Minister Creed officially opens third national marine (Ocean Wealth) conference and launches third Progress Report on Implementation of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD, outlined the Government's continued commitment to blue growth and implementation of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth –Ireland's Integrated Marine Plan. Addressing more than 500 international and national industry leaders, policy makers, researchers and maritime entrepreneurs at the third annual 'Our Ocean Wealth' Conference today, in the National University of Ireland, Galway,
Speaking at the conference today (Friday), Minister Creed said:
"Ireland's marine sector is a vibrant part of our national economy and we have seen significant growth in our 'blue economy'. This transformation is being brought about by the commitment and hard work of various State agencies, Government Departments, relevant stakeholders and investors.
"I am delighted to announce the publication of the third Progress Report on Ireland's Integrated Marine Plan Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth published by the Government in 2012. The Report sets out the considerable recent progress achieved in implementing the ambitious targets and actions outlined in the Plan and I would like to thank everyone for their continued commitment to its implementation.
The conference, which is an opportunity to reflect on the progress and achievements in implementing Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth included contributions from Minister Creed, Minister Coveney, Minister Naughten and Minister of State Kyne.
Minister Creed stated "This Government will continue to work with the sector's stakeholders, we will build on the success of recent years and continue to implement Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – which aims to double the value of the blue economy by 2030 and deliver 29,000 additional jobs across the maritime sector and wider economy."
Guided by the theme "Into the Blue – Innovating for our Marine Future" the conference focused on how Ireland can innovate in three target areas of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, namely: A Thriving Maritime Economy, Healthy Ecosystems and Engagement with the Sea. Key speakers included Mary L. Shelman, global food and agri-food thought leader, 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.
Creating an infrastructure to support the blue economy is critical to the success of Ireland's integrated marine plan. A key infrastructural element to support the maritime sector was also officially launched at the conference by Minister Creed – the SmartBay Subsea Observatory has now started streaming high speed data from the seabed at Galway Bay to businesses, researchers, scientists and policy makers across the internet. Supported by the Marine Institute, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Science Foundation Ireland, the observatory will be used to collect valuable data from the ocean and will be a critical component of a world-class maritime infrastructure in Ireland.
Welcoming the launch of the Data Observatory, the Minister for Skills, Training and Innovation, John Halligan T.D. said , "This new infrastructure will play a key role in developing and testing the technologies necessary to unlock the economic potential of our Atlantic coast. It will drive innovation in SMEs and multinational companies in the ocean energy sector. I am particularly pleased that Science Foundation Ireland has supported this infrastructure with an award of €2.2 million, under its Research Infrastructure Programme, to fund the subsea cable providing power and data connectivity to the test site".
Other announcements included the establishment of a dedicated Marine Development Team involving major development agencies of the state in an integrated inter agency based approach to delivering further development of the blue economy.
Minister Creed added that "The Marine Development Team which will make recommendations to the cross Departmental Marine Coordination Group, will be coordinated by the Marine Institute. I look forward to this talented team bringing a further collaborative, cohesive and cutting edge approach to growing Ireland's Blue Economy and augmenting the positive inter agency work of recent years."
Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth and Seafest are initiatives of the Inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group. The conference as well as a range of industry and innovation events are taking place in Galway as part of SeaFest from 30th June -3 July. A wide range of public events are also taking place in Galway Harbour this weekend (July 2-3) as part of SeaFest which supports a key goal of Harnessing Our Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan - engaging with the Sea.
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