National Discussion on EU Maritime Green Paper Launched by Minister John Browne

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Marine & Natural Resources Mr. John Browne T.D., today (31st January 2007) launched a national consultation process to seek input from all interested parties and stakeholders on the EU Maritime Green Paper “Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union”.  

“The Maritime Green Paper represents a unique opportunity for all those interested in the marine sector to have their views considered. The Government’s new National Seafood Strategy, which will see a record investment of nearly €600 million in the seafood industry, will form part of the Government’s response but we are also seeking views from the wider marine sector,” commented Minister Browne at the launch.  

The Maritime Green Paper was launched by the EU Commission in June last year, initiating a Europe-wide consultation process which will run until 30th June 2007.  It is designed to stimulate debate on all aspects of marine affairs including maritime transport, industry, coastal regions, offshore energy, fisheries and aquaculture, marine environment and social cohesion.  

“Ireland is an island nation with over 220 million acres of maritime territory and a growing influence at EU level when it comes to the sea. I would strongly urge anyone with interest in how what is, perhaps, our greatest national resource is managed in the future, to make a response to this vitally important document,” he continued.  

Welcoming the launch of the Irish government’s consultation on the Green Paper, Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Joe Borg said that the European Commission wants to encourage private sector representatives, NGOs, national and regional authorities, academics and all those with an interest in maritime affairs to have their say in the development of a successful maritime strategy for Europe.

Commissioner Borg said that all those with an interest in maritime affairs should make their voice heard through the consultation process. “The consultation process is an important tool in reaching consensus on the best way forward for Irish and European coastal communities and indeed all of those with an interest in maritime affairs. It is important that in order to shape the direction of the new European maritime policy that people’s views and opinions are heard and we would urge people to make a submission.”

Welcoming this Europe-wide dialogue on the marine sector, Marine Institute CEO Dr. Peter Heffernan said that the Green Paper’s strategic objectives of “developing a thriving maritime economy, in an environmentally sustainable manner . . . supported by excellence in marine scientific research, technology and innovation,” already echoed the vision statement of the Marine Institute, while other elements of the paper clearly show the growing Irish influence on EU policy, before, during and after the Irish EU Presidency.  

“During Ireland’s EU Presidency, a unique conference – EUROCEAN 2004 – was held in Galway, bringing together some of the best minds in marine research and development from all over the world,” said Dr. Heffernan. “This event culminated in the ‘Galway Declaration’ calling on high-level decision makers to recognise the unique imperative of sustainable development of our oceans and seas. This Declaration is referred to a number of times in the EU Green Paper and has clearly been a profound influence on its arguments.”  

Martin Territt, Director of the European Commission Representation in Ireland, welcomed the launch of Ireland's consultation on the Green Paper on an Integrated Maritime Policy. "The sea is an integral part of Irish culture and history. The fishing industry, coastal communities and maritime environment are all part of our national identity. That's why is so important to take a fresh look at how we interact with the sea and the coast and how we can better manage our resources to benefit all of society. I welcome the national launch of this consultation, to which Ireland has so much to contribute."The consultation process is being managed by the Marine Institute on behalf of the Minister.

The official closing date for submissions is 2 March 2007.

However, in order that submissions receive adequate attention prior to the stakeholders conference an early response is desirable - preferably by 26th February.

Copies of the Green Paper and the questionnaire on which responses should be submitted can be downloaded, or completed online, at the specially dedicated which will go live on 1st February.

Hard copies of both documents can be obtained from the Marine Institute. A public Stakeholder Conference will be held in Dublin on 6 March to review submissions received and discuss the issues raised.

Parties interested in attending can register their interest via the website or through the Marine Institute.  

For further information, please contact;

Olive Stephens (087 -760 1642) / Ken Cleary (087 905 9618) at DCMNR Press Office

or Dr. John Joyce, Marine Institute (087 2250871)


Notes to Editors:  

The Maritime Green Paper  

The Maritime Green paper is designed to stimulate debate amongst all stakeholders and at all levels of governance. It does not provide instantaneous answers – but rather asks questions.   The Green Paper argues that European policies on maritime transport, industry, coastal regions, offshore energy, fisheries and aquaculture, marine environment, socio-economic cohesion and other relevant areas have developed separately and that no attempts have been made to take a holistic approach with a view to enhancing these policy areas.  

It also notes that globalisation and new and emerging marine technologies have brought about new opportunities and challenges to which we need to be able to apply new strategies and innovative thinking.  

To assist stakeholder input, the Green Paper is divided into sections, each posing a number of focussed questions. There are 59 questions in all. They cover such areas as:  

Retaining Europe’s leadership in sustainable maritime development - in terms of competitiveness, marine environment, the role of science and technology, ocean energy, blue biotechnology, skills and employment and its maritime regulatory framework.  

Maximising the quality of life in coastal regions – including the attraction of coastal areas as places to live and work, managing coastal risks, developing coastal tourism, and managing the land-sea interface.  

Providing the tools to manage our relations with the oceans – including data availability, financial resources, and spatial planning for a growing maritime economy.   Reclaiming Europe’s maritime heritage and reaffirming Europe’s maritime industry – including support for maritime education and heritage, and the development of a European maritime identify.  

Supporting Events  

Public Stakeholder Conference – Dublin, 6 March 2007  

A public Stakeholder Conference will be take place shortly after the deadline for submissions. This will review the issues raised in submissions and obtain additional Stakeholder feedback towards the national position.   The Conference will be advertised in the national press with full details on how to register.

Alternatively, interested parties can register their interest in attending