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Strategy: Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth

Ireland CP, Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland


This sets out a roadmap for the Government’s vision, high-level goals and integrated actions across policy, governance and business to enable our marine potential to be realised. Implementation of this Plan will see Ireland evolve an integrated system of policy and programme planning for marine affairs.

Application in MSP:
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Questions this practice may help answer

  • What should an integrated marine plan look like?
  • What enabling actions should be put in place to support delivery of sustainable marine growth?

Implementation Context

Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth is the Irish Government’s first integrated marine plan. It recognises that Ireland has a vast marine territory, many times the size of its terrestrial resource, and that this provides a national asset in terms of its non-commercial resources such as biodiversity and climate, but also with huge potential for development and growth across a wide range of economic sectors (e.g. tourism, seafood and marine energy). In order to maximise this potential, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – the Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland was launched in July 2012 following a period of public consultation. HOOW sets out the Government’s Vision, High-Level Goals, and Key ‘Enabling’ Actions to put in place the appropriate policy, governance and business climate to enable their vision to be realised. Under the enabler of ‘Governance’, the need to develop an integrated approach to marine planning and licensing, plus the development of an appropriate marine spatial planning framework for Ireland are included as key actions.

Aspects / Objectives

  • Identifying an overarching vision and goals for sustainable marine development
  • Identifying actions to support achievement of goals
  • Supporting achievement of international goals and legislative targets, such as European Directives
  • Supporting and promoting multiple uses of the sea by different sectors
  • Considering economic and social benefits of marine development
  • Identifying new marine growth sectors


Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth was developed by the Irish Government’s Inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group, which was first established in 2009. The Plan was developed following a period of public consultation that was held in early 2012. Alongside the main consultation document, Our Ocean Wealth: Seeking Your Views: New Ways; New Approaches; New Thinking, 3 briefing documents were prepared, outlining the economic and environmental context, sectoral analyses and definitions of enablers to support the delivery of HOOW. Over this consultation period, 192 responses were received from a variety of stakeholders including NGOs, Trade and Professional associations, SMEs, Higher Education Institutions and others. The results of this consultation fed into the final version of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth.


Main Outputs / Results

Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – an Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland was published in July 2012. This document sets out the Government’s Vision, High-Level Goals, and Key ‘Enabling’ Actions to put in place the appropriate policy, governance and business climate to enable our marine potential to be realised.

Since the publication of HOOW there have been annual updates on progress towards implementation. These documents provide an update on key activities undertaken to the end of each given year and focus for the next year.

All the documents are available online at:


Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth is a high-level document which has been subject to public consultation and debate. This process is easily replicable for other strategic planning documents.

Responsible Entity

Inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group, Irish Government

Contact Person

Marine Coordination Group Bureau, Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine

Email: (MarineCoordinationGroupBureau[at]agriculture[dot]gov[dot]ie)