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Minister Coveney Highlights Importance of the Irish Marine Sector

- "Our seas are among the country's greatest natural resources" -

The Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food, Simon Coveney TD has highlighted the importance of the marine sector and the contribution which it makes to the Irish economy.

Speaking during a visit to the Marine Institute's research vessel, RV Celtic Explorer, on its return from a mission to the Labrador and Newfoundland Seas, Minister Coveney said that "the seas and ocean that surround the island of Ireland are among this country's greatest natural resources." 

The Minister said "I am particularly pleased that this is my first official engagement as Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food. The work of the RV Celtic Explorer highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence, where we have prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies."

Minister Coveney commended the Marine Institute and its Chief Executive, Dr Peter Heffernan, for its leading and proactive role in the areas of fisheries science, marine environment and food safety as well as ocean science and said that he looked forward to working closely with the Institute and benefitting from the research and advice which they would undertake and provide. 

The Minister noted that Ireland's two national research vessels - RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager - will record 627 days at sea during 2011, during which they will be engaged in fisheries surveys, underwater mapping, climate studies and deepwater surveys.

Date Released: 14 March 2011