The country’s marine economy could create up to 29,000 jobs and contribute an additional €2.7bn in growth by 2020, according to a report to be launched this morning.
Marine minister Simon Coveney will make the projections at a major conference in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork.
Research produced by a team based at NUI Galway identifies the potential for the so-called ‘blue economy’ to employ an additional 16,000 people directly with a further 13,000 supported across the wider economy.
“Ireland is now firmly on what I believe is an unstoppable journey of marine expansion,” Mr Coveney said.
“We are experiencing a significant period of ‘blue growth’ with a 9% increase in growth in Ireland’s marine sector over the last five years and the ocean economy is now valued at 1.3% of GDP.”
The “Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth” report presents a development framework for the sector as well as a government commitment to introduce a marine spatial planning process.
The marine economy has outpaced general economic growth over the past four years and has an annual turnover of €1.4bn with a €6.4bn target set down for 2020.
Today’s conference is the first leg of a two-day marine celebration across Cork with the family-friendly Seafest, which is free of charge, to follow tomorrow.
“Members of the public will be able to experience what it’s like to be exposed to hurricane force winds through the BIM Beaufort Scale Hurricane Experience. There will also be an extensive seafood fair and cookery demonstrations and multiple other activities on and off the water,” Mr Coveney said.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny will also officially open UCC’s €15.2m Beaufort Building in Ringaskiddy which can accommodate up to 135 marine researchers and support staff.
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