The Action Plan for a Maritime Strategy in the Atlantic area - Delivering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (May 2013) sets out priorities for research and investment to drive the 'blue economy' in the Atlantic area.
The European Commission plans says the marine and maritime sectors that make up the 'blue economy' have the potential to provide seven million jobs in Europe by 2020. These jobs will be found not only in emerging sectors, such as offshore renewable energy, but also by revitalising traditional maritime industries. The Atlantic area can make a significant contribution to this 'blue growth'. At the same time, the environmental and ecological stability of Europe's largest and most important ecosystem needs to be safeguarded for future generations.
The Action Plan identifies maritime priorities to be addressed over the seven year period to 2020, including in research and innovation, fisheries and aquaculture, climate change, ocean observation and mapping, marine renewable energy, blue biotechnology, Marine Strategy Framework Directive/Marine Spatial Planning/Marine Protected Areas, maritime culture and heritage, etc.
Ireland, and each of the five Atlantic member States (France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom) can draw on the Action Plan to help create sustainable and inclusive growth in coastal areas.
The Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation
Also in May 2013, the 'Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation' was signed at the Marine Institute (24 May 2013) by representatives of the European Union, the United States and Canada who agreed to join forces on Atlantic Ocean Research. The goal is to better understand the Atlantic Ocean and promote the sustainable management of its resources.
The Agreement aims to connect the ocean observation efforts of the three partners. The work will also study the interplay of the Atlantic Ocean with the Arctic Ocean, particularly in relation to climate change.
The Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation 2013 was signed during a two day event, The Atlantic - A Shared Resource, organised jointly by the Marine Institute (Ireland) on behalf of the Irish Presidency and the European Commission, the Directorate-General Research and Innovation in close cooperation with the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the Joint Research Centre.