4.9.2 | Growing the Blue Economy As an island nation, we are highly dependent on our seas for trade, fishing, energy and tourism. Future challenges will be to align marine resources with conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem health. There is potential for the offshore renewable energy sector (ORE) but there are also challenges, including sea level rise. Each of the Region’s three main cities and ports are built around coasts, harbours and estuaries. The Region has an opportunity to harness excellent research available from some of our institutions in our Region. The RSES acknowledges the special role of our coastal settlements by recognising that the tourism and leisure sectors can help support and promote traditional and new marine-based industries and activities. Examples of potential in this sector in the South- West include Cork Harbour, a location with multiple functions and harbour communities within a sensitive ecological area. Refer to the Cork MASP for specific Cork Harbour objective. There is potential to strengthen a West Cork Marine Network, locations sharing port, marine leisure, fisheries, energy, harbour regeneration and tourism assets on the N71 corridor including Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Bantry, Schull and Castletownbere.
Fisheries and Aquaculture Fishing and Aquaculture are significant to the economy of the coastal areas. The RSES supports Fishing Local Area Group (FLAG) Development Strategies, which provide a framework for community and economic development that support coastal and island communities. The FLAG Strategies identify National Fisheries Harbour Centres (NFHC) including Castletownbere, Daingean Ui Chúis and Dunmore East. The industry faces challenges in relation to seasonal employment, fish stocks and coastal hazards. At a regional level there are however opportunities for growth through diversification and development of bio resources including food, aquaculture and off shore renewables. The RSES will support the sustainable growth and development of the seafood sector and Fishery Harbour Centres. In addition, the RSES will ensure planned activities on land do not adversely affect the marine economy. Our sea vegetable industry, currently in its infancy has potential. This could become a growth sector if developed sustainably with small scale farming (such as kelp), a beneficial way of production rather than large-scale harvesting.
There is also potential for Marine Protected Areas to contribute to the economy.
Marine Biotechnology Fish, shellfish, seaweeds and other marine species offer significant potential for food and ingredients companies to target the estimated €242m global market for functional foods and ingredients.
Marine Resource and Blue Economy
Fishery Harbour Centres and Local Authority Harbours It is an objective to seek investment in the sustainable development of infrastructure improvements to Fishery Harbour Centres and Local Authority Harbours in the Southern Region. Robust site selection and environmental feasibility and assessment is required in advance of seeking investment.
It is an objective to support the development of new coalitions amongst productive sector enterprises, coastal communities and public agencies to support the sustainable development of the marine resource and Blue Economy. Any supports arising, which result in further expansion of or new enterprise will be subject to the outcomes of the required appraisal, planning and environmental assessment process.
Southern Regional Assembly | RSES
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