18th October

Volvo festival attendance and figures exceed expectations

Early reports of the economic value of the Volvo Ocean Race to the greater Galway region are put at over €100m in tourism and business income. According to the organisers, Let’s do it Global, footfall is estimated at over 900,000 visits to the events across the eight days.

“It was a truly memorable week in Galway. We were stunned by the passion and enthusiasm of the people of Galway and Ireland for our race – and the fact so many waited in the rain until 05.30am to welcome the boats,” remarked Jon Bramley, Volvo Ocean Race.

Puma ahead in tacking duel with Telefonica. Photo Gillian Mills/Inshore Ireland

Puma ahead in tacking duel with Telefonica. Photo Gillian Mills/Inshore Ireland

John Killeen, President of Let’s do it Global said the event had been a “phenomenal success” and showed, once again, that Galway has the capacity to organise the biggest maritime event of its kind worldwide.

“The effort and commitment of the small team and 1,500 volunteers who made it all possible has been one of the most inspiring things to have happened in our city for many years. We’re very proud of those who helped us achieve such a stunning success,” he said. 

Marine showcase

Coordinator of the Ocean Wealth Pavilion and CEO of Commissioners of Irish Lights, Yvonne Shields, told  Inshore Ireland that the event provided a “fantastic platform to showcase the scale, diversity and value” of Ireland’s marine resources. 

“State agencies, multinationals and SMEs exhibiting at the pavilion provided a glimpse at Ireland’s marine treasures and insights into the opportunity for economic growth and recovery that exists on our coasts and marine territory beyond,” she commented.

The Marine Institute’s 3rd Annual SmartOcean Workshop attracted over 120 participants across the public and private sectors from all-Ireland and beyond.

The workshop centred on technology and how innovation/new products and services can support sustainable development of the marine sector, including aquaculture, shipping and renewable energy.

“It was really exciting to see the level of innovation that exists and to see the synergies and opportunities emerging between different companies in the marine tech space,” remarked Yvonne Shields.

Session 4 on offshore energy asked if ICT research and technology could become a critical player in the global offshore energy sector.

Chairing the session, Eoin Sweeney, SEAI, remarked that whilst participants recognised the scale of the potential impact of marine renewable development for Ireland, there was clearly a level of frustration about the “slow and under-resourced approach being taken here.”

The session explored the interface between marine ICT developments and the emerging Ocean Energy sector.

“All the indications are that despite the immense and costly challenges associated with utilising OE, the industrial capabilities necessary to overcome these challenges are being established around the initial pilot array projects being developed in a number of countries,” he commented.

BIM promotes conservation, innovation and careers

Over the two weekends, BIM organised lobster v-notching demonstrations assisted by local fisherman and the chairman of the Galway Inshore Fishermen’s Organisation, Patrick Oliver.

The demonstrations proved very popular with families and especially kids who learnt about the lifecycle of the species and saw first-hand, female lobsters carrying their eggs.

The BIM Lobster V-Notching programme is run in partnership with inshore fishermen around the coast. Female lobsters once caught are given a v-shaped notch in their tail and returned to sea to spawn. This conservation programme has contributed significantly to sustaining Ireland’s lobster stocks whereby 15,000 lobsters were v-notched in 2010.

Dr Susan Steele, BIM’s Innovation Coordinator also explained how innovation was boosting profits in the Irish seafood sector with some products and prototype-products recently developed at BIM’s Seafood Development Centre (SDC) on display. Visitors were invited to participate in focus groups to provide valuable market on format, packaging, price point etc.

BIM’s Coastal Training Unit (CTU) also on site throughout the event provided advice on careers and training courses available. Declan Donohoe illustrated ‘Stay Safe at Sea’ to highlight the importance of wearing a lifejacket or PFD correctly, the various types available and how they can save lives at sea.

Black John the bogus pirate

Cartoon workshops aimed at teaching children about marine life drew over 500 budding artists and marine biologists to the marine pavilion. Presided over by ‘Black John the Bogus Pirate’ – aka Dr John Joyce author, cartoonist and marine biologist, these free workshops required no prior knowledge of either art of science and were simply designed to promote the understanding of the marine environment  through the medium of simply having fun.

“We learn most when we’re enjoying ourselves,”  remarked Dr Joyce who began using cartoons while developing the ‘Explorers’ primary school marine education programme with the Marine Institute.

The ‘Black John the Bogus Pirate – Cartoon Workbook of Marine Beasts’ is available from www.spindriftpress.com at €3.99 plus postage.

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