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Calling on the people of Ireland to contribute to a better, bluer future - EU Mission Citizen Survey opens in Ireland

The Marine Institute and the European Commission are inviting the people of Ireland to contribute to a better, bluer future for our ocean, seas, coastal and inland waters, by completing an online survey. Irish citizens can share what they believe are the top priorities for the health of our ocean and inland waters and how we can sustainably use and benefit from our marine and aquatic resources.

The online survey supports the European Union’s Mission for Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters. The Mission aims to know, restore and protect our ocean and waters by 2030, by reducing human pressures on marine and freshwater environments, restoring degraded ecosystems and sustainably harnessing the essential goods and services they provide. Inspired by the shape of the starfish, the Mission pursues five interdependent objectives – knowledge, regeneration, depollution, decarbonisation and governance.

Our ocean, seas, coastal and inland waters cover around 75 percent of the Earth’s surface. They provide us with all our drinking water, half of the oxygen we breathe and around one sixth of the animal protein we eat. Our ocean has a major influence on our weather and climate and since heavy industry began, our ocean has stored more than 25% of the human emissions of carbon dioxide. Our ocean also supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems, with a significant majority of Earth’s living species living within the ocean. Our ocean, coastal and inland waters also support tourism, trade and transport, as well as providing benefits to our health and wellbeing.

A longstanding ocean ambassador, Dr Peter Heffernan is Ireland’s representative appointed to the Mission Board for Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters. Speaking about the Mission Board’s call to the people of Ireland, Dr Heffernan said, “Protecting and restoring the health of our ocean is one of the defining endeavours of our time, and citizens are crucial to accomplishing this mission. I urge the people of Ireland to help design and shape our mission to help heal our ocean, seas, lakes and waters. The mission is hugely ambitious, but crucial for both the health of our planet and the wellbeing of current and future generations.”

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute said, “As an island nation, Ireland has a special relationship with the ocean, and its coastal and inland waters. It is our greatest natural resource, providing us with food, influencing our weather and climate, supporting marine ecosystems, sustaining our coastal communities and contributing to our economy. Knowing, restoring and protecting our ocean and waters is a shared responsibility and will only be possible with the full support of science and people. The people of Ireland have the opportunity to share how the ocean is important to their everyday lives and to outline their priorities for achieving a healthy ocean.”

The Mission for knowing, restoring and protecting our ocean and waters by 2030 is ambitious but critically important for planetary health and the wellbeing of future generations. Citizens are crucial to accomplishing this Mission. They will help to set objectives and targets and to ensure that Missions make a real difference in everybody’s lives. Working with the Marine Institute in Ireland, the European Commission wants to engage in a dialogue with Irish citizens to establish what they believe are the top priorities for the health of the ocean and inland waters and how we can sustainably use and benefit from marine and aquatic resources. Anyone who wants to contribute to a better, bluer future can get involved. A dedicated Irish citizen engagement exercise is being conducted in Ireland throughout August 2020 and includes an online citizen survey. To complete the survey visit https://getinvolvedinmissions.eu/conferences/oceans/f/164/