The 2019 Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth Summit was another highly successful gathering and illustrates again the extent to which the government supports the marine sector.

Key note speakers at the summit included the Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, Ministers Michael Creed and Damien English, as well as the former US Secretary of State, John Kerry.

The most prominent themes this year included the environment, sustainable fisheries and emerging technologies. A big shift from the focus on Oil and Gas that featured so heavily in previous sessions.

Integral to the government strategy is the National Marine Planning Framework on which the IMF gives advice and support to the Ministerial committee.

Also launched during the summit was the latest economic report entitled ‘Ireland’s Ocean Economy’. Of interest here is the marine tourism and leisure sector, truly the sleeping giant of the marine sector. According to the report, compiled by Semru, the social-economic marine research unit, the marine tourism and leisure sector has an annual turnover in excess of €1bn and employees almost 16,000 people.

The Irish Marine Federation is a key player in this sector and was at the summit to ensure that the voice of its members is being represented and heard. We will continue to work with the various State bodies involved in the marine sector and ensure that proper recognition and support is giving to our thriving coastal communities and businesses.