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Simon Coveney welcomes Prince Albert II of Monaco to the Marine Institute in Galway. Historic Memorandum of Understanding between Monaco and Ireland Signed.

Minister Simon Coveney, T.D, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine welcomed His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco to the Marine Institute in Galway today. The visit was organised at the request of the Prince who keenly follows his family's traditional interest in marine environmental awareness.

An 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, which will foster an increased level of interchange of ideas for the mutual benefit of both organisations, was signed in the presence of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney T.D. by Marine Institute CEO Dr. Peter Heffernan and the Chief Executive of the Institut Océanographique of Monaco Mr. Robert Calcagno.

Minister Coveney said "I am delighted to welcome His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and his fiancée, Ms. Charlene Wittstock to the Marine Institute here in Galway. The visit supports the development of shared links in a range of activities on the marine in both Ireland and Monaco. Prince Albert and I were pleased that the Institutes signed a Memorandum of Understanding which reflects, in very concrete terms, the shared interest in the sustainable development of ocean resources between our two 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 Oceanographique, the grandson of its founder, who so obviously shares the family passion for the sea. 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."

The Memorandum signed today seeks to further develop joint events, outreach and awareness activities by both organisations in a number 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 and seeks to promote channels of communication and collaboration with the Internationally recognised Institut Océanographique which was founded by Prince Albert 1st and recently celebrated its 100th birthday in March 2010 during the International Year of Biodiversity.

Speaking on behalf of the Marine Institute, Chief Executive 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 film maker 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 Mr. Robert Calcagno explained that his institute had been created to appreciate, understand and protect the oceans by Prince Albert 1st of Monaco and began contributing in 1910 to the development of modern oceanography. "Today," he said, "the Institute is a dynamic, determined player, actively engaged in international cooperation. 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 cooperation. For proof, the Principality of Monaco obtains 17% 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 force for five years from the date of signing, will be monitored by Mr. Calcagno and Dr. Heffernan jointly with senior management in both the Marine Institute and the Institut Océanographique of Monaco.

Date Released: 06 April 2011