SEMRU input to IPBES Regional Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Europe and Central Asia

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services  (IPBES) Regional Assessment Reports on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services were launched today. SEMRU’s Stephen Hynes was a lead author on chapter six of the  European and Central Asia report.

Three years in development, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services  (IPBES) Regional Assessment Reports on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services involved the review of several thousand scientific papers, as well as extensive Government and other information sources, including indigenous and local knowledge, to arrive at conclusions about each region's land-based, freshwater and coastal biodiversity, as well as the state of ecosystem functioning and nature's contributions to people. Together they represent the most important expert contribution of the past decade to understanding of nature and its contributions to people, offering a roadmap for future action.


The Regional Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Europe and Central Asia produced by IPBES provides a critical analysis of the state of knowledge regarding the importance, status, and trends of biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people. “The assessment analyses the direct and underlying causes for the observed changes in biodiversity and in nature’s contributions to people, and the impact that these changes have on the quality of life of people”.

The ECA assessment report is now available on the IPBES website. You can find the document here: 


Moses Partners meet in Bilbao, 13-14th November

Participants from Spain, Portugal, UK and Ireland took part in the second Partner Meeting of the MOSES Project in Bilbao recently. The group are part of the MOSES project, led by SEMRU, which is funded by Interreg Atlantic Area Programme and looks at blue growth for the key marine sectors.

This event also gave opportunity for engagement with a number of Spanish stakeholders in the marine sector, from which the partners gained valuable transnational expertise.

Over the next 12 months the project will be working to identify and assess the sectorial pressures of the marine environment in the Atlantic Region, using “Living Lab” case studies to demonstrate sustainable transition pathways and culminating in the development of an integrated marine sustainability toolkit.

MOSES Bilbao

 Pictured: Moses Partners

The 9th Annual Marine Economics and Policy Research Symposium, 8th November 2018

The Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU), Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, recently hosted it’s 9th Annual Marine Economics & Policy Research Symposium (18th Nov). With over 80 delegates, the day was a great success with this year’s theme, ‘The Marine Economy: Access and Infrastructure’. Speakers included Lt. Cdr Paul Hegarty, Irish Naval Service,  Dr Christina Kelly, Queen’s University Belfast,  Dr Gianluca Grilli of the Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin and Dr Ingrid Mateo Mantecon, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain, to name but a few. The first session addressed marine and coastal resource usage and access, including sea level rise costs, seabass angling – access and effort, marine & coastal tourism and transforming marine governance. Following that, the mid-morning session gave an eye opening insight into the world of maritime security in Ireland, fisheries protection and policing, followed by the ever hot topic of Brexit and the displacement of fishing. This led nicely into a cosy discussion over lunch overlooking the River Corrib on a sunny November day.

Dr Stephen Hynes, Director of SEMRU said, ‘A highlight of the day was the afternoon plenary session, where Dr Micheál O'Cinnéide shared his vast experiences and views on marine governance and spatial planning in Ireland. Micheál is a great voice for marine spatial planning, calling for an increase in resources equivalent to its land counterpart and is urging Ireland to follow Scotland’s example in designing the State’s first plan for its marine territory’. Check out the article from the Irish Times on Micheál’s plenary here.

Michael O'Cinneide

 Pictured: Dr Micheál O'Cinnéide

The final session zoned in on ports - looking at access and efficiency. A comparison of Spanish versus Irish ports in terms of port efficiency was presented, along with specialization indexes. Bringing the day to a close was container port terminal sustainability, specifically looking at Turkish ports as a case study.

Next year will see the 10th anniversary of the symposium.


SEMRU's Daniel Norton presents the EU Interreg MOSES project at the 5th Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference, October 23 - 24th, Vigo, Spain

Danny Vigo 1

D‌r. Daniel Norton presenting the EU Interreg MOSES project at the 5th Atlantic Platform Stakeholders meeting in Vigo - Daniel presented in the session 'The Atlantic Area Programme: fostering transnational cooperation to promote a BLUE future'.

SEMRU Seminar, Tuesday 26th June, 2018

'Corporate Carbon Footprint: An application to Ports'
Presenter: Ingrid Mateo-Mantecón, Associate Professor Department of Economics (Full Time). Universidad de Cantabria. Santander. Spain

'A Bayesian Belief Network Model for Integrated Energy Efficiency of Shipping'
Presenter: Murat Aymelek, SEMRU Post-Doctoral Researcher, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway

Time: 12.30pm - 2pm

Venue: SAC Room (CA103), J.E. Cairnes Business School, NUI Galway

Pictured L to R: Dr. Stephen Hynes, Dr. Ingrid Mateo-Mantecón and Dr. Murat Aymelek

SEMRU lunchtime seminar


SEMRU's Stephen Hynes attended the 3rd ATLAS General Assembly in Mallorca, April 9th - 13th, 2018

Pictured: The H2020 Atlas partners attending the 3rd General Assembly in Mallorca - looking cold!

For more pictures, visit the Atlas Facebook page

SEMRU invited to join Marine Spatial Planning Advisory Group

SEMRU's Stephen Hynes has been invited to be a member of the Department of Housing, and Local Government’s  Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Advisory Group. The group is chaired by Damien English TD, Minister for Housing and Urban Development. The purpose of the Advisory Group is to harness the potential and capacity of a broad range of sectors including representation from the public sector, business, environmental, social and knowledge based sectors to guide strategic thinking and decision-making in the preparation of marine spatial plans. The first meeting of the group was held on Tuesday 20th March 2018 at the Department’s offices in the Custom House, Dublin. At the end of the meeting, Rhona Fairgrieve of the Scottish Coastal Forum facilitated a demonstration of the ’MSP Challenge’ board game for group members (pictured). Minster English is pictured third from left and Stephen Hynes seventh.

NUI Galway host the kick off meeting for the new Interreg Atlantic Area project MOSES, 14-15th February

NUI Galway welcomed the project partners to NUI Galway for the first meeting of the EU Interreg project MOSES (Maritime, Ocean Sector and Ecosystem Sustainability: fostering blue growth in Atlantic industries). MOSES is a three year project in which the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at NUI Galway's Whitaker Institute will be coordinating. The project will examine the size and growth of key strategic marine industries across the Atlantic Arc and will propose the ’blue growth’ path for the sustainable development of the major sectors operating in the space as envisaged in the Atlantic Action Plan and the EU Blue Growth strategy. To achieve these aims, the project participants will build on the expertise gained in the EU INTERREG Atlantic IV project, Marine Atlantic Regions Network (MARNET).

You can follow us on Twitter @atlanticmoses, and the project website will be available very soon!

For more information, please contact

SEMRU Seminar, Wednesday 27th February 2018

'Ecosystem Services and the Deep Sea'

Presenter: Dr Naomi Foley, SEMRU, Whitaker Institute

Time: 1pm

Venue: CA110, St. Anthonys Building, J.E. Cairnes Business School, NUI Galway

SEMRU Seminar, Wednesday 27th February 2018

"Linking Maritime Security and Ocean Development - A Small Island Developing State Perspective"
Presenter: Dr Robert McCabe, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University

Time: 3pm

Venue: CA110, St. Anthonys Building, J.E. Cairnes Business School, NUI Galway

New EPA report by SEMRU researchers launched

An EPA report on the economic value of Ireland’s marine and coastal ecosystems has just been published [EPA Research Report No 239:  Valuing Ireland’s Coastal, Marine and Estuarine Ecosystem Services]. The work undertaken by SEMRU researchers, Daniel Norton and Stephen Hynes, and John Boyd from the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, provides an assessment of the benefit values that nature provides to society in the marine and coastal zones. These benefits are known as ecosystem services and include the provision of food sources such as wild fisheries and aquaculture, the regulation of climate and waste treatment and cultural services such as recreation and the aesthetics of the Irish coastline. This initial assessment of Ireland’s marine ecosystem services and their value is an important first step in incorporating ecosystem services into policy and decision making related to Ireland’s marine and coastal zones.

The report is available to download at the following link:

SEMRU Seminar, Wednesday 21st February 2018

"Behavioural Nudges in Environmental Policy "
Presenter: Nick Hanley, Professor of Environmental and One Health Economics, University of Glasgow, Scotland

Time: 4pm

Venue: CA110 (SAC Room), St. Anthonys Building

Registration Open! The 9th Annual Marine Economic & Policy Research Symposium, 8th November 2018, Glenlo Abbey Hotel

The Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) of the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, invites you to attend the 9th Annual Marine Economics and Policy Research Symposium.

 The overall day will provide participants with an update on a wide range of policy topics related to the marine sector in Ireland. The theme of this year’s event is “The Marine Economy: Access and Infrastructure”. Speakers will include Captain Robert McCabe, Commissioners of Irish Lights,  Dr Christina Kelly, Queen’s University Belfast,  Dr Gianluca Grilli of the Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin and Professor Ingrid Mateo Mantecon, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain, to name but a few.

Registration is free and there will be a light lunch on the day. We look forward to seeing you all there.

Dr Stephen Hynes attended and presented at the recent Lisbon Workshop on Blue Natural Capital, 3-4th October 2018

Dr Stephen Hynes attended and presented at the recent Lisbon Workshop on Blue Natural Capital which took place from 3-4 October 2018 at the Lisbon Ocean Aquarium (Oceanário de Lisboa) in Lisbon, Portugal. The Workshop was organised by the Oceano Azul Foundation. The two-day workshop explored how to mainstream Blue Natural Capital ideas and concepts into economic science, corporate accounting, ecosystem management, and policy and international processes. The workshop also highlighted case studies on valuing Blue Natural Capital and its use in conservation strategies, revenue models and business cases for a sustainable ocean economy.

The workshop was attended by approximately 30 participants, including academics, economists, lawyers, conservationists, and civil society. The workshop gathered inputs on the state of play on Blue Natural Capital and proposals to promote the conservation and restoration of oceans at the highest political level. The summary of the workshop is available at


Picture: Participants at Lisbon Workshop on Blue Natural Capital

SEMRU launches a new report on Ireland’s marine ecosystem service values, Friday 29th June

A new report by SEMRU ’Valuing Ireland’s Blue Ecosystem Services’ was launched today at the 5th Annual Ocean Wealth Conference, taking place in Galway as part of Ireland’s national maritime festival ’SeaFest’. Up to now SEMRU has produced bi-annual reports on the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy, valued at €1.8 billion or approximately 1% of GDP in 2017. This new research however, focuses on the ecosystem service benefits that society receives from Ireland’s marine environment. Marine ecosystem services are provided by the processes, functions and structure of the marine environment that directly or indirectly contribute to societal welfare, health and economic activities.  These services are vital to ensuring blue growth in the ocean economy. Factoring marine ecosystem service values into ocean economy account frameworks may help to ensure a sustainable “blue economy” for Ireland by making sure that growth in the ocean economy does not exceed the carrying capacity of the marine environment. 

Summary of Economic Contribution of marine ecosystem services:
• The provisioning marine ecosystem services of fisheries and aquaculture is estimated to be worth €473 million per annum to all fleets and producers operating in Irish waters.  Seaweed harvesting is valued at €4 million and aquaculture €150 million.
• The regulating and maintenance ecosystem services of carbon sequestration are valued at €815 million per annum, waste assimilation services €317 million and coastal defence services of €11.5 million.
• The cultural ecosystem services of scientific and educational services are valued at €11.5 million, and the added value per annum to housing stock of being at the coast (aesthetic services) is valued at €68 million. On an annual basis, recreational services provided by the marine ecosystems are estimated to have an economic value of €1.7 billion.
• Even though not all of the ecosystem services provided by the marine environment can be monetarized the report indicates that the value of those that can is substantial.

Pictured L to R: Danial Norton, SEMRU, Damien English TD, Sean Kyne TD, Peter Heffernan, Marine Institute


T‌he report is available to download VIBES_Report_Valuing_Ireland's_Blue_Ecosystem_Services

For any further information, please contact

SEMRU has published its latest figures on Ireland’s Ocean Economy, Thursday 27th June 2018

NUI Galway’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has released its latest update on Ireland’s Ocean Economy as part of their 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.

The updated figures indicate that in 2017, the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy was an estimated €1.97 billion or approximately 1% of gross domestic product (GDP), which represents a 21% increase on 2015 figures. The 2017 estimates also suggest that our ’blue economy’ continues to grow at a faster pace than the general economy.

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% of GDP.
• The ocean economy provided employment to over 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% of the total turnover and 93% of total employment in Ireland’s ocean economy in 2017. 
• Emerging Marine Industries had a turnover of €398 million and provided employment to over 2,000 full-time equivalents representing 8% of the turnover and 7% of employment in Ireland’s ocean economy in 2017.

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% of GDP by 2030. This 2.4% 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% 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% of GDP in 2017.

For more information on the latest figures, please see Ireland's Ocean Economy InfographicOcean_Economy_Stats_2018_Infographic