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The latest bi-annual report — Valuing Ireland’s Marine Ecosystem Services — was launched at the recent fifth annual Our Ocean Wealth Summit in Galway by Damien English, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, and Seán Kyne, Minister of State for Natural Resources, Community Affairs, and Digital Development.
Marine ecosystem services are provided by the processes, functions and structure of the marine environment that directly or indirectly contribute to societal welfare, health and economic activities. These services are vital to ensuring blue growth in Ireland’s ocean economy, which was valued at €1.8 billion or approximately 1% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017.
Factoring marine ecosystem service values into ocean economy account frameworks may help to ensure a sustainable ‘blue economy’ for Ireland by making sure that growth in the ocean economy does not exceed the carrying capacity of the marine environment.
While the value of some of these goods, such as fishing and aquaculture, are somewhat easier to measure, the value of many other benefits — such as carbon sequestration, waste assimilation and marine-related recreation — are often not captured by a price in any established markets.
However, without incorporating these values into marine planning processes, these benefits may be ignored or underestimated leading perhaps to suboptimal decision making.
Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan welcomed the new report, commenting: “This assessment of Ireland’s marine ecosystem services and their value is an important step in incorporating ecosystem services into policy and decision making related to Ireland's marine and coastal zones.”
SEMRU director Dr Stephen Hynes added: “Blue growth is about fostering development in marine economic activities in such a manner that the long term ability of the marine environment to continue to provide ecosystem service benefits is not compromised.
“This is exactly what Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth: An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland is aimed at achieving. Knowing what those benefits are and what they are worth is vital for deciding on the best use of our marine resources and to ensure blue growth for our ocean economy far into the future.”
Commenting on the significance of the report, Dr Micheál Ó Cinnéide, director of the office of communications and corporate services at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said it “adds greatly to our understanding of the value of our marine province. Anybody who was able to see the marvellous RTÉ documentary on Ireland’s Deep Atlantic in 2018 and who follows the pioneering work of researchers in the Marine Institute, Galway and Cork can appreciate that we are unlocking the treasures of our offshore world.
“As this report shows, the true value has to include the natural capital, economic potential, cultural and spiritual values. The EPA and the Irish Forum on Natural Capital looks forward to a wider national debate on safeguarding this priceless marine ecosystem for future generations.”
Valuing Ireland’s Marine Ecosystem Services is based upon research supported by the EPA and is based on previous research conducted under the Marine Institute’s Beaufort Award.
Summary of economic contribution of marine ecosystem services:
- The provisioning marine ecosystem services of fisheries and aquaculture is estimated to be worth €473 million per annum to all fleets and producers operating in Irish waters.
- Seaweed harvesting is valued at €4 million and aquaculture at €150 million.
- The regulating and maintenance ecosystem services of carbon sequestration are valued at €815 million per annum, waste assimilation services €317 million and coastal defence services of €11.5 million.
- The cultural ecosystem services of scientific and educational services are valued at €11.5 million, and the added value per annum to housing stock of being at the coast (aesthetic services) is valued at €68 million. On an annual basis, recreational services provided by the marine ecosystems are estimated to have an economic value of €1.7 billion.
- Even though not all of the ecosystem services provided by the marine environment can be monetarised, the report indicates that the value of those that can is substantial.
#OurOceanWeath - Employment growth of more than 16% in the marine sector was among the encouraging statistics cited by Marine Minister Michael Creed in his address to the Our Ocean Wealth Summit, which opened at Galway Docks yesterday (Thursday 28 June).
“Ireland has taken important strides in recent years in developing our blue economy. This is being driven at the highest levels of Government and represents a unique and joined up approach to growing Ireland’s blue economy.
“The work of our cross Departmental high level Marine Co-ordination Group (MCG), which I chair, will continue as we seek to build on recent success,” Minister Creed said.
Updated statistics indicate that the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy now stands at €2 billion, or approximately 1% of GDP, which represents a 21% increase on 2015 figures.
“The 2017 estimates suggest that our ‘blue economy’ continues to grow at a faster pace than the general economy,” the minister added. “Growth in 2017 is being driven by strong performances in the aquaculture, sea fisheries, shipping and marine tourism industries as well as continued growth in the emerging ocean industries.
“A really encouraging statistic is the growth in employment for the marine sector which has risen from 27,888 (FTEs) in 2015 to an estimated 32,509 (FTEs) in 2017, an increase of 16.6%.”
Minister Creed also announced the publication of the latest annual Progress Report on Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan - Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth.
“This report which covers inputs from across state departments and agencies, provides a wealth of information, spanning governance, research, education, international co-operation, business development, sustainability, and protection and conservation of marine ecosystems,” he said.
The Our Ocean Wealth Summit, now in its fifth year, forms a key part of the Government's integrated plan for Ireland’s marine sector and brings together national and international expert speakers, industry leaders, business development agencies and the Irish business and marine research community. This year’s discussions focused on the overall theme of ‘Investing in Marine Ireland’.
Ahead of the summit, PwC and the Marine Institute released the results of a joint survey of leading voices in Ireland’s maritime industry, which revealed “overwhelming confidence in Ireland’s maritime sector in spite of challenges posed by Brexit”.
Other findings include the potential of offshore wind and ocean energy, which is seen as a key opportunity for the marine sector, while overall, maritime leaders believe further investment in the marine industry is critical.
The Our Ocean Wealth Summit is part of a range of industry and innovation events taking place in Galway as part of SeaFest 2018, Ireland's national maritime festival, which opens today (Friday 29 June). A wide range of public events are taking place in Galway Harbour and Docks and the city over the weekend till Sunday 1 July.
Among them will be Life and the Sea, a special civic and military commemorative event to remember all those who have lost their lives at sea, and recognising the heroism of the men and women of our rescue services.
There will be musical performances, while poems will be read by Tony Hiney, community fundraising manager of the Western Region of the RNLI, and Lt Cdr David Fleming, Officer Commanding of the LÉ William Butler Yeats.
A lone piper will play, which will be followed by ship horns and a flyover by the Air Corps.
#SeaFest - Businesses across Galway are saying ‘No to Plastic’ in our oceans to support SeaFest, Ireland's national maritime festival, taking place in Galway Harbour from Friday 29 June to Sunday 1 July.
This year, the festival aims to highlight the impact of plastics in our oceans, with a particular focus on reducing single-use plastics on the festival site.
The initiative is organised by the Marine Institute, in conjunction with Galway City Council’s European Green Leaf programme.
“A truck load of plastic waste finds its way into the ocean every minute of every day, and it's estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic by weight than fish in the ocean unless behaviours change,” said Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan.
“I applaud the businesses of Galway that are supporting SeaFest, and have committed to reducing single-use plastics by offering alternatives for customers. These small changes can result in big impacts, which will encourage a change in behaviours long after the festival weekend.”
Arlene Finn, European Green Leaf co-ordinator with Galway City Council, added: “We can all find a way to use less ‘single use’ plastic, and I congratulate the SeaFest supporters for taking the initiative.
“CPL Recruitment have provided all staff with re-useable water bottles and water filters to minimise bottled water waste. Celestica are banning disposable cups from the site and giving free travel mugs to employees. Food For Thought and 56 Central have moved away from plastic straws, providing biodegradable options instead. Brazo Coffee Academy have signed up for ReCupán and Refill.ie to support customers who use reusable coffee cups and water bottles.
“We welcome more businesses to come on board with this initiative, and hope they will take inspiration from those already involved.”
Other supporters of this initiative include Galway City Museum, Galway Atlantaquaira, Food For Thought, Honest Kitchen, Irish Greyhound Board, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Temple Café, The Yield Lab Europe, The Heron’s Rest, Tropical Medical Bureau, Glenville Nutrition, Galway Convention Bureau, Bank of Ireland Galway and AMACH! LGBT Galway/Teach Solais Resource Centre.
Meanwhile, a mesmerising cinematic experience will showcase some of the best ocean-inspired films and talks at SeaFest 2018.
The Atlantic Theatre will host free talks from renowned cameraman Doug Allan, as well as screenings of the documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic and children’s animation Song of the Sea.
A purpose-built marquee to accommodate 500 people will be erected at Galway Docks to create the Atlantic Theatre.
“We are delighted to be able to host seven talks from the renowned Doug Allan, all completely free to SeaFest visitors,” said Caroline Bocquel, Marine Institute director of corporate services. “His shows have been known to sell-out quickly, and we believe this will be one of the popular attractions at this year's festival.”
Underwater cameraman Ken O’Sullivan will take visitors on a deep sea journey in search of whales, sharks and cold water coral reefs in the documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic, which captured the attention of the entire country last month when the two-part series aired on RTÉ television.
The audio visual attractions continue with the 3D Under the Sea Dome. This engaging interactive experience will take viewers below the ocean surface to view creatures of all sizes – from tiny microscopic organisms to the enormous Humpback Whale. And the film Dynamic Earth, narrated by Liam Neeson, explores the interlocking systems that shape our climate.
In addition to the Atlantic Theatre, SeaFest 2018 will also offer a host of activities on the water such as performances from world champion flyboarders and vessel tours as well as sailing and kayaking sessions. Live seafood cookery demonstrations, a Defence Forces display and kids’ activities are all part of the packed programme of free events.
Ahead of SeaFest, enormous opportunities for Irish businesses operating in sectors such as engineering, energy, food and technology to expand their offerings to the marine sector will be discussed at the Our Ocean Wealth Summit in association with PwC at Galway Docks on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 June.
For entrepreneurs, start-ups and businesses interested in finding out more, the summit – under the theme ‘Investing in Marine Ireland’ – includes conference and panel sessions with thought leaders and innovators, as well as a marine trade showcase with exhibits across drone technology, smart shipping, offshore and onshore communications, marine waste management and financial modelling for the marine sector and more.
There will also be ample networking opportunities to connect with national and international businesses, government representatives and speakers from the USA, Europe, UK and Ireland.
#Rowing: The Workmen’s junior women’s double took a silver at the National Schools’ Regatta at Dorney Lake in England today. In the Championship Doubles, Annie O’Donoghue and Ciara Browne finished one and a half lengths down on Latymer Upper School. Ciara Moynihan of Workmen’s finished seventh in the A Final of the Championship Singles, while Molly Curry of Coleraine Grammar School took control of the B Final and won.
Enniskillen took silver in the Boys’ Non-Championship Eights, and their girls’ junior 16 coxed four matched them in their A Final. Ireland clubs placed second and third in the B Final of the Girls’ Championship/Non Championship Eights.
British National Schools’ Regatta, Dorney Lake (Selected Results; Irish interest)
Championship/Non-Championship Eight – B Final: 3 Enniskillen RBC.
Championship/Non-Championship Eight – B Final: 2 Galway 7:35.72; 3 St Michael’s 7:45.46.
Junior 16 Four, coxed – A Final: 2 Enniskillen RBC 8:22.68.
Sculling, Double – Championship A Final: 2 Workmen’s (A O’Donoghue, C Browne) 8:06.37.
Single – Championship A Final: 7 Workmen’s (C Moynihan) 9:10.40. B Final: 1 Coleraine Grammar School (M Curry) 8:43.03.
Last week Ocean Crest Marine, with diver Mark Kerrigan, prepared for the recovery of the underwater observatory, located 1.5 km off the coast of Spiddal, which has been continuously monitoring the underwater environment over the past 15 months.
It uses cameras, instruments and sensors for continuous live underwater observations giving marine scientists and other ocean researchers unique real-time access to monitor ongoing changes in the marine environment.
Over the coming weeks, the observatory will be thoroughly cleaned, all the scientific instruments will be replaced, and new underwater lamps will be added to improve the high-definition video camera footage.
“We also plan to install a microplastics sampling net and a new underwater stills camera in partnership with European marine science researchers,” said Alan Berry of the Marine Institute.
These research projects are due to commence mid-July, when the observatory will be reinstated, to continue to collect important information on the marine environment from the depths of Galway Bay.
The SmartBay Observatory in Galway Bay contributes to a growing global network of real-time data capture systems deployed within the ocean.
Data relating to the marine environment at the site is transferred through a fibre-optic cable to the Marine Institute headquarters and onwards onto the internet.
This data includes a live video stream, the depth of the observatory node, the sea temperature and salinity, and estimates of the chlorophyll and turbidity levels in the water which give an indication of the volume of phytoplankton and other particles, such as sediment, in the water.
“A wide range of organisations and agencies come together to take part in this festival, including businesses across Galway,” says Johnny Donnelly, managing director of event managers Arcana. “Our festival volunteers also play an incredibly important role in making SeaFest one to remember, and also help us to showcase Galway at its best.
“We encourage those with an interest in the marine or those proud of Galway city, to apply to volunteer for SeaFest 2018. This is a unique opportunity to be involved in one of Ireland's biggest maritime festivals and help raise awareness about the value of our seas.”
SeaFest 2018 offers a packed programme of family-friendly events on and around the water which aim to engage the young and the young at heart in the magic and mystery of the ocean.
Enjoy thrilling performances from world champion flyboarders, boat trips along Galway Bay, as well as the chance to try kayaking and sailing in Galway Harbour.
There will be inspiring talks from award-winning wildlife cameraman Doug Allan, as well as seafood cookery demonstrations, tours of ocean-going vessels, an equipment display from the Defence Forces and interactive activities for the kids.
To become a volunteer for SeaFest 2018, complete the online application form. Applications will close on Friday 8 June.
All volunteers must be aged 18 years or older. Volunteers have the option to volunteer for one, two or the three days of the festival. Volunteers may also be selected for Garda vetting.
See also: ‘Investing in Marine Ireland’ is the theme of the 2018 Our Ocean Wealth Summit taking place before SeaFest.
The flagship of Silversea Cruises made her maiden Irish port of call off Dunmore East last September, just months after her launch in Monte Carlo.
Despite its more than 40,000 gross tonnage, the “ultra-luxury” Silver Muse accommodates a total of under 600 ‘guests’ and almost as many crew.
Now in its fifth year, the Our Ocean Wealth Summit forms a key part of the Government’s integrated marine plan Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth. The summit is a key event for the marine sector and related industries, offering a platform for discussion on the future of Ireland’s marine sector.
This year, the summit will extend across two days with a packed programme of presentations as well as panel discussion, interactive sessions and networking events.
Galway Docks will host the event, expected to attract more than 500 national and international delegates from across the marine sector.
The largest gathering of Ireland’s marine and business communities, the Our Ocean Wealth Summit attracts high-profile speakers from across the globe, not only from the marine sector but from a wide-range of disciplines.
This year’s keynote speaker is Mary Robinson, the seventh President of Ireland and the first woman to hold the office. In 2010 she established The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, a centre for thought leadership, education and advocacy on the struggle to secure global justice for people vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Other key speakers will include former Nasa astronaut Kathryn Sullivan, who was appointed by US President Barack Obama as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Administrator (NOAA). Sullivan has a long career as a distinguished scientist, astronaut and oceanographer.
Producer of BBC’s award-winning Blue Planet II series Orla Doherty is also one of the highlights of the summit programme. With family roots on the Donegal coast, Doherty has had a strong connection to the sea. She is an expert in underwater filming and has filmed scientists at the frontline of ocean discoveries from Indonesia to the Arctic Circle.
This year’s theme is ‘Investing in Marine Ireland’ and the summit will focus on progress towards the Government’s ambitious targets to double the value of the blue economy by 2030.
The diverse programme planned for this year’s Summit reflects strong collaboration between Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Marine Institute and the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland, with individual sessions addressing environmental, economic and societal opportunities and challenges to creating a sustainable ocean economy for Ireland.
The incident happened off Hare Island shortly before 1pm, when a member of the public saw the man was unable to right the 15ft vessel and notified the Irish Coast Guard, who requested the assistance of the RNLI lifeboat.
Galway’s inshore lifeboat launched from Galway Docks at 1.15pm and located the man as he was swimming towards the shore. He was cold and shaken by his ordeal, and the lifeboat crew brought him to the station to administer first aid.
The man recovered a short time later and did not need to be hospitalised.
Galway RNLI subsequently retrieved the dinghy and towed it safely back to Galway Docks, ending the rescue operation at 2.15pm.
Deputy launch authority Barry Heskin advises members of the public to dress adequately for the weather conditions and to always notify a family member or friends of expected time of arrival.
The volunteer lifeboat crew on this callout were Dave Oliver, John O’Sullivan, Ros Forde and Kenneth Kitterick.
The volunteer lifeboat crew launched within 10 minutes of the alarm being raised and soon met the fishing boat offshore, where they treated the wound before taking him to a waiting ambulance at Galway Docks.