Historic Agreement Recognises Ireland's Place in Marine Science

A historic Memorandum of Understanding between the Marine Institute of Ireland and the prestigious Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in Bergen was signed today (Wednesday 15th June) in Dublin to promote collaboration and co-operation in fisheries science, seabed surveys, underwater robotics, fish farming and fish health.

The Memorandum, which spans a four-year period, was signed by Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute in Galway, and Mr. Tore Nepstad, Director of the IMR in Bergen and witnessed by Marine Minister Mr. Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher and Ms. Jann Johnssen, Secretary General of the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs. It reflects the growing international respect the Irish marine science community is gaining for its expertise and infrastructure.

Welcoming the agreement, Minister Gallagher said, "As Marine Minister I have great pleasure in witnessing the signing of this MOU between the Marine institute and the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research. I have no doubt that the work of these two world-class organisations will be greatly enhanced through working together to the advantage of both Ireland and Norway. I am particularly proud that our own Marine Institute will bring an expertise and technical know-how to the programmes for ocean and fisheries research, co-operation that is second to none in the world. I look forward to seeing the fruits of co-operation delivering a better understanding of our shared ocean resource, identifying opportunities for commercial development going forward and the better and surer way of delivering the sustainable management of the living and non-living ocean resource."

"The Institute of Marine Research in Bergen is a world-renowned centre of excellence in marine research and innovation," said Dr. Heffernan. "The development of this Memorandum of Understanding paves the way for significantly expanded joint scientific efforts by the excellent scientists in both our organisations."

Mr. Tore Nepstad of the Norwegian IMR said, "We have observed with admiration the rapid development of world-class marine research an innovation programmes and capacity by the Irish Marine Institute in recent years. The Norwegian Institute of Marine Research is very pleased to establish this partnership with the Marine Institute and we look forward to many successful collaborations and achievements in the years ahead." Day to day working of the Memorandum will be directed by a Steering Committee composed of two representatives from the Marine Institute and two from the Norwegian IMR. They will meet once a year to review the programme of work in key research areas including fisheries acoustics, seabed, habitat and oceanographic surveys, fish farming and fish health. The Steering Committee will also explore other opportunities that may arise from the joint use of major equipment, exchange of personnel and collaboration on ship time.