Ireland riding ocean economy wave with direct economic value close to €2bn according to research
10 July 2018
NUI Galway’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has released its latest update on Ireland’s ocean economy as part of its ongoing process of collection and analysis of marine socio-economic data in Ireland.
This work has involved revising the previous 2015 estimates with the latest released data for that year from the Central Statistics Office, fisheries and aquaculture data from Bord Iascaigh Mhara, shipping and cruise information from the Irish Maritime Development Office as well as SEMRU’s own survey data with 2017 estimates.
‘Blue economy’ continues to grow at a faster pace than the general economy
The updated figures indicate that in 2017, the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy was an estimated €1.97 billion or approximately one per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), which represents a 21 per cent increase on 2015 figures. The 2017 estimates also suggest that our ‘blue economy’ continues to grow at a faster pace than the general economy.
Dr Stephen Hynes, director of SEMRU from the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change at NUI Galway, said: “The latest figures indicate that Ireland’s ocean economy continues to see substantial growth across both established and emerging marine industries.
“While 2016 saw a large increase in activity in the oil and gas industry on the back of the Corrib gas project coming on line, more recent growth in 2017 is being driven by strong performances in the aquaculture, sea fisheries, shipping and marine tourism industries, as well as continued growth in the emerging ocean industries.”
Summary for 2017
• The ocean economy had a turnover of €5.49 billion in 2017;
• The indirect economic value in 2017 amounted to €1.75 billion, with a total direct and indirect gross value added (GVA) value of €3.71 billion, which represents 1.85 per cent of GDP.
• The ocean economy provided employment to more than 32,500 individuals, full-time equivalents in 2017;
• Established marine industries had a turnover of €5.1 billion and provided employment to 30,000 full-time equivalents in 2017, representing 92 per cent of the total turnover and 93 per cent of total employment in Ireland’s ocean economy in 2017. Oil and gas exploration and production, marine aquaculture and tourism and leisure in marine and coastal areas, all experienced a significant increase in activity, with turnover, GVA and employment increasing across the sector in the 2015-2017 period. In line with an estimated increase in tourism activity generally in Ireland it is assumed that the tourism in marine and coastal areas increased by 6.7 per cent. The shipping and maritime transport sector also exhibited increases, as seen by the six per cent increase year on year in the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO)’s i-ship index in 2017. The i-ship index is used by the IMDO to gauge the health of the Irish maritime industry;
• Emerging marine industries had a turnover of €398 million and provided employment to more than 2,000 full-time equivalents representing eight per cent of the turnover and seven per cent of employment in Ireland’s ocean economy in 2017. The emerging industries include advanced marine technology products and services, maritime commerce, marine biotechnology and bioproducts and marine renewable energy.
Professor Alan Ahearne, director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “It’s clear from this latest evidence that the ocean economy has made a significant contribution to Ireland’s overall economic recovery.
‘Huge potential for further sustainable growth’
“Marine industries have delivered new jobs and extra income to every corner of the country. With our vast ocean resources, technological knowledge and innovation talent, there is huge potential for further sustainable growth in Ireland’s blue economy.”
‘Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland’, published in July 2012, outlines a number of specific targets which seek to expand Ireland’s ocean economy. One of those targets aims to double its value to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2030.
This 2.4 per cent figure was based on a total estimate (both direct and indirect Gross Value Added) in 2007 for the Irish ocean economy that amounted to 1.2 per cent of GDP at that time. The latest marine industry statistics from SEMRU indicate that the total direct and indirect value of the Irish ocean economy is €3.71 billion which represents 1.85 per cent of GDP in 2017.
For more information on the latest figures please visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/semru/documents/oceaneconomy2017_update.pdf
For more information on SEMRU, visit www.nuigalway.ie/semru/