Marine & Coastal Sustainability Challenges

Oceans, seas and coastal areas form an integrated and essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem and are critical to sustainable development. They cover more than two-thirds of the earth’s surface and contain 97% of the planet’s water, and are huge reservoirs of biodiversity. Oceans contribute to poverty eradication by creating sustainable livelihoods and decent work. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal resources for their livelihoods. Oceans are crucial for global food security and human health. In 2013, fish provided more than 3.1 billion people with almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein. However, the sustainability of both capture fisheries and aquaculture systems is a major challenge. In 2014, the world’s population consumed more farmed fish than wild-caught fish. Ocean and coastal areas are major contributors to the global economy and fundamental to global wellbeing; through direct economic activities, provision of environmental services, and as home to the majority of the world’s population. More than 40% of the world’s population (more than 2.8 billion people) live within 100 kilometres of the coast. Ocean and coastal areas are major contributors to the global economy and fundamental to global wellbeing; through direct economic activities, provision of environmental services, and as home to the majority of the world’s population. More than 40% of the world’s population (more than 2.8 billion people) live within 100 kilometres of the coast.

The Ryan Institute’s Centre for Ocean Research & Exploration (COREx) conducts research to improve sustainability of both marine and coastal systems and are the leading university users in Ireland of research vessels such as the Celtic Explorer. Our Oceans are also the primary regulator of the global climate, an important sink for greenhouse gases and they provide us with water and the oxygen we breathe. The Ryan Institute’s SFI iCRAG (Galway) Centre researchers are conducting geosciences research to address key research challenges in the fields of energy security, raw materials supply, groundwater protection, safeguarding the geomarine environment and protection from the Earth’s hazards.