Commissioner Damanaki visits Ireland
Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, visited Dublin and Galway from 22 to 23 September 2011 to present and discuss with Irish stakeholders the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, proposed by the Commission in July.
"In Ireland, the economic performance of the fishing fleet has been deteriorating since the late nineties. What went wrong?" said Commissioner Damanaki. "We have been fishing too much. We have been carelessly throwing away unwanted catches. And we have let our fleet become obese. I want things to change. I want fisheries to be a source of wealth for fishermen and their families and for coastal communities."
On 22 September, the Commissioner spoke at the Institute of International and European Affairs on the gains that Ireland can expect from a reformed Common Fisheries Policy [40 KB] . She then met Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food, and representatives of the Irish fishing industry and civil society.
On 23 September, Commissioner Damanaki, together with Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, visited the Marine Institute in Co. Galway, to discuss key policy areas and priorities in marine science and innovation.
At the margin of her visit, Commissioner Damanaki said: "Maritime policy is now facing its sternest test to date. It is called on to play a full part in pulling Europe out of the ongoing economic downturn, providing it with the economic and social backbone to help it stand strong in the face of future challenges. The emphasis given here on stimulating growth and innovation from the Ocean is exactly what I am trying to promote in Europe. It is an excellent thing that I believe sets an example for other countries."
During their visit the Commissioners met with staff and management for detailed briefings on how the Institute’s research and services complement and assist EU initiatives.
The Commissioners toured some of the Institute’s 54 custom built laboratories to see its vital service work on marine environmental monitoring, marine food safety and fish stock assessment. A detailed briefing was given to the Commissioners on the Institute’s plans to harness technology in the creation of employment and economic growth from Ireland’s marine sector as national and international innovations through research into ocean energy, the development of new medicines and functional foods from marine animals and plants, offshore aquaculture, underwater robotics and the application of advanced information technologies to marine communications and monitoring in science-industry consortia.
Following this briefing Commissioner Damanaki remained at the Marine Institute to meet with leading Irish multinationals and SMEs who are participants in the SmartOcean Cluster, where the companies outlined how their innovations and technologies can contribute to the “Blue Growth” and environmental stewardship objectives of the Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union.