NUI Galway Report Values Ireland’s Ocean Economy at €1.2bn or Equivalent to 0.8% of GDP in 2010

Pictured; (l to r) Report author Dr Amaya Vega, SEMRU, NUI Galway presenting Ireland's Ocean Economy Report to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD.
Dec 19 2013 Posted: 09:14 GMT

Ireland’s Ocean Economy Report shows the sector employed 16,300 and had a turnover of €3.5bn

NUI Galway’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has published its second report on Ireland’s Ocean Economy as part of their ongoing process of collection and analysis of marine socio-economic data in Ireland.

Results from the report show that in 2010, the direct economic value of the Irish ocean economy was €1.2 billion or approximately 0.8% of GDP. The sector had a turnover of €3.5 billion, and provided employment for approximately 16,300 people (Full Time Equivalent). The report allows for the comparative analysis of the contribution of the marine sector to the national economy in the 2007-2010 period.

Summary 2007-2010

  • Established marine industries such as shipping, maritime transport, marine tourism and marine manufacturing, construction and engineering recorded a significant fall in activity.
  • Sea fisheries experienced a fall in overall turnover but gross value added and employment increased
  • Aquaculture increased turnover and gross value added, but employment fell
  • In comparison with the established marine industries, the emerging marine industries have seen growth.
  • High tech marine products and services, marine biotechnology, bio-products and marine renewable energy all recorded an increase in turnover and employment but gross value added was unchanged or decreased.
  • Marine commerce as an emerging sector saw a significant decrease, in line with the general economy and the international financial markets.   

Dr Amaya Vega (SEMRU) said “Our research profiles the ocean economy, as a whole and by sector, in a way that allows us to observe and monitor progress on meeting the targets set out in the Government’s Integrated Marine Plan (IMP) for Ireland - Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth (HOOW) (2012).

The full report is available to download online at

Based in the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at the National University of Ireland, Galway, SEMRU conducts research in a variety of marine related issues. The main research focus of the unit is on the economic importance of coastal and off-shore marine environments.

This involves examining the economic utility of the marine environment (e.g. transportation, recreation) and ecological value (e.g. fisheries, aquaculture) derived from the productivity of associated ecosystems. 

The coastal and contiguous marine environment surrounding Ireland and the EU in general provides the geographical focus for the research carried out in the unit. Consideration of the human dimension in the management of marine ecosystems is also a critical component of all research projects undertaken.

Since its establishment in 2009, SEMRU has been successful in attracting research funding to support the expansion of its marine socio-economic research programme. The unit is now a partner in a number of European funded projects in the area of the socio-economics of the marine environment. For more information on SEMRU, please visit

Ireland’s Ocean Economy Report Series is funded through the Beaufort Marine Research Award, which is carried out under the Sea Change Strategy and the Strategy for Science Technology and Innovation (2006-2013), with the support of the Marine Institute, funded under the Marine Research Sub-Programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013.


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