Harnessing our marine wealth
This is my daily map – reaching about 5 K there and back! I know every inch of it. I know the sound of the oyster catcher, I see the brave swimmers every morning, I smell the decaying sea lettuce, I notice the yellow and red cranes stationary at the moment, I notice the ongoing steam from the incinerator, and the towers – those somehow comforting red and white striped towers – landmarks of Dublin bay.
This weekend we had hoped to go to Cork to attend the “Our Ocean Wealth” conference. It has been cancelled. I look forward to the next one, when we can all gather again to talk about the marine environment and the potential that it offers our Island. Our marine environment, seas and ocean is an important national asset. It has the potential to support a varied and fruitful economy. I love to think about the real map of Ireland which takes our seabed area into account. This means that Ireland is one of the largest EU states; with sovereign or exclusive rights over one of the largest sea to land ratios (over 10:1) of any EU State. This week we were able to take a look at some materials deployed in the sea in Dublin bay. The students are doing their best to keep their research going during the lockdown. Their motivation is incredible and they have had to be very dynamic and open to changing their thesis plan – writing now and getting to do lab and field work later. While this must be difficult for them, I have never been so proud of them and their efforts to do their own work well and to support their colleagues. The marine work that we are doing on sensor development, biofouling assessment, chemicals in the water and so much more, will continue and will be better for the efforts of these amazing people – these people will be Ireland’s Wealth post COVID-19.