Ireland, and Galway in particular, has seen the signing of an historic agreement between the EU, the US and Canada, all of whom share a North Atlantic coastline.
The ‘Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation’ was signed recently at a high level conference at the Irish Marine Institute in Galway. Taoiseach Enda Kenny, attended the event together with Minister Simon Coveney, EU Commissioners Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Maria Damanaki and representatives of the USA and Canada as well as other smaller Atlantic Coastal States.
The agreement will see the joining forces for ocean observation and research. The two main goals are to better understand the Atlantic Ocean and how to manage its resources in a sustainable way and secondly to study the interplay of the Atlantic Ocean with the Arctic Ocean, particularly with regards to climate change.
The EU and itsMemberStatesalone invest nearly Eur2 billion on marine and maritime research each year.
European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, said: “The enormous economic potential of the Atlantic remains largely untapped. We probably know more about the surface of the Moon and Mars than we do about the deep sea floor. This alliance can make a big contribution to meeting challenges such as climate change and food security.”
The agreement recognises that Atlantic research will in many areas be more effective if co-ordinated on a transatlantic basis. Areas identified for potential co-operation under the agreement include:
* Ocean observation
* Sharing of data, such as on temperature, salinity and acidity
* Interoperability and coordination of observing infrastructures, such as measurement buoys and research vessels
* Sustainable management of ocean resources
* Seabed and benthic habitat mapping
* Promoting researcher mobility
* Identifying and recommending future research priorities.