West to harvest sea jobs bonanza

Stones painted by Sixth Class pupils of Northampton NS, Kinvara, as their contribution to the unique exhibition on Roald Amundsen's expedition to the South Pole held at the O'Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway as part of the SeaFest programme. Photo: Andrew Downes, xposure

Thousands of jobs are set to be created in the West of Ireland as the country continues to harness the potential of the ocean economy – which will be worth an estimated €6.4 billion by 2020.

An international summit on Ireland’s ‘blue economy’ will be held in NUI Galway tomorrow (Friday) and will hear the latest turnover and employment figures for 2016.

The previous year, the blue economy was worth €4.5bn to Ireland, and had created the equivalent of almost 18,500 jobs – tomorrow’s conference is expected to hear the country is well on track to meet the 2020 target of €6.4bn and more than 29,000 jobs. The figures are contained in a report prepared by NUIG’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU)

And the West of Ireland is one of the biggest beneficiaries of ocean economy activities because of its ‘hub’ status.

The ‘Our Ocean Wealth Summit’ – which takes place as part of this weekend’s SeaFest event – will feature speakers from Ireland, UK, Norway, Portugal, Germany, the US and Canada.

Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute in Oranmore, told the Connacht Tribune that the blue economy offers plenty of diversification and is growing at a faster rate than the general economy.

“It’s about diversity – you have the traditional industries like shipping, tourism, food, oil and gas and then there are the exciting new industries like ocean energy, health, pharmaceutical and technology.”

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.