Marine Institute: Stakeholder Engagement
Scientists from the Marine Institute and Bantry Marine Research Station went to Bantry and Castletownbere in the south-west of Ireland to meet with the men and women we call our stakeholders. To us, stakeholders include anyone who has interest in how climate change might shape the coastal marine ecosystems in the future. For the CoCliME project, our focus is set on harmful algae as indicators for ecosystem change, which can have detrimental effects on the coastal aquaculture industry.
We engaged with shellfish and finfish farmers and food processors to understand their needs and expectations for climate services. We used the opportunity to present our early stage research to give a realistic idea of what is possible. Before we start developing a prototype service, we needed to find out what exactly would be useful and what information would support business decision making.
We discussed changes in climate, frequency of storms and extreme weather conditions and if changes are already noticeable. The level of knowledge, interest and willingness to collaborate from the farmers was extraordinary. While extreme weather events have become more frequent, any clear trends linked to climate change were masked by a high yearly variability in weather. Future predictions on climate and understanding how ecosystems will change in response can help local businesses to prepare and adapt to whatever lays ahead.