the launch, IMDO director Liam Lacey said: “We are pleased to be working with Innovate UK, supported by our respective Departments of Transport, on this joint research call that will bring green shipping corridors between Ireland and the UK closer to reality.

“The call is funded by the Marine Institute and UK Department of Transport to a value of €1m. It envisages the creation of consortia of ports, shipping companies and researchers and industry experts to undertake feasibility studies that will result in practical solutions being advanced that put shipping corridors between Ireland and the UK on a pathway to a greener future. This is an ambitious and valuable project that we expect to generate considerable industry interest and lots of innovative ideas.”

James Lovett, innovation lead for future maritime technologies at Innovate UK added: “Innovate UK is proud to be delivering this competition and is delighted to be working with the Marine Institute and the UK Department for Transport.

“These bilateral research collaborations are vital to make green shipping corridors a reality. The required technology and system developments cannot happen in isolation, which is why I’m pleased to see pioneering cooperation between the UK and Ireland. We’re looking forward to seeing the exciting research applications from UK-Ireland maritime industry consortia.”

Published in Ports & Shipping

US Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin visited the Marine Institute’s national headquarters in Galway last Friday (8 April) to celebrated the strong ties in marine science and technology that exist between the two nations.

The visit provided an opportunity for Ambassador Cronin to tour the institute’s state-of-the-art facilities and gain insights into its scientific programmes and capabilities, including research vessel operations, ocean observation and seabed mapping, marine ecosystem monitoring, climate science and scientific services supporting development of a sustainable ocean economy.

In welcoming Ambassador Cronin, the Marine Institute’s director of policy, innovation and research services, Dr Niall McDonough emphasised the institute’s commitment to fostering international cooperation and knowledge exchange, to not only advance marine research and innovation goals but to address global marine challenges.

US Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin learns more about the Marine Institute’s important marine science workUS Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin learns more about the Marine Institute’s important marine science work

“As two nations with seaboards on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland and the US share a deep commitment to exploring new frontiers of ocean science and sustainability,” Dr McDonough said.

“The connections between us have deepened substantially since the signing of the Galway Statement to establish the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance in 2013. We now work together as part of a growing family of Atlantic nations that seek common solutions through scientific collaboration to harness the vast potential of the Atlantic Ocean whilst safeguarding it for future generations.”

Dr McDonough is also at the forefront of Okeano, a new cross-national support group for Atlantic Ocean research and innovation, as previously reported on

Published in Marine Science
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The Marine Institute’s director of policy, innovation and research services is leading a new cross-national support group for Atlantic Ocean research and innovation.

Through a large-scale basin effort, representatives of 16 organisations from 12 countries including Ireland have joined forces to establish the Okeano Coordination and Support Action (CSA).

Funded under Horizon Europe to support the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance (AAORIA), Okeano “marks a significant milestone in the journey towards sustainable management of the Atlantic Ocean”.

Okeano follows its two successful predecessor CSAs, the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance and the All-Atlantic Cooperation for Ocean Research and innovation.

The main objective of Okeano is to provide coordination and support to the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance, ensuring effective governance, cooperation and communication among signatories, across the Atlantic Ocean, from pole to pole.

Okeano aims to facilitate dialogue and cooperation at local, national, and international levels, to consolidate existing initiatives and to tackle socio-environmental issues in the Atlantic region, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, ecosystem protection and restoration, and sustainable and inclusive ocean economies.

Signed in 2022, the AAORIA Declaration builds on the foundations of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation and the Belém Statement on Atlantic Research and Innovation Cooperation.

Furthermore, its objectives align with the EU's priorities outlined in the European Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030, the partnership for a climate-neutral sustainable and productive blue economy, the European Green Deal, and international dimension of the EU Atlantic Action Plan.

With AAORIA’s motto being ‘Connecting-Cooperating-Acting’, Okeano will serve to scale and transition the alliance to a long-term, sustainable and highly impactful international partnership, capable of delivering transformative science and innovation, and concrete benefits for Atlantic communities.

The inaugural meeting of OKEANO was held on 7-8 March at the JPI Oceans Secretariat in Brussels, with representatives from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Cabo Verde, France, Germany, Ireland, Morocco, Norway, Portugal, South Africa and Spain in attendance.

Participants at the inaugural meeting of OKEANO held on 7-8 March at the JPI Oceans Secretariat in BrusselsParticipants at the inaugural meeting of OKEANO held on 7-8 March at the JPI Oceans Secretariat in Brussels

The kick-off meeting, attended by project partners and representatives of the European Commission, focused on outlining detailed methodologies for achieving the project’s strategic objectives.

Dr Niall McDonough — director of policy, innovation and research services at the Marine Institute and coordinator of Okeano — chaired the meeting, with Dr John Bell, director of healthy planet at the European Commission outlining the vision for the next phase of the alliance.

Participants discussed the work plan for the CSA, emphasising inclusivity, international cooperation and active societal engagement. The importance of facilitating access to a diversity of relevant data, knowledge, expertise, capacities and resources was addressed, positioning Okeano as a pivotal point of contact to link scientists, researchers, public and private stakeholders, including civil society and youth.

“The Okeano project is ready to support and contribute to the goals of a growing and dynamic alliance,” Dr McDonough said. “Through its range of planned activities and strong international partnership, we are committed to reaching and empowering communities across the entirety of the Atlantic to respond to the complex challenges presented by issues such as climate change and ecosystem protection and restoration.”

Focus areas of Okeano include:

  • Enhancing governance and coordination — led by the Marine Institute (Ireland): Providing professional support and coordination for the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance governance, organisation, monitoring and outreach activities.
  • Facilitating dialogue across stakeholders — led by the AIR Centre (Portugal): Fostering collaborations with different organisations, and facilitating structured dialogue and coordination at local, national, international and multilateral levels between AAORIA and relevant stakeholders.
  • Supporting and consolidating existing initiatives — led by IFREMER (France): Supporting and consolidating existing AAORIA initiatives, including capacity building for early-career ocean professionals (ECOPs) and youth to promote sustainability and community engagement along the Atlantic Ocean shores.
  • Development of a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda — led by KDM (Germany): Developing an All-Atlantic Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda aligned with the priorities identified in the AAORIA Declaration to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and benefit to local communities across the Atlantic.
  • Maximising impact through communication and outreach — led by JPI Oceans (Belgium): Maximising the impact of the Okeano CSA and supporting communication of AAORIA through effective dissemination, exploitation, and communication measures.
  • Co-design and implementation of All-Atlantic Fora — led by the Marine Institute (Ireland): Co-designing and implementing international All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Fora to strengthen scientific cooperation and shared goals as outlined in the AAORIA Declaration.

Looking ahead, Okeano aims to foster a robust All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation community, promoting cooperation, innovation and sustainable development across the Atlantic basin. By leveraging the collective expertise and resources of its diverse consortium, Okeano believes it is poised to support AAORIA in continuing as a long-lasting and robust community.

Published in Marine Science
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