Text Size
Bookmark and Share

June 18, 2014 - Innovation, Business and Rural Development Minister Susan Sullivan’s speaking notes at Our Ocean Wealth Conference in Dublin, Ireland

The following are speaking notes delivered by the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development, at "Our Ocean Wealth" Conference in Dublin, Ireland:

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, thank you for the opportunity to participate in today’s “Our Ocean Wealth” Conference.

I wish to congratulate all stakeholders on the completion of your integrated marine plan: “Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth” and today’s conference to review the first year of its implementation.

As the Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, I am responsible for supporting the growth of our Ocean Technology sector.

We share the same goals as a government in supporting development of our Oceans sector, “getting the conditions right so we can promote investment and enable growth”.

Ireland and Newfoundland and Labrador sit on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Not only do we share the North Atlantic, we have nearly 300 years of shared history.

With almost half of the population of Newfoundland and Labrador being descendants of Irish immigrants, our province is often referred to as the most Irish place outside of Ireland. The Irish influence has endured and is easily identifiable in local family traditions, culture, religion, politics, and education.

We also share a deep and enduring attachment to the ocean. Nearly every aspect of life in Newfoundland and Labrador has been shaped in some way by the ocean, as I am sure is also the case in Ireland.

It is not just our history. It is in our nature – it’s who we are.

From the invention of a simple cod trap to the development of satellite-based monitoring and our work with autonomous underwater vehicles, Newfoundland and Labrador has been at the fore-front of some of the most paradigm shifting, ocean-based research and development achievements of the past few centuries.

Our deeply rooted culture in ocean innovation has turned what many view as challenges into opportunities and competitive advantages.

Today, both Ireland and Newfoundland and Labrador interests are seeking to leverage their shared oceans capabilities for business and economic development, focused largely on research and innovation.

Based on existing ties, our respective Ocean Technology clusters are ideally positioned to build on collaborative efforts and take advantage of new drivers in the marine and ocean technology industry.

Examples of the strong ties which have developed in the area of research and innovation include the long-standing collaboration between our two Marine Institutes and the more recent agreement between SmartBay Newfoundland and Labrador and SmartBay Ireland.

In the audience today from the Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland is Mr. Randy Gillespie.

Randy is here in Ireland for meetings on shared research and development with your Marine Institute and Dublin City University on SmartBay and on coastal and ocean data collection and observing systems.

The collaboration between our two SmartBay initiatives is an important development.

We look forward to having some of our leading edge technology companies testing their equipment at the Galway test site in the near future and to further collaboration on ocean observation in the North Atlantic.

Another extraordinary example of the collaboration between our Marine Institutes is the use of the Celtic Explorer for important fisheries research off our coast.

This collaboration is leading to important ocean observation between the two book ends of the Atlantic Ocean and vital data collection for targeted scientific studies and, in the future, for the deployment and testing of new technologies.

Our shared focus and work in the Atlantic Ocean, brings me to another area of focus for our government - our Arctic Opportunities Initiative.

This initiative is aimed at identifying opportunities, building capacity, creating international awareness about the province’s numerous Arctic-related capabilities and facilitating meaningful partnerships.

While not geographically located in the Arctic, the water surrounding us is colder than anywhere else south of 60 degrees. It is even colder than the waters near Norway, parts of Alaska, Greenland and Iceland.

Surrounded by cold water and extreme weather conditions, our experts are successfully developing cutting-edge technology and world-renowned solutions to operational challenges in the Arctic.

Home to centres of excellence and some of the world’s top research and development infrastructure, our experts are leaders in cold ocean technologies and harsh environment operations.

Our expertise in ocean observation, oil spill response, remote sensing, ice management, telecommunications and navigational systems, underwater vehicles, and marine simulation is recognized globally and has elevated our position as a world leader in ocean technology.

Our strategic location, accessible ports, strength in cold ocean research and development, and world-renowned expertise in Arctic-like conditions have made our province a base of operation for eminent companies such as, Rolls Royce, Kverner, Exxon Mobil, Statoil, Chevron, Shell, Suncor, Husky Energy, just to name a few.

Our efforts and collaboration with our industry and academic partners has helped us secure three major, world-class ocean and arctic related conferences over the next two years, each bringing with them over 1,200 delegates from around the globe; OCEANS’14 in September of this year, the International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering in June 2015 and the prestigious Arctic Technology Conference in 2016.

We welcome you to come to Newfoundland and Labrador for these events, as we showcase our cutting-edge research and development initiatives, extraordinary marine infrastructure and foremost education and training capabilities.

These conferences will provide an ideal opportunity to build on existing collaborations, strengthen our relationships and facilitate new partnerships with the Irish industry.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak here today and I invite you all to visit Newfoundland and Labrador.


Last Updated:
This page and all contents are copyright, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, all rights reserved.