Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency and the Irish Forum on Natural Capital co-hosted a breakfast seminar Exploring Natural Capital Solutions for the Marine Environment today (Wednesday, 13th of November) in the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin. Natural Capital is the available stock of renewable and non-renewable resources that support human life. Natural Capital Accounting applies a measurable value to natural capital in economic and/or ecological terms.
The aim of the seminar, supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, was to raise awareness and understanding of Natural Capital Accounting and to explore how it might be used by the seafood and other marine sectors.
Speaking at the event, Jim O’Toole, CEO BIM said:
“ The Irish seafood sector depends on natural resources. BIM is constantly exploring new ways to help the industry improve its performance in a way that is sustainable. This focus on the protection of our marine environment will safeguard coastal communities reliant on the sector into the future.”
Jane Stout, Chair of the Irish Forum on Natural Capital and Professor in Ecology in Trinity College Dublin spoke of the similarities between ecology and economics. She said:
“We need to bring nature into decision making. We need to recognise that nature is the fundamental stock that underpins all of our activities. This language of natural capital brings the language of nature into the language of business. It’s not about putting a price on nature. We can put a price and monetary value on nature but that’s not the whole story. It doesn’t tell us about nature’s wider contribution to the ecosystem.”
Earlier this year, BIM commissioned The Institute for the Development of Environmental Economic Accounting (IDEEA Group) to undertake a feasibility study of the Irish seafood sector to explore whether natural capital accounting could be applied.
Carl Obst and Mark Eigenraam of the IDEEA were among the speakers at today’s event, that included economists and environmental scientists. Speaking at the seminar, Carl Obst said:
“Natural capital accounting recognises and accounts for our relationship with and dependence on the environment. By adopting the United Nations System of Environmental- Economic Accounting (SEEA) BM is providing national leadership in the seafood sector in Ireland.”
Image: Julien Behal Photography