Galway and Monaco institutes sign memorandum of understanding

7 Apr 2011

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney, TD, welcomed Prince Albert II of Monaco to the Marine Institute in Galway yesterday.

The prince, who is keen to continue the family tradition of advocating marine environmental awareness, asked to visit the institute in Galway.

A historic memorandum of understanding had been drawn up by the Marine Institute in Galway and the Institut Océanographique of Monaco to coincide with the visit. This memorandum will cultivate an increased level of interchange of ideas for the mutual benefit of both organisations.

“It was a tremendous honour for me to be here in Galway to welcome Prince Albert II of Monaco, honorary chairman of the Institut Océanographique, and the grandson of its founder, who so obviously shares the family passion for the sea,” said Coveney. “We look forward to a fruitful collaboration between our two organisations in raising awareness of the very real issues that face us in the years ahead.”

Purpose of the memorandum of understanding

The memorandum, which they both signed, is designed to further develop joint events and outreach and awareness activities by both organisations in a range of important areas of marine education, environmental protection, renewable ocean energy and the ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

The Marine Institute is already developing expertise in many of these areas following the implementation of Sea Change – the Marine Knowledge, Research & Innovation Strategy for Ireland 2007-2013 with projects such as SmartBay and the marine energy test sites in Galway and Mayo. It aims to promote channels of communication and collaboration with the Institut Océanographique.

Chief executive of the Marine Institute, Dr Peter Heffernan, said, “It is a great honour to work with an organisation with such close ties to the legendary Jacques Yves-Cousteau, the underwater explorer and filmmaker who inspired a generation of marine researchers and took a quantum leap in educating the world about the global issues facing the sustainable development of the oceans.”

Chief executive of the Institut Océanographique of Monaco Robert Calcagno said the institute had been established by Prince Albert 1st of Monaco to create appreciation and understanding of oceans.

“The institute is a dynamic, determined player, actively engaged in international co-operation. This is why we are particularly pleased to start this partnership with the renowned Marine Institute in Galway, Ireland. We hope to gain insights into the cutting-edge technologies developed by Ireland which aim at solving the challenges of sustainably developing its vast undersea territory.

“The development of energy from the sea is an extremely promising subject for co-operation. For proof, the Principality of Monaco obtains 17pc of the country’s overall energy from the sea, by using heat pumps, in particular. Single Buoy Moorings Offshore, an energy engineering company based in Monaco and working all over the world, is presently developing very innovative wave energy conversion technology.”

Progress under the memorandum of understanding, which will be in place for five years from the date of signing, will be jointly managed by senior management from both the Marine Institute and the Institut Océanographique of Monaco.