Cork event to bring together ocean advocates, global experts, key stakeholders, government and industry.

An ocean economist, who won the prestigious 2023 Tyler Prize for the Environment Award, has been announced as the keynote speaker for the inaugural Fair Seas World Ocean Day Conference next month. Rashid Sumaila, Professor of Ocean and Fisheries Economics at the University of British Columbia is a joint recipient of the 2023 award often described as the ‘Nobel Prize for the Environment’ and will be addressing delegates at the World Ocean Day conference on issues of environmental financing, fisheries and ocean protection.
The first-of-its-kind event at Cork City Hall on Thursday, June 8th will bring together ocean advocates, global experts, government, industry and key stakeholders. It aims to map out Ireland’s next steps for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) focusing on designation, management and learning from best practice around the globe.
MPAs are areas of our seas and coasts legally protected from activities that damage the designated habitats, wildlife and natural processes that occur there. Ireland’s Marine Protected Areas Bill 2023 remains at the pre-legislative stage and Fair Seas, a coalition of Ireland’s leading environmental non-governmental organisations and networks, is calling for ambitious and effective legislation to be brought forward as soon as possible.
A number of national and international experts and stakeholders will address the conference including:
● Adrian Gahan, EU and UK Policy Director for National Geographic Pristine Seas;
● Prof Mark Costello, an ecologist specialising in Marine Protected Areas and the effects of climate change on biodiversity, Nord University;
● Dr Micheál Ó Cinnéide, former Director with the EPA, Marine Institute and policy advisor in the Department of the Marine;
● Danni Washington, world-renowned television host and science communicator;
● Brian MacSharry, Head of Group in the Biodiversity, Health and Resources Programme at the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen.
MC for the conference is author and co-founder of The Positive Economist Susan HayesCulleton, CFA.
Aoife O’ Mahony, Campaign Manager for Fair Seas said, “We need action now to restore critical ocean habitats, safeguard wildlife and help address the climate crisis. Our World Ocean Day Conference is about learning from national and international experts and showing how we can apply best practice here. Prof Rashid Sumaila, our keynote speaker, was among the first to apply economic ideas like Game Theory to fisheries. He has shown how economics can help ensure that environmental resources are sustainably managed to benefit all generations. We’re honoured to have speakers from National Geographic Society, European Environment Agency, the Blue Marine Foundation and Ocean D’Azul joining us in Cork. We will also have inspirational addresses from special guests zooming in.”
Rashid Sumaila added, “To get to Infinity Fish from Vanishing Fish we need to abandon the notion that we have to take everything everywhere all at once!”
Pádraic Fogarty, Campaigns Officer with the Irish Wildlife Trust said, “Ireland has long thought of itself as having waters rich in marine life but without meaningful protection this wealth will not endure. We can’t lose any more time in the race to protect what’s left and restore our seas to their former glory.”
The Fair Seas World Ocean Day Conference takes place at Cork City Hall from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm on Thursday, June 8th. Registration is now open with ticket prices starting from €75.00 for students, civil society and environmental non-governmental organisations. To register visit
The LÉ Samuel Beckett will be quayside during the conference and will be open for tours for participants. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s Celtic Mist will also be docked in Cork City to show how citizen science has collected data for decades to inform future decision-making and ocean conservation.or