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Realising Opportunities The Oceans Present

Dr.Rick Officer, Chief Executive, Marine Institute

Three ‘Cs’ are used by Dr.Rick Officer as he discusses the challenges in the marine sector where he is the new Chief Executive of the State research agency – ‘Competition, Conflict and Conservation.’

There are a lot of differing interests in the marine sector, he tells me. Reconciling their views will be challenging.

Dr. Officer returns to the Marine Institute, the State’s maritime research organisation,  where he was previously a staff member eighteen years, ago. Since then he has been Vice-President for Research and Innovation at the Atlantic Technological University which was established in April 2022 when three Institutes of Technology – Galway/Mayo, Sligo and Letterkenny, with over 20,000 students – were merged. 

He sees the Marine Institute as having a role in providing information, knowledge and data which will be valuable in that, providing confidence in decisions that they make “and ultimately helping towards achieving a collegiality amongst those groups so that benefits can accrue for the people of Ireland and broader, in that as an island on the edge of Europe we have an important role to play in ensuring a healthy marine environment, a resilient environment and sustainable use of that environment.”

Does the Irish public understand the value and importance of the maritime sector to the nation, bearing in mind that Ireland’s Ocean Economy Report published by the Marine Institute, shows that the marine sector generates over €7 billion in turnover?

“There is an opportunity for agencies like the Marine Institute to be somewhat more pro-active in communicating that value. Maybe that’s a collective responsibility for this Institute and the other State agencies that we would together present the information and the values of the industries that we support.”

Listen to my interview with Dr.Officer in my new Maritime Podcast on this page . There is a full interview in the January edition of the MARINE TIMES monthly newspaper.

Tom MacSweeney

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