Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, recently launched a public consultation process on how to harness the potential of Ireland's vast marine resource to tap into a Trillion Euro global market for marine products and services (including seafood, tourism, shipping, oil and gas, renewable ocean energy and new applications for health, medicine and technology).
Launching the public consultation 'Our Ocean Wealth', Minister Coveney said, We need to change the way we in Ireland think about the sea and look for new opportunities to harness the potential of our 220 million acre marine resource. This government is determined to generate the momentum to drive forward a new era of sustainable economic development across the maritime sectors - we must avail of these opportunities to assist in our recovery. We want your help to shape our plan, to shape our future and to assist in our drive towards our nation's economic recovery".
This public consultation represents a significant step in a process to develop an Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland and move from generating only 1.2% of GDP from this vast and diverse marine resource, which covers an area 10 times the size of Ireland's land mass. Minister Coveney added "We need an Integrated Marine Plan to harness our ocean wealth, get the environment right for investment and use the potential of our marine economy to create jobs in a sustainable manner".
The consultation phase will be open until 31st March 2012 and an Integrated Marine Plan is due to be published during summer 2012.