Ireland now has the biggest marine territory of any country in the European Union, a conference in Dublin has been told.

It covers over 650,000 sq.km, more than 10 times the country’s land area.

The results were outlined at the national seabed survey conference, where an independent assessment has put the value of the work carried out by the Geological Survey Office and the Marine Institute at €275m.

A new survey vessel is completing the first mapping of Dublin Bay since 1800 when the last one was carried out by Captain William Bligh, who later became infamous in the Mutiny on the Bounty.

A study commissioned by the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources says that potential benefits from the marine territory cover a wide range of possibilities, including hydrocarbons, marine biotechnology, fish farming, fish stocks and renewable energy and could be worth billions of euro to the economy.

There is considerable international interest in the Irish research work and a strong overseas attendance at the conference.

The new survey mapping vessel has been named the R.V.Keary, in memory of Raymond Keary of the Geological Survey Office, who is credited as the man who originally proposed the concept of an Irish seabed survey.

For more: InfoMar.ie