Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has welcomed recent positive growth trends in Ireland’s blue economy and outlined the Government’s continued commitment to the ongoing implementation of Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth.
Addressing delegates at the annual Our Ocean Wealth Summit at Galway Docks, which included industry leaders, policy makers, researchers and maritime entrepreneurs, Minister Creed said: “Ireland has taken important strides in recent years in developing our blue economy. This is being driven at the highest levels of Government and represents a unique and joined-up approach. The work of our cross departmental high-level Marine Coordination Group (MCG,) which I chair, will continue as we seek to build on recent success,” he said.
Updated economic statistics published recently indicate that the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy now stands at €2bn or approximately 1 per cent of GDP, which represents a 21 per cent increase on 2015 figures.
“The 2017 estimates suggest that our blue economy continues to grow at a faster pace than the general economy. Growth in 2017 is being driven by strong performances in the aquaculture, sea fisheries, shipping and marine tourism industries as well as continued growth in the emerging ocean industries. A really encouraging statistic is the growth in employment for the marine sector which has risen from 27,888 (FTEs) in 2015 to an estimated 32,509 (FTEs) in 2017, an increase of 16.6 The Minister also announced the publication of the annual progress report on Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, for 2017. This report, which covers inputs from across State departments and agencies, provides a wealth of information, spanning governance, research, education, international cooperation, business development, sustainability and protection and conservation of marine ecosystems.”
The Our Ocean Wealth Summit format, now in its fifth year, forms a key part of the Government's integrated plan for Ireland's marine sector and brings together national and international expert speakers, industry leaders, business development agencies and the Irish business and marine research community. This year’s discussions focused on the overall theme of 'Investing in Marine Ireland’.
The Our Ocean Wealth Summit and SeaFest are initiatives of the Inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group, which is chaired by Minister Creed. The Summit is part of a range of industry and innovation events taking place in Galway as part of SeaFest 2018 from June 29-July 1. A wide range of public events are also taking place in Galway Harbour and Docks and the city over the weekend (to July 1).