Ireland's blue economy is performing on average better than the general economy according to the 3rd Report on Ireland's Ocean Economy, soon to be published by the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) based at NUI Galway. Latest indicators show that Ireland's maritime economy grew by 9% in the period 2010 to 2012, while growth in Irish GDP during the same period was only 4.75%. In the period 2012 to 2014, the blue economy has continued to outperform the national economy with growth rates of 8% and employment has also increased from 17,425 to 18,480 full time equivalents.
The value of Ireland's maritime economy, the commercial opportunity it presents and its contribution to the Irish economy will be discussed at a major marine industry conference, Our Ocean Wealth, which takes place on 10th July 2015 in Ringaskiddy, Cork.
Speaking at the launch of the Our Ocean Wealth conference in Haulbowline, Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine and Defence Simon Coveney, T.D. said, "Ireland's blue growth shows the enormous potential of our incredible marine resources, and the opportunity, highlighted in the government's Integrated Marine Plan 'Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth', to enable this sector to be a key driver in our economic recovery, providing social and cultural benefits as well as economic return for Ireland".
Industry experts from Ireland, the EU and USA will convene on the site of the new €15 million Beaufort building for the event on Friday, 10 July and the event is expected to attract in excess of 600 delegates.
EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella will lead discussion on management and governance of our oceans, enhancing Europe's maritime competitiveness, whilst continuing to protect the environment.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (the OECD) will be represented by Barrie Stevens, Head of International Futures Programme and he will deliver a keynote address on the Future of the Marine Economy.
There will be a number of speakers from indigenous companies and organisations with an interest in the marine, including Chairman of Port of Cork John Mullins, as well Yvonne Shields, Chief Executive at the Commissioners of Irish Lights. As well as panel discussion and interactive workshops on a variety of topics from Integrated Marine Capacity and Capability, Energy from the Ocean and Enterprise and Industry to Tourism and Business in Marine and Coastal areas and Food from the Sea, there will also be an industry exhibition of startups, university spin-outs and established companies led by the SFI-Funded marine research centre, Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI).
The Our Ocean Wealth conference is an integral part of Ireland's Maritime Festival, SeaFest 2015, celebrating Ireland's abundant maritime resources over 2 days in Cork Harbour. For more information or to register for the conference, please visit www.ouroceanwealth.ie