The emergence of the blue economy as a key driver of sustainable living has refocused National and International attention on harnessing the resources off the coast. New world demands in terms of food supply, energy security, biotechnology and climate change identify the coast as the focus of sustainability.
Ireland has a vast offshore exclusive economic zone which is ten times the area of our land mass. It ranks Ireland the third largest maritime Country within the European Union in terms of sovereign jurisdiction
Co. Mayo is centrally positioned along the Atlantic and in European terms its proximity
- To the North Atlantic Continental Shelf
- To Ocean Biodiversity
- To European fish stocks
- To Marine Traffic
- To Hydrocarbon deposits
- To Renewable energy resources
- To Pristine waters
- To America, particularly in terms of data connectivity
- For Emergency Response/Security
This gives Mayo and particularly the peripheral Coastal Mayo area a spatial significance of international importance. While clearly these are comparative advantages that are unique to the Mayo coastline it is not clear that they are currently being translated into competitive advantages, that the obvious potential suggests, relative to other coastal regions. Along the Atlantic Coast development has become polarised between the north and the south with Cork and Donegal becoming Marine Hubs and as these centres continue to organically grow, the Mid west has for the most part stagnated if not declined. The socio-economic ramification of this relative lack of enterprise has had significant implications for human wellbeing and social capital in our coastal region. By any measure of Human wellbeing this region falls behind the National average.
Mayo County Council set up a Marine Section with the intention of bringing a stronger strategic focus on all aspects the Marine with a view to leveraging our extensive Marine Resources to build a vibrant competitive Marine Sector in Mayo. Our aim is to develop possible pathways to transform what are obvious comparative advantages into competitive advantages and disrupt the current Economic trajectory of our coastal areas and ensure that our local Marine Sector can contribute to the economic sustainability of the County as a whole. We also hope to leverage the emerging blue economy sectors such as offshore energy and marine biotechnology to reinforce and support the more traditional marine activities such as Fishing, Aquaculture and Leisure in terms of investment and infrastructure to build vibrant sustainable coastal communities.
Key to this end is the development of a marine Strategy which will set out a clear vision for marine development in the county for the next twenty years. It will be a key document in terms of influencing and informing other developmental plans such as an integrated Marine Plan, the County Development Plan, The Local Economic and Community Plan and other Regional National and Sectoral Initiatives such as the National Planning Framework and the National Marine Planning Framework, and indeed the FLAGS agenda.
It will be a key document in terms of bidding for future National and European funding calls
It will be the basis for the strategic management and development of the Counties Marine Assets, and it will be a key driver in drawing significant investment into the county from the various sectoral interests both public and private.