NPA Annual Event 2017 - Blue Opportunities: The Marine Economy in the NPA

Date Location Organiser
21 Sep 2017 Galway, Ireland Joint Secretariat in cooperation with the Northern & Western Regional Assembly, Ireland

The NPA Annual Conference 2017 addressed Blue Growth as its main theme. The programme not only focuses on the Arctic, but also aims to contribute to the Atlantic Strategy. The conference addressed such topics as entrepreneurship and innovation related to fisheries and aquaculture, environmental protection and maritime and coastal tourism.


Galway located on the Atlantic coast was a fitting location. The venue was the Marine Institute, which plays a national coordinating role in the Atlantic Strategy.

Marine Institute

Presentations are available below.


The event gathered 136 participants, including projects funded by the NPA and other Interreg programmes, representatives from programme bodies, representatives from the European Commission, and stakeholders from organisations linked to Blue Growth, in particular in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation, protecting and developing the Atlantic marine and coastal environment, and creating a socially inclusive model of regional development for the Atlantic regions.  

The day was chaired by the Chair of the Monitoring Committee and Director of Northern and Western Regional Assembly, David Minton.

The Annual Conference was divided into two sessions. The main focus of the morning session was on the EU Atlantic Maritime Strategy, the Irish Marine economy and the role of Marine Institute.

The session started with presentation of the overview of the Marine Institute and EU Programme Engagement, by the director of the Policy, Innovation and Research Support, Dr. Naill McDonough. His presentation was later on followed by his colleague from the support-team for the Atlantic Action Plan from Marine Institute, Joanne Laffey. Her presentation was about the Atlantic Maritime Strategy, and focused on the cooperation opportunities the NPA projects.

The morning session included also speech from the Director of the Directorate "Maritime Policy and Blue Economy" of the European Commission's Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Directorate-General, Dr. Bernhard Friess, who presented promoting sustainable blue Growth in the Atlantic and the Arctic. In his presentation, he added information about the sustainable development of the seas, and the opportunities and challenges that could be found within that.

Another interesting topic was presented by Dr. Stephen Hynes, director of the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit, who talked about the socio-economic perspectives when it comes to measuring the value of the Atlantic Marine economy.

The managing director of the ocean rainforest from Faroe Islands, Mr Olavur Gregersen, highlighted the topic Blue Opportunities in the North Atlantic with focus on Marine Biomass Cultivation.

By the end of the session we had another speaker from Faroe Islands, the designer and winner of Blue Fashion Challenge 2017, Ms Sissal Kristiansen from the company Shisa. She presented her products made of fish leader and seaweed fabric and opens the eyes for the topic sustainable fashion.

A panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Ole Damsgaard and Mr. Declan McGarrigle about the new funding opportunities under the NPA programme.

During 2017-2018, the NPA will be at the peak of the number of funded projects. For this reason, the event will be a good opportunity to showcase what has been achieved so far. The afternoon session focused on project presentations that included the topics such as Marine Entrepreneurship, Marine and Coastal Environment and Inclusive and Sustainable Growth/tourism.


Each project had a short presentation, where they were asked to focus on introducing their project and why they started, what is the situation today, and what is the aim for the future goals. The whole idea was to give overview of the impacts that the products or services are having on the programme area.


We had the pleasure having following speakers and project on the afternoon session.


  • URCHIN (NPA) - Presented by Philip James, Nofima, Norway
  • SMARTFISH  (NPA) – Presented by Ragnheidur Thorarindottir, University of Iceland
  • Bluefish project (Ireland/Wales) – Presented by Benen Dallaghan, BIM - Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, Ireland
  • Circular Ocean (NPA) – Presented by Michelle Greene, Macroom-E, Ireland TBC
  • APP4SEA (NPA) – Presented by Niko Hänninen, University of Oulu, Finland
  • COMPASS (Ireland/N. Ireland/Scotland) – Presented by Adam Mellor, The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Northern Ireland
  • Cool Route (NPA) – Presented by Breda Kenny, Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland
  • Atlantic on Bike Project (Atlantic Area) – Anna Conner, Mayo Co. Council, Ireland
  • Heimablídni: Home Hospitality - A Faroese Tourism Concept – Jákup Sørensen, Nordic-Atlantic Cooperation (NORA)


We would like to thank all participants and contributors to their active contributions.