In recognition of European Maritime Day on 20th May and World Oceans Day on 8th June, the Marine Institute and partners will celebrate our seas, our world's shared ocean and our connection to the sea through our Oceans of Learning series. Over the next 10 weeks, the Marine Institute and partners will come together virtually and share news and offer online activities and resources on a range of marine topics to make it easier for those of all ages to engage with our ocean from home.
European Maritime Day aims to raise awareness about the seas and oceans and their importance to our environment, economy and culture, with the annual event offering workshops, networking, discussions and the opportunity to forge joint action on maritime affairs and the blue economy. The 2020 European Maritime Day conference was to take place this May in Cork City, alongside Ireland's national maritime festival SeaFest.
Minster for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed said:
"While we regret that this year's European Maritime day events in Cork had to be cancelled, public health concerns must take priority at this time. Following a period during which the marine sector had been enjoying a period of increased growth, the main challenge facing the sector for the foreseeable future will be recovery from the economic impacts of the current public health crisis. This will require all relevant stakeholders to work together to ensure that the momentum for sustainable growth is maintained over time". The Oceans of Learning 2020 Campaign - One Shared Ocean - One Shared Future will showcase some of the positive developments across the marine sector in recent years which we will need to build on as we face these new and unexpected challenges."
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. John Sheehan said:
"While it is with great disappointment that we were unable to host European Maritime Day 2020 and the SeaFest National Maritime Festival this year, health and safety of all participants and those attending is paramount. Despite the disappointment of the cancellations, the key messages around the importance our Oceans and the role they play in our lives still stands, and I am delighted this will be celebrated through our Oceans of Learning Series to be hosted by the Marine Institute. We look forward to welcome SeaFest back to Cork in 2021."
Dr Paul Connolly CEO of the Marine Institute said:
"Planning for the European Maritime Day event and SeaFest brought together partners in Cork, nationally and internationally. We want to take this opportunity to come together to celebrate our seas and look at the enormous opportunities presented by our coast and ocean. Through our Oceans of Learning series, the Marine Institute with our partners, will offer a host of resources on our shared ocean and the major role it plays in our everyday lives. Our ocean has sustained us in good times and in bad. Now more than ever we must come together and empower Ireland and its people to safeguard and harness our ocean wealth."
Ireland's marine resource is ten times the size of its land territory, supports diverse ecosystems, is a source of food, and influences our climate, weather and our wellbeing. Our ocean has an important role in Ireland's economy, providing employment in a number of areas of the marine sector – fisheries, aquaculture, ports and shipping, technology, tourism and seafaring.
Each week through the Oceans of Learning series the Marine Institute will share a new marine topic - from the food we take from our ocean, and our rich marine biodiversity, to our changing ocean climate, and ports and shipping.
The Marine Institute will work with Government Departments and partners such as Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Bord Bia, National Maritime College Ireland, The Commissioners of Irish Lights, Met Éireann, Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) and coastal communities and organisations across Ireland to enable everyone to engage with our ocean from anywhere.
The first marine topic in the Oceans of Learning series is 'Food from our Ocean' and will be available on www.marine.ie next week. For more information visit www.marine.ie and follow the Marine Institute on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.