By Lucy Peoples
The University of Galway Marine Society marks International Marine Awareness Week from 20th Feb to 24th Feb with a variety of events in aid of coastal awareness.
These events are to raise awareness for the most prominent coastal issues both nationally and internationally.
Dr Anne Marie Power, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Zoology at the University of Galway, said:
“The ‘hot topics’ as far as I can see, are expansion of marine reserves and wind and renewable energy in the marine environment.”
She added that “too little of the ocean is protected globally.”
But she also said that there’s a much-needed push to protect marine life in Ireland.
“Various pressure groups are having their say, including coastal communities and the Fair Seas group in Ireland,” she said.
Dr Power also said that “research funding” has been announced by the Marine Institute where a heavy emphasis will be placed on ocean literacy.
Ocean literacy means building a broad understanding of the issues in various spheres of marine environment amongst the public, essentially raising awareness through education.
Dr. Powers pointed out that the year 2023 marks the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
“Renewable energy is also set to expand to meet high government targets by 2030, and this all needs to be balanced against other users,” she said.
“It’s a big fundraising event for marine-based charities,” she says.
“Part of the idea behind it was to try and find a way to reach out to other people. We did this awareness week last year as well, and a lot of the focus was just on fundraising.”
She added that beach cleaning is a “really good way to get active and it also gives you a first-hand view of what’s really going on in terms of pollution in the ocean.”