Irelands marine environment is in a relatively good state – is this good luck or good management?

The Marine Institute is working with the UCD Environment Institute to host a major review of environmental issues and performance in the marine area. You are invited to attend a workshop that will take place at the University Industry Centre, UCD on Thursday 13 September. It is an integral part of a week long conference entitled "RIO + 10".

The Irish government joined over 170 countries at the UN Environment and Development Conference in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. Next year, world leaders will meet for a 10th Anniversary in Johannesburg to review progress. The RIO + 10 conference at UCD from 10 to 14 September is a key part of Ireland's preparations.

The Agenda 21 priorities, as agreed at the Rio Summit, included "protection of the oceans" and "integrated management of coastal areas". Key issues addressed in 20 papers by leading Irish marine researchers will look at Irish performance in the following priority areas:

How clean and safe are Irish waters ?

How sustainable is our fisheries and aquaculture sector ?

Are we living up to the promises made at Rio in 1992 ?

Management of Irish fish stocks

Conservation of deepwater corals off the Irish west coast

Irish aquaculture and sustainable development

Protection of whales and dolphins in Irish waters

Pollution and litter in coastal waters

The role of the oceans in global climate stability and change.

The environmental status in Ireland's coastal areas and surrounding seas were examined in a Quality Status Report, published by the Marine Institute in 1999. This study found that Irish marine ecosystems are largely in a healthy state, but noted concerns about the status of certain fish stocks, the impact of human activities and coastal development, radioactive discharges and the effects of climate change. Localised impacts from sewage and organic enrichment were found in many estuaries. The quality of Irish bathing waters was good in term of compliance with Directives during most of the 1990s, but the persistent occurrence of beach litter was noted.

The speakers will address whether the relatively healthy state of Ireland's marine ecosystems are due to good luck or good management.