The Marine Institute and National University of Ireland Galway have identified the need for collaboration in the area of marine socio-economic data collection and analysis, with the aim of ensuring that public services they have to perform are provided with a view to achieving objectives they have in common. This collaboration aims to address a number of policy support (e.g. integrated marine policy and developing Ireland’s blue economy through macro and micro level research and analysis), and scientific and technical advisory services (e.g. socio-economic analysis and related advice supporting the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework and Marine Spatial Planning Directives).

The project is jointly funded by NUI Galway and the Marine Institute as part of the Strategic Partnership in Marine Socio-Economics, which is supported under the Marine Research Programme by the Irish Government. The research is framed with reference to 3 key areas of collaboration:

  1. Ireland’s Ocean Economy – Analysis and Annual Reporting
  2. Spatial, Macro, Micro & System Level Analysis
  3. Socio-economic analysis and advice supporting national socio-economic requirements for the implementation of Marine Strategy Framework (MSFD) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Directives

The overall aim of the project is to build on the experience of SEMRU and the Marine Institute in estimating the value of Ireland’s ocean economy in order to further strengthen the collection, reporting and monitoring of Ireland’s Ocean Economy across the maritime sectors of: Shipping & Maritime Transport, Marine Tourism and Leisure, Cruise, Marine Retail Services, Sea-Fisheries, Aquaculture, Seafood Processing, Oil and Gas, Marine Manufacturing, Engineering and Construction, High Tech Marine Products and Services, Marine Commerce, Marine Biotechnology and Bio-products and Marine Renewable Energy. Measuring the links between the sea and national economies is an increasingly important issue for maritime nations. Through the project SEMRU is working with the Marine Institute and other agencies on creating a deeper knowledge and understanding of the drivers of growth at a sectoral level.

Marine economic activity has been shown to play significant roles in national economies, but concerns about degradation of marine waters and habitats call into question the future role of oceans in economic development. The ’blue growth’ agenda considers this issue and aims for marine economic development that is de-coupled from environmental degradation. Unlike other natural resources, such as minerals or agricultural land, marine activities have not, until recently, been explicitly accounted for in the national income accounts, which are the principal means of assessing economic progress in most countries. In this project, the collection of annual performance and economic statistics across the major maritime sectors and the development of ocean satellite accounts will continue to ensure the timely availability of marine economic information for policy makers. It will also facilitate better understanding of the broader socio-economic impact of Ireland’s ocean economy (and related policies) including the impact on regional and rural development, through macro, micro and system level analysis.

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