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Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.

About the Maritime Sector

About the Maritime Sector

Please give an overview of your sector?

The ocean is a national asset for Ireland, supporting a diverse marine economy, with vast potential to tap into a €1,200 billion global marine market for seafood, tourism, oil and gas, marine renewable energy, and new applications for health, medicine and technology.

Ireland is also uniquely placed to capitalise on this potential - taking our seabed area into account, Ireland is one of the largest EU states, with exclusive rights over one of the largest sea to land ratios (over 10:1) of any EU State. Our coastline of 7,500km is longer than that of many European countries and yet this is a resource and area for career opportunity that we often overlook.

The Real Map of Ireland

The marine economy comprises well established sectors such as;

  • Marine Manufacturing, Construction and Engineering
  • Marine Science & Research
  • Marine Tourism & Leisure
  • Maritime Commerce
  • Seafood (fisheries, aquaculture, seafood processing)
  • Shipping and Maritime Transport

New, emerging sectors of the marine economy are also important and include;

  • Marine Biotechnology and Bioproducts
  • Marine ICT and Technology
  • New emerging sources of energy – marine renewables/ocean energy

A qualification in the marine sector can lead to extensive employment opportunities across a large global market. Marine occupations in areas such as offshore services and seafaring can offer employees exciting opportunities to travel the world and other skills such as technology, engineering, construction, science and research and business development are transferable across a wide range of sectors.

What is the size and scope of the sector?

The ocean surrounding Ireland is vitally important to the Irish economy. According to the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) in NUI Galway, the Irish marine sector has an estimated turnover of €4.5 billion and supports over 30,000 jobs, directly and indirectly. There are many opportunities for a career in the marine economy. Many of the skills are transferable across the different marine sectors, and more widely, numerous skills developed in external sectors are adaptable to the marine sector.

A recent report from the OECD – The Ocean Economy in 2030 (2016) – shows:

  • Global ocean value = €1,200 billion (2.5% GVA)
  • Offshore Oil & Gas = 1/3 of the total global ocean value
  • Maritime tourism and equipment, and ports follow Offshore Oil & Gas as the sectors with the next largest respective proportions of the total global ocean value.
  • Direct Employment = 31 million FTEs


What are the current issues affecting this sector?

Ocean Literacy –The lack of awareness regarding marine opportunities and careers in Ireland is a major issue affecting the sector.

Interdisciplinary Knowledge and Experience – The recent report by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs suggests that experience working in multi-disciplinary environments and inter-disciplinary knowledge will be very important for the future of Ireland’s marine economy as more areas of the marine sector are working together on more complex and technical projects.  This requires bringing together professionals from diverse backgrounds – such as engineers, planners and architects with ecologists, biologists, and chemists.

What changes are anticipated over the next 5 years

According to The Ocean Economy in 2030, a recent OECD report looking at the global ocean economy trends and projections to 2030, there is projected ocean value growth across a range of marine sectors. The OECD also anticipate employment in the global marine economy will increase to 40 million FTEs from 31 million FTEs by 2030. The fastest growing areas for ocean value and employment are predicated in the areas of:

  • Aquaculture
  • Offshore wind
  • Port services including shipbuilding and repair
  • Seafood processing

Innovation, science and technology will have a key role to play in the future of the marine economy.

The Irish Government formally set the following national economic targets:

• Double the value of our ocean wealth to 2.4% of GDP by 2030

• Increase the turnover from our ocean economy to exceed €6.4bn by 2020

2020 Growth Scenarios for Our Ocean Wealth

If the targets of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth are achieved, this will create an additional 29,300 jobs (16,100 from the marine sector and 13,200 in the wider economy). The three sectors that will have the largest increase in jobs respectively are shipping & transport, marine tourism, and marine manufacturing, engineering & construction.

This growth is built on a number of EU and national initiatives that are already underway e.g. EU Blue Growth, a new Marine Development Team that will be housed in the Irish Maritime Development Office of the Marine Institute and Maritime Spatial Planning.

Do you have any statistics relevant to the sector?

Ireland's Ocean Economy (SEMRU, NUI Galway) 

Turnover and Value Added

  • Turnover = €4.5 billion
  • Top three marine sectors
    • Shipping & Maritime Transport
    • Seafood
    • Marine Tourism & Leisure
  • Emerging Sectors
    • R&D intensive industries (e.g. high-tech marine products & services and ocean energy) have seen substantial increases. In recent years there has been a large increase in gross value added GVA (approximately 90%) within these sectors


Turnover and Value Added by Sector of Ireland's Ocean Economy (SEMRU, NUI Galway)


Employment in Ireland’s Ocean Economy is estimated at 18,480 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs). Furthermore, over 30,000 jobs are supported by the Irish marine, either directly or indirectly. There are a large number of people working in the sector on a seasonal or part-time basis e.g. in the seafood sector direct employment is just over 5,000 FTEs, however, when indirect and seasonal employees are accounted for employment in the sector is closer to 11,000.

  • Top three marine sectors in terms of employment (FTEs):
    • Marine Tourism & Leisure
    • Seafood & Bioresources (Fisheries, Aquaculture, Seafood Processing, Biotech/Seaweed)
    • Shipping & Maritime Transport (including international shipping services

Employment (FTEs) by Sector of Ireland's Ocean Economy (SEMRU, NUI Galway)


Are there any areas in your sector currently experiencing skills shortages?

There are extensive career opportunities in the marine economy, with many of the skills required also being transferable across the different sectors, e.g. fishermen providing services to the offshore energy sector, merchant seafarers finding employment in the ports after their time working at sea. There are also extensive opportunities for graduates with skills in engineering, ICT and across a range of scientific disciplines.

Marine sectors with the greatest skills demand are reported in the seafood, maritime transport, shipbuilding and offshore services, and marine tourism areas.


A Study of the Current and Future Skills Requirements of the Marine/Maritime Economy to 2020.

According to ‘A Study of the Current and Future Skills Requirements of the Marine / Maritime Economy to 2020’ (EGFSN, 2015), certain sectors of the marine and maritime economy are experiencing an ageing of workforce, which will present a skills difficulty unless measures are put in place to attract and upskill younger workers.

While operatives and lower skilled roles are a component of the marine economy, there is evidence of a shift towards more professionals being employed in sectors such as seafood, marine renewable energy and maritime monitoring, where professionals such as engineers are in high demand.

Thinking of a Career Change? 'Marinise' your skills and realise an ocean of opportunity ... 

Many of the occupations and qualifications required for working in the marine economy are either non-technical, e.g., managers, professionals or associate professionals in fields such as law, accountancy and business development, or not specific to the marine economy, e.g., engineering and software development. None of these qualifications are specific to the marine sector, but may be “marinised” – that is, additional training or a ‘top-up qualification’ in a marine context. “Marinisation” applies across the full spectrum of occupations and qualifications such that a mechanical engineer, an electrician or a construction worker can upskill or “marinise” his/her skills and be able to work in a marine or off-shore environment. This upskilling or “marinising” of a skill provides more employment opportunities.

In addition to “marinising” traditional disciplines and training, ICT skills are being recognised as more important areas in maritime education and training as ICT is now so central to all aspects of the economy.