Friday 1st December - 8th Annual Marine Economics and Policy Research Symposium

The Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU), Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, recently hosted it’s 8th Annual Marine Economics & Policy Research Symposium (1st Dec). With over 80 delegates, the day was a great success, with this year’s theme, ’The Past, Present & Future’. The first session showcased the abundance of historical data available such as trade data at port level for the 18th century, ship lives and losses during the industrial revolution, and extreme weather and piracy as hazards in the 15th & 16th centuries. Fast forward then to the present day for the mid-morning session, and talks on the coastal impact of the economic recovery, climate change and hydrocarbon management, valuing a sea view from a house price model, and creating a nascent maritime cluster in Ireland, left just enough room for a cosy discussion over lunch.

A particular highlight of the day was the afternoon plenary session, where Prof Ronán long shared his excellent understanding of climate change and ocean resources, in light of the Paris Agreement 2015. He outlined recent jurisprudence on responsibilities of public authorities relating to extreme weather events, and the effects of climate change on the ocean, people, countries etc., which was followed by an enthusiastic debate with great audience engagement.

The final session gave insight into the future topical issues for Ireland, including the need for better understanding of coastal community ties for planning, and Marine Spatial Planning, including Ireland’s upcoming roadmap due to be published by the Government before the end of the year. Bringing the day to a timely close was a very interesting talk on maritime commerce and Ireland’s opportunities to develop the sector in the future.

 Photo: Speakers at the 8th Annual Marine Economic & Policy Research Symposium, 1st December, Glenlo Abbey Hotel. Photo by Aengus McMahon


SEMRU success in EU Atlantic INTERREG funding round recognised at NUIG, July 6th, 2017


On Thursday, July 6th, the research community gathered at NUI Galway to celebrate the success of the university in securing over €3 million in EU funding for the North and West. The national representative body for the Programme, the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, was also in attendance at the University for the announcement. Amongst the four successful projects is the EU INTERREG Atlantic project MOSES (Maritime, Ocean Sector and Ecosystem Sustainability: fostering blue growth in Atlantic industries), a three year project in which the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at NUI Galway's Whitaker Institute will be coordinating. The project will examine the size and growth of key strategic marine industries across the Atlantic Arc and will propose the ’blue growth’ path for the sustainable development of the major sectors operating in the space as envisaged in the Atlantic Action Plan and the EU Blue Growth strategy. To achieve these aims, the project participants will build on the expertise gained in the EU INTERREG Atlantic IV project, Marine Atlantic Regions Network (MARNET).

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Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, launches SEMRU’s fourth report on Ireland's Ocean Economy, 30th June 2017

Today, Minister Michael Creed TD officially launched the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit’s (SEMRU) fourth report on Ireland’s Ocean Economy, at the Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth conference in Galway (SeaFest).

The report provides trends across 13 marine sectors over the period 2008 – 2016.                                                        

2016 figures show:

• the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy is €1.8 billion or approximately 0.9% of GDP; 
• the sector had a turnover of €5.71 billion; and 
• provided employment for approximately 30,000 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs).  
The main focus of the report is to provide a profile of Ireland’s ocean economy and to assist in the monitoring progress of a number of targets set out in the Government’s Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland - Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth (2012).

The full report is available to download Irelands Ocean Economy (2017)

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Sea, Land, and Spirit: Coastal Environment in the West of Ireland Conference, June 5-8th 2017

SEMRU’s Daniel Norton, Suzanne van Osch, Naomi Foley and Stephen Hynes participated in the Marine Economics and Policy session at the Sea, Land, and Spirit: Coastal Environment in the West of Ireland Conference held in Dingle, Kerry, 5-8 June 2017. The conference was organised by the Sacred Heart University, Connecticut in association with UCC and IT Tralee. The conference held a number of panel presentations over the 3 days on the natural sciences as well as panels on humanities and social sciences; the aim being to understand the past relationship with the marine environment, as well as more recent and future changes. 

EU China Blue Year Event “Forecasting, Data, Monitoring, Planning, Indicators”, 1/2/June 2017, Brussels, Belgium

This event brought together leading experts in marine data collection and analysis from both the natural sciences and social sciences from the EU and China to discuss their work and to examine where both regions might collaborate together to improve the capabilities in ocean forecasting and marine policy making. Dr Stephen Hynes of SEMRU was invited by DG marine Affairs to lead a discussion on measuring marine natural capital.

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Karmenu Vella opens the discussion at the EU China Blue Year Event “Forecasting, Data, Monitoring, Planning, Indicators” in Brussels.

There were three papers presented and discussed in the Blue Economy session at the event. The first by Iain Shepherd, European Commission (DG Marine Affairs) presented an overview of marine related activity at the EU level, the second by Lu Wenhai of the National Marine Data and Information Service (NMDIS) within the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) of China presented an overview of the Chinese marine economy monitoring and evaluation programme and the third by Stephen Hynes of SEMRU, the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway discussed approaches and challenges in going beyond measuring marine industry activity to measuring marine natural capital. 

 Delegates at the EU China Blue Year Event “Forecasting, Data, Monitoring, Planning, Indicators”

Minister Creed announces funding awards for marine research in Ireland

Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD met the researchers who were successful in winning research funding through the most recent round of the Marine Research Measure on Wednesday, May 3rd 2017 at the Marine Institute's Dublin office. SEMRU at NUI Galway was awarded €523,000 for the research project “Valuing and understanding the dynamics of Ireland’s Ocean Economy”. The project aims to strengthen the valuation and understanding of Ireland's ocean economy, ensuring the timely availability of marine economic statistics, which provides an evidence base for policy and decision-making, economic forecasting and scenario planning. SEMRU has developed capacity and expertise in this area, since it was established through a Beaufort award in 2007, and is now participating in EU wide research on marine socio economics and establishing Ireland as having leading expertise in this area. SEMRU works closely with other agencies such as Teagasc developing models to analyse the potential of Ireland's marine bio-economy.

 Project award recipients under the Marine Research Measure 2016 with Minister Creed

Whitaker Institute Research Day winner

On Wednesday, April 6th, 2017, the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, NUI Galway hosted its annual research day in the Lee Lecture Theatre, Alice Perry Engineering Building NUI Galway. On the day, there was a poster presentation by researchers and PhD students within the Whitaker. For the second year in a row a SEMRU PhD student took the honours for best poster. SEMRU's Tom Gillespie (PhD student) won 1st Prize for his poster entitled 'The European Consumers' Willingness to Pay for Sustainable Seafood' - Congratulations Tom!

Director of the Whitaker Institute Prof Alan Ahearn presents Tom Gillespie with the Best Poster Prize.

Economics students all at sea! 21st February 2017

Students taking part in the seagoing training for the M. Econ Sc. Natural Resource Economics and Policy programme held in Cork, on Tuesday the 21st of February 2017 onboard the RV Celtic Voyager. The one day training focuses specifically on economic activities taking place in Cork Harbour and a hands-on examination of the methods by which marine scientists collect data that can be used by economists for modelling and analysing the impacts of economic activities on the marine environment.