Global leaders in Maritime Innovation to convene in Galway

Gerald Fleming, Met Eireann and Eleanor O’Rourke and Mick Gillooly, Marine Institute,check out an AR sandbox, used to explain how we map the seabed. The sandbox will be one of many interactive displays at the Marine Institute’s ‘Beneath our wild Atlantic’ exhibition during SeaFest 2-3 July.Photo Copyright Andrew Downes/Aengus McMahonDublin and Galway, 7 June 2016: As an island nation, the oceans that surround Ireland present enormous opportunities across key economic areas including food and aquaculture, marine energy, technology and international collaboration and cooperation. The Marine Institute today (Tuesday) announced, on behalf of the Marine Coordination Group, that the Our Ocean Wealth conference, now in its 3rd year, will bring international and national industry leaders, policy makers, researchers and maritime entrepreneurs together on 1st July 2016 in NUIG to discuss marine innovation, marine spatial planning, healthy ocean ecosystems and sustainability.

The theme of this year's conference is "Into the Blue – Innovating for our Marine Future" and key speakers include Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, head of the Irish Defence Forces, European Commission DG Research Head of Marine Resources Sigi Gruber, Gerald Fleming of Met Eireann, Craig McLean, US National Ocean & Atmospheric Administration and Linda Rosborough of Marine Scotland.

The new Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Micheal Creed T.D. will give his first formal address on the marine economy at the conference. Minster Creed said, "This conference will be an opportunity to reflect on the progress and achievements in implementing Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland. I'm looking forward to hearing from thought leaders and innovators across a broad and exciting maritime sphere and to join the discussion on innovating for our marine future"Gerald Fleming, Met Eireann and Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO, Marine Institute. Photo copyright Andrew Downes/Aengus McMahon

Speaking at the launch of the conference schedule, Marine Institute CEO Dr Peter Heffernan said, "While there are many events internationally that look at specific areas of our marine economy, from shipping and transport to energy, the Our Ocean Wealth annual conference is unique in that it brings global experts in this industry together to discuss the future opportunities and challenges for the blue economy. This holistic approach to the global maritime economy, and our focus on Ireland's blue economy, makes it a must-attend event for anyone working in or involved in marine-related activities."

Delegates will also hear from innovative Irish companies such as OpenHydro Group Ltd, which has just installed its second tidal turbine off the north west coast of France due to connect to the grid this summer, in what will be a world first for the tidal energy industry.

Several hundred people are expected to attend the Our Ocean Wealth conference, which is being held in Galway this year as part of SeaFest, Ireland's national maritime festival from 30th June to 3rd July. A number of other blue economy events are also taking place to coincide with the Our Ocean Wealth conference, including a Sea Change Researchers Workshop at the Marine Institute, The Digital Ocean event at the Meyrick Hotel and the BIM National Seafood Conference which all take place on Thursday 30th June.

For more information, please visit

* * * ENDS * * *

Captioned photographs have been sent to the picture desk by Aengus McMahon and more photography is available on request to

For more information, please contact:
Renate Murphy, CAMEO Communications, t: 086.8145462 e:
Lisa Fitzpatrick, Marine Institute,

About Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth Conference

Global leaders in the maritime sphere will convene in Galway on Friday 1 July 2016 for the third Annual Our Ocean Wealth conference, which will take place in the National University of Ireland, Galway.

'Into the Blue – Innovating for Our Marine Future' is the theme of the conference which will investigate how Ireland can innovate in each of the three goal areas of Ireland's Integrated Marine Plan – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, namely: a thriving maritime economy, healthy ecosystems and engagement with the sea. The conference, an initiative of the inter-departmental Marine Coordination Group, will review progress to date on Ireland's Integrated Marine Plan – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth (2012). It will delve into the Blue Economy with insights from industry and enterprise agencies on innovations in the marine economy. From the edge of the Atlantic the conference will look at recent collaboration between the EU, Canada and the US on Atlantic Ocean research and how this can increase our ability to map, observe and predict the ocean and its impact on our lives.

It will also examine our relationship with the ocean and look at new ways to engage citizens with the sea and educate future generations. As Maritime Spatial Planning is implemented in Ireland, the conference offers a unique opportunity to look at how we participate in the sustainable development of our oceans.

Delegates will hear perspectives from policy makers, industry leaders and researchers on the challenges and opportunities for Ireland in the Marine arena. A number of related industry, innovation and research events will also take place on Thursday 30 June 2016, in advance of the conference.

The Our Ocean Wealth conference is an integral part of Ireland's Maritime Festival, SeaFest 2016, an annual celebration of Ireland's abundant maritime resources which will take place in Galway City and Harbour on 2 & 3 July 2016.

A full conference agenda will be available in the coming weeks. For more information or to register today for the conference, please visit