Plan to double value of sea life
The Government has launched an initiative aimed at doubling the value of Ireland's sea life by 2030.
Measures to tap into the 1,200 billion euro global market for seafood, tourism, oil, gas and renewable energy could also see Ireland's ocean economy turnover increase to more than 6.4 billion euro within the next eight years.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who launched the action plan, said it was a bid to make the most of the sea and to enhance its money-making potential.
"This plan is a dynamic one and will ensure that our vision remains constant - to dramatically improve our ability as a nation and people to harness our ocean wealth," said Mr Kenny.
"The Government is determined that it will be a key component of our economic recovery and sustainable growth generating social, economic and cultural benefits for all."
A report with the plan, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth - An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland, said the Government needs to focus on improving the current planning and licensing system within the maritime industry.
It also called for a strategy to seize on different emerging market opportunities - including offshore renewable, offshore services, ICT and sensors, and biotechnology.
If the steps outlined in the report are followed, the value of Ireland's ocean wealth could double to 2.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) within the next 18 years.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney said it was time the Government looks to the sea as a national asset.
"We need to treasure what we have and protect it for future generations.We also need to build on the potential of our ocean wealth and what it can give back to its people. Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth puts a structure in place to make that happen," said Mr Coveney.