18th October

New marine maps show the way for Ireland’s underwater economy

John Joyce, Marine Institute

Exciting new developments in Ireland’s capacity to uncover its past and explore its future economic potential were revealed last month at a seminar on underwater mapping at the Marine Institute in Galway.Chart of Galway Bay. Image courtesy of INFOMAR programme

Speakers at this annual seminar of the INFOMAR (INtegrated Mapping FOr the Sustainable development of Ireland’s MARine Resource) programme discussed the discovery of new and historic underwater wreck sites; the application of seabed mapping in the selection of sites for generating wave energy; the protection of fish spawning grounds, and the planning of fish farm sites.

Read more: New marine maps show the way for Ireland’s underwater economy

Jobs bonanza forecast for ocean energy sector – but only with government action

& Gillian Mills

Ireland’s maritime sector has received a major confidence boost underpinned by the prospect of a massive jobs spin-off following the announcement that the world’s largest marine renewable energy research centre is to be built here by 2013.

Named in honor of the renowned Irish nineteenth century hydrographer, the National Beaufort Centre will become the flagship of the Maritime and Energy Research Campus and Commercial Cluster (MERC3) on a site close to the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) and the Irish Naval Service (INS) at Ringaskiddy, Co Cork.

Read more: Jobs bonanza forecast for ocean energy sector – but only with government action

Shortage of Irish ocean energy graduates could lead to overseas job opportunities

A review of the third-level education needs of Ireland’s embryonic but fast-evolving ocean energy industry concludes that unless more young people are encouraged to study ocean energy, many of the thousands of new jobs forecast for when the technology scales up during the 2020s, will have to be filled by overseas graduates.

Released as a discussion paper by the Marine Renewable Industry Association (MRIA) - the all-island representative body for the wave and tidal sector – the review claims that ocean energy has the potential to make a significant employment and wealth creation impact within a decade.

Read more: Shortage of Irish ocean energy graduates could lead to overseas job opportunities

Irish and UK scientists explore uncharted deep-sea vent field

Giant dormant vent on the Moytirra field

Giant dormant vent on the Moytirra field

John Joyce, Marine Institute

 An Irish-led team of scientists from Ireland and the UK has discovered a previously uncharted field of hydrothermal vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge – the first to be explored north of the Azores. The VENTuRE mission, led by Dr Andy Wheeler of University College, Cork (UCC), together with scientists from the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Southampton in the UK, NUI Galway and the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) spent twenty-five days at sea on board the national research vessel RV Celtic Explorer on an investigation 3,000 metres below the surface of the sea, using the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Holland 1.  

The team comprised many disciplines including marine geologists and geochemists to study the hydrothermal vents, as well as marine geneticists and biologists whose main interest was the new and unusual life forms that live in this harsh and forbidding environment.

Read more: Irish and UK scientists explore uncharted deep-sea vent field

Reasons to be cheerful….. part one!

Two recent but separate conferences have succeeded in lifting the cloud of pessimism and gloom by focusing on that part of Ireland not readily visible – our ocean territory – despite it being ten times larger than the land mass we inhabit.

The subject matter of both conferences centred on the major economic potential of the marine in general. At both events, the main question was whether Ireland could address major global challenges and avail of emerging market opportunities through our unique ocean resources.

Read more: Reasons to be cheerful….. part one!

Ireland is ‘closed for business’ declares ocean energy body

Ireland is in danger of losing out to Scotland in the highly lucrative and jobs-rich ocean energy industry unless government steps up its commitment to provide the necessary support, according to the body representing wave and tidal interests.

Reacting to news that Scotland had recently been ear-marked for wave energy projects in the order of 50 megawatts worth €250m of investment, the Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA) declared in a statement that ‘astute political management, ambition and sheer hunger for jobs has seen [Scotland] emerge as the clear winners of the first round in the battle to dominate the sector’.

Read more: Ireland is ‘closed for business’ declares ocean energy body

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