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Maritime Spatial Planning

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 19 June 2018

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Questions (458)

Bríd Smith


458. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the costs of all seabed geological mapping exercises and seabed surveys conducted since 1995. [26267/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The ‘Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Ireland's Marine Resource’ (INFOMAR) is a joint venture between Geological Survey of Ireland and the Marine Institute. The programme concentrates on creating a range of integrated mapping products of the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed in the near-shore area. The primary use of the data is in improved charting for safer shipping, offshore environmental protection, fishing, aquaculture, marine planning, offshore renewable energy, marine tourism and marine development. The data is also used to a very limited extent by the oil and gas sector. The programme is a successor to the Irish National Seabed Survey (INSS). The combined costs of both of these seabed mapping programmes since 1995 is €78.5 million. An external independent evaluation indicated the return across all sectors to be more than four times the costs incurred. In respect of petroleum related surveys, these are primarily undertaken by exploration companies. However, since 1995 my Department has initiated and funded at a total cost of €7.4 million a seismic survey and a bathymetric survey for the purposes of the delineation of the Irish continental shelf, and a regional seismic acquisition programme over Ireland's major Atlantic basins to complement existing datasets and to fill data gaps.