Celebrate the way the sea enriches our lives

The ocean affects all our lives, so it is only right we celebrate it, says Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute, ahead of SeaFest, which takes place in Cork city and county from June 7 to 9
Celebrate the way the sea enriches our lives
Pictured at the launch of SeaFest, Ireland’s largest free family-friendly maritime celebration, which takes place at the Port of Cork, Cork City from June 7 to 9, Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute with (l-r) Lola Grainger (10), Marvin Grainger (7) and Archie Murray (6). Picture: Clare Keogh REPRO FREE

AT the Marine Institute we are looking forward to this year’s SeaFest in Cork from June 7 to 9, with film screenings, engaging talks from award-winning cameraman Doug Allan, interactive exhibits, and tours of the research vessel the RV Celtic Explorer.

As Ireland’s largest and most spectacular maritime festival, SeaFest celebrates our maritime heritage and the amazing ways that our seas and oceans enrich our lives.

No matter how far you live from the shore, the ocean affects all of our lives. Our oceans cover over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, supports diverse ecosystems and is a major influence on our weather and climate too. Our oceans provide us with many of the foods that we like to eat, including fish, shellfish and even seaweed. We also rely on our oceans to transport a huge range of goods — more than 90 percent of trade between countries is carried by ships.

For an island nation like Ireland, the ocean has played a significant role in our history and culture. Today, more than 1.9 million people live within 5km of our coast and enjoy the many benefits of being close to the sea — leisure, tourism and fishing to name but a few.

To raise awareness around the value of our oceans, SeaFest combines a range of entertaining, educational and fun activities that celebrate our connection with the sea.

SeaFest plays a vital role in Ireland’s national marine plan, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, and the key goal of increasing participation and engagement with the sea.

Through the Marine Institute’s exhibition The Wild Atlantic — What lies beneath, those of all ages may explore the marine world, through interactive displays and exhibits on seabed mapping, marine life, ocean resources and deep sea exploration. The exhibition also covers the key areas of research undertaken by the Marine Institute, such as creating detailed maps of Ireland’s extensive marine territory, understanding the health of fish stocks in Irish waters, monitoring the marine environment and advancing marine technology.

As so much of our oceans still remain unexplored, filmmakers have played an important part in capturing marine life on camera, helping us to learn more about animal behaviour and the effect humans can have on our planet.

Multi-award winning cameraman, Doug Allan, who has worked alongside Sir David Attenborough, will present a series of entertaining talks, including some talks specifically for kids during SeaFest 2019. The documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic, which features ground-breaking footage of sea creatures in Irish waters, will also be screened in the Marine Institute’s Wild Atlantic Theatre.

Adapting to a changing climate is one of the greatest challenges facing society. The Marine Institute works with national and international partners to observe and understand how our ocean is changing. In collaboration with Met Éireann, the Marine Institute manages the Irish Marine Data Buoy Observation Network, which provides vital data for weather forecasts.

Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann, will present a series of talks on weather warnings and our changing weather at the Marine Institute’s Wild Atlantic Theatre over the festival weekend.

The Marine Institute also manages Ireland’s research vessel, the RV Celtic Explorer, which will also be open for tours during SeaFest 2019. The vessel is used for fisheries research, oceanographic, hydrographic and geological investigations and seabed mapping. Visitors will be able to speak to fisheries scientists about the research that is undertaken on board, and see some marine species found in Irish waters.

Following the maritime celebration, Our Ocean Wealth Summit (June 9 to 10) will welcome more than 30 representatives from island states around the world, including senior political representatives from island nations in the Pacific, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean, as well as more than 500 national and international delegates. Places at the Summit are filling up quickly, secure your place by registering at ouroceanwealth.ie.

Keynote speaker, former US Secretary of State John Kerry, will share his insights on climate change and the action required to sustainably and effectively manage our oceans to ensure the health of our planet. Participants will discuss the unique challenges faced by island nations, share stories of island life and identity, connections to the ocean, historical links and new partnerships. The Summit will identify practical ways that island states can work better together, through partnership, to address threats, manage ocean resources and build sustainable blue economies.

For more information on SeaFest 2019 from June 7 to 9 visit seafest.ie, and for Our Ocean Wealth Summit on June 9 to 10 visit ouroceanwealth.ie

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