On 31 July Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny launched a Government plan to double the value of Ireland’s ocean wealth to 2.4% of the Irish GDP by 2030. The report, ‘Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth - An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland’ was presented at the Marine Institute, Galway.
The plan presents a roadmap for the Irish Government’s vision to tap into a €1,200 billion global market for seafood, tourism, oil and gas, renewable ocean energy and new applications for health, medicine and technology. It sets out three high-level goals to achieve a thriving maritime economy, healthy ecosystems, and to increase the Irish engagement with the sea. During the launch the Irish Prime Minister commented that the plan will be a key component of Irish economic recovery and sustainable growth generating social, economic and cultural benefits for all.
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The plan focuses on the State creating the right conditions to promote investment and enable growth. Good governance and maritime safety, security and surveillance of our ocean wealth are key to achieving the targets. The provision of a robust planning and licensing framework, underpinned by robust legislation and regulation can support sustainable development and create a degree of certainty, as well as a safe and stable environment for business and consumers.
On the occasion of the launch Simon Covene, Minister for Agriculture, Marine and food, said “For too long we have turned our backs on the sea and it’s time now to look to our ocean as a national asset, to harness the opportunities for economic recovery. We need to treasure what we have and protect it for future generations. ‘Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth’ puts a structure in place to make that happen”.
Fifteen actions are identified for implementation in the period 2012-2014. These include the development of an enterprise strategy to generate momentum in specific emerging market opportunities, for example offshore renewable, offshore services, ICT and sensors, and biotechnology and the development of an integrated approach to marine and coastal planning and licensing. The latter will focus on addressing deficiencies in the current planning and licensing system and developing an appropriate Maritime Spatial Planning Framework for Ireland.
‘Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated marine Plan for Ireland’ was informed and shaped by the views and opinions of a wide range of stakeholders who contributed to the consultation process during February and March this year during which over 190 submissions were received.
The vision and goals of the plan have been framed in the context of what is happening at the broader global and EU level, particularly the EU’s Blue Growth Strategy and the EU Strategy for the Atlantic (in preparation).
The report is available to download from www.ouroceanwealth.ie