With over 3,000 km of coastline and one of the biggest marine territories in the world, Ireland can boast an incredible range of different underwater environments and a diversity of marine life that are still mostly unknown although 40% of the Irish population lives within 5 km from the sea.
There is probably no better day to celebrate this underwater treasure than World Oceans Day, which is going to be celebrated next Wednesday the 8th of June. Since 2008, this date has been designated by the United Nations to acknowledge our world’s shared ocean and our personal connection to the sea, as well as to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives and the important ways people can help protect it.
The three speakers of the night will bring the audience on a journey of discovery of the treasure hidden under the waves around Ireland from the three very different perspectives of marine management, citizen science and biodiscovery, but all with the same focus of conservation.
The first speaker will be Tony O’Callaghan, who will give an overview of the activities carried on by Seasearch Ireland, the organisation of which he is coordinator. Seasearch is a project for divers and snorkelers who have an interest in what they’re seeing underwater, want to learn more and want to help protect the marine environment around the coasts of Ireland and the UK. Through a number of citizen science projects carried on thanks to the help of its volunteer members, Seasearch aims at mapping out the various types of sea bed found in the near-shore zone around the country in order to establish the richest sites for marine life, the sites where there are problems and the sites which need protection.
The second speaker is Sibéal Regan, Education and Outreach Officer of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, who is also involved in the Fair Seas campaign which has recently been launched by a number of leading national environmental organisations and networks to rapidly expand Marine Protected Areas in Irish Waters, with a target of at least 10% of Irish waters to be designated as ‘Fully Protected’ by 2025 and at least 30% by 2030. Sibéal’s talk will focus on the new report ‘Revitalising Our Seas, Identifying Areas of Interest for Marine Protected Area Designation in Irish Waters’ which Fair Seas will release on World Oceans Day.
The third speaker is Sam Afoullouss, PhD student at the Marine Biodiscovery Laboratory in NUI Galway who will describe the variety of underwater environments that can be find around Ireland, from the rich kelp forests in our shallow waters to the flourishing coral gardens in our oceans darkest depths, and how these have shown to have a still untapped medicinal potential. As he did in his acclaimed TED talk which was released at the end of last year, Sam will dive into the science behind natural remedies, explaining why the ocean’s great and still largely unexplored biodiversity is ideal for deriving and inspiring future treatments, but only if we protect its waters and life.
This special night of marine talks at is open to everybody for free next Wednesday the 8th of June from 7 to 8:30 PM and booking is essential