Galway West TD Sean Kyne said that the announcement of a €2.9 million iMARL marine monitoring infrastructure will allow for the identification of seabed disturbances associated with large Atlantic storms and also passively track the presence of whales and dolphins.
The Fine Gael TD said iMARL lab includes vibration sensors on the seafloor, water temperature sensors, and underwater sounds recorders which will be placed off the West Coast.
The project has many practical uses and will help detect offshore earthquakes and allow for images to be taken beneath the surface of the sea floor.
Speaking at the launch of the the new iMARL marine monitoring infrastructure, Sean Kyne TD said: “As you may know, Ireland’s marine territory is ten times the size of our landmass, and as an island nation we, in Ireland, have had a long and enduring relationship with our coastline and the marine environment.
“And endeavouring to better understand the fascinating and complex seas and oceans around us have been pursuits of generations upon generations of Irishmen and Irish women.
“In more recent years, we have benefited from a greater coordination of efforts with the work of programmes such as the INFOMAR marine mapping programme funded by my Department.
“This new investment of €2.9m for the iMARL marine lab will take this work even further.
“In 2016 the Ocean Wealth Economic Study, showed the total direct and indirect value of the marine economy was 1.7% of GDP, over €3.37bn in Gross Value added and directly employed over 30,000 people.
“A study commissioned by GSI last year showed a further 15,000 people are employed directly in the geoscience sector, many in the area of energy and marine based activities.
“Therefore the scale of this sector is highly significant and this is why the Government is providing strong support, implementing the Ocean Wealth plan, which is overseen by the interdepartmental Marine Coordination Group.
“From its beginnings in 1940, few could have imagined the extent of the value and usefulness of the research undertaken by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS).
“Today, as DIAS launches this new in situ marine monitoring system, we witness a new era of technological development, national investment and multi-disciplinary research collaboration.
“The Nobel Prizewinner Erwin Schroedinger was the first Director appointed at the Institute. Today, it is home to 120 researchers and is a truly global institution.
“The organisation also manages the Dunsink Observatory and coordinates a range of national initiatives on behalf of government, including the Irish National Seismic Network which is now run with support from the Geological Survey of Ireland.”