The Blue Growth & Marine Spatial Planning Scheme is established under Union Priority 6 (Integrated Maritime Policy) of Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme. It is co-funded by the Irish Government and the EU.
Operation 1 of the Scheme is providing technical and scientific support for the development of a Marine Spatial Plan for Ireland.
The objective of the Scheme is to address a number of needs identified under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme. These include:
- Improving data and knowledge generation, management and sharing; including the development of new products and services (e.g. Ireland Marine Atlas and delivery to EMODNET), in support of a range of policies and directives such as Common Fisheries Policy, Natura, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Maritime Spatial Planning.
- Collecting, collating and mapping accurate, up-to-date spatial and temporal information on marine ecosystems and human activities taking place within Ireland’s maritime domain to support marine spatial planning.
- Developing strong marine spatial data analysis, modelling and decision support capabilities.
- Developing integrated/coordinated marine and coastal planning and licensing in order to sustainably maximise the potential for Ireland’s ocean economy.
- Better understanding the implication of climate change on ecosystem goods and services and human activities through monitoring and modelling.
- Delivering social and economic development objectives, consistent with our environmental obligations and Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth.
Across the EU there are a range of modelling and decision support tools available for progressing Marine Spatial Planning, related to data provision, pressures and impacts of human activities etc. This project will identify best practice technical tools in the Irish context. Their value is to inform policy makers of technical options to progress nationally.
The National Marine Biodiscovery Laboratory in Ireland (NMBLI) at the Marine Institute (Oranmore), aims to strengthen Ireland’s capacity as research leaders in marine biotechnology. This facility aims to develop economic growth and job creation through innovative knowledge-generating activities and collection of baseline data to support sustainable economic growth and job creation through the development of new products and services.
The aim of this project is to ensure the availability of spatial marine benthic biodiversity data for the purposes of marine planning and decision-making. It will also support delivery of the Habitats Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and National Marine Planning Framework by:
Carbon is an integral component of marine ecosystems and key living resources in the ocean are profoundly affected by changes in the uptake of CO2 by the ocean, which is the key driver of ocean acidification. Measurements of carbon in Irish waters have been conducted in recent years with CO2 monitoring using sensors and sample collection aboard the two Irish research vessels and at a fixed station in Co. Galway (Mace Head).
This project aims to develop a climate and ecosystem modelling capability to underpin decisions at national level in climate adaptation, initially for the seafood sector with potential applicability in other sectors e.g. biodiversity, flooding, built heritage. By assessing and piloting 3 promising ocean biogeochemistry models in the Celtic Sea, simulations of changes in ocean physics, biology and chemistry over a 30 - 50 year timescale will be generated to inform the policy response and adaptation to climate change.
Systematic collection of zooplankton in Irish waters is not implemented despite such plankton being a key food source for commercial fish stocks. Ireland is reliant on ad-hoc zooplankton studies that have taken place in academic institutes and on data collection through the continuous plankton recorder which bypasses large areas of Irish waters. This project aims to devise a strategy to augment and systematically collect zooplankton in our waters to elucidate trends and constrain ecosystem models that will provide support to policies related to climate adaptation in the seafood sector.
This project aimed to identify and map datasets of relevance to the MSP process and review their validity. It provided up-to-date spatial and temporal information on marine ecosystems and human activities taking place within Ireland’s maritime domain to support marine spatial planning.
Programmes such as MSP, MSFD and DCF require access to data from a wide range of sources. Access to these data requires appropriate Data Governance to ensure compliance with licensing terms and legislation such as GDPR. Without an adequate level of Data Governance these is a risk that access will be limited with a default low/no-risk approach leading to low-availability.
This project will improve understanding of what marine data are available to form a basis for improved MSP-related products and decision support tools.
A range of EMFF-related MSP, Blue Growth and Biodiversity programmes require the availability of high quality marine data from a range of marine disciplines. An initial data quality management toolset has been developed to support the availability of quality assured data for MSP, MSFD, DCF, aquaculture and food safety services, licensing support or other relevant DAFM programmes.
This project built on Data Discovery, Collation and Gap Analysis for Spatial Representation. This project aimed to provide up-to-date spatial and temporal information by filling in gaps in knowledge required to support MSP, regarding human activities, pressures, resource distribution etc.
Seascape is an important element in any maritime nation’s sense of identity and culture. It relates to where and how people value their coasts. As is evident in national tourism statistics, Irish seascapes are especially valued along the Wild Atlantic Way. This project aimed to broadly define and classify Ireland’s Seascapes. This has improved our understanding of the character and values of the relevant seascapes and provided national baseline information available from which the planning and decision making processes can respond to future changes.
The aim of this project is to develop surveillance methods to facilitate the mapping of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) distribution in Irish marine habitats. Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) are researching IAS detection methods in Irish nearshore waters and benthic habitats. They have completed a review of known marine IAS in Ireland and identified IAS that could invade Irish marine habitats through vulnerable invasion pathways and other mechanisms (e.g.
Through the on-going marine planning process, the Irish Government identified that the sustainability of seaweed natural resources underpins the licensing regime for seaweed harvesting. The aim of this project was to develop a better understanding of the Irish seaweed resource around the Irish coastline, which will contribute to a biomass assessment for certain types of seaweed.
Ascophyllum Nodosum is the primary species harvested. It grows on rocky surfaces near the seashore and is harvested by hand at low tide. Small amounts of other species are also harvested.
This project involved data collection, collation and analytical studies to identify, characterise and map Ireland’s marine provisioning, regulating / maintenance and cultural services. There was a lack of information available about marine ecosystem services in Ireland.
Programmes such as MSP, MSFD and DCF require access to trusted and well-managed data from a wide variety of sources. The ability to access and re-use these data requires appropriate quality-assured processes and storage systems. This project will extend the Marine Institute’s Data Management Quality Management Framework to additional data processes underpinning marine environmental reporting and management, ensuring that these processes are quality assured via an internationally accredited framework.
Understanding climate change drivers on phytoplankton species distribution and abundance (including HAB species) in the future is crucial in predicting potential effects on the sustainability of shellfish aquaculture producing areas producing healthy and sustainable shellfish. Offshore in-situ remote sensing instruments which display phytoplankton images and identify to species level which are displayed in realtime will be deployed to better understand the impacts of climate change on phytoplankton species diversity and distribution.
This project reviewed the available modelling and decision support tools for MSP. These related to data provision, pressures and impacts of human activities. This project identified best practice technical tools in the Irish context.
Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are recognized in numerous regulations as a key cause of the loss of native species and the reduction of biodiversity (e.g. EC 708/2007; S.I. 477 of 2011).
While currently there are valuable data assets residing across multiple Marine Institute teams and partner organisations, our ability to leverage these data to provide information which is current, reproducible, and readily available across multiple locations is limited.
Converting these data into usable information to meet new programme requirements requires improved access to data analysis and visualisation tools, services and techniques.