• mgnjcommissionerCircular Ocean, a European project managed in Ireland by Macroom E (an initiative and wholly owned subsidiary of Cork County Council*) has just won the Public Choice category of the European Commissions RegionStars Awards.  This year’s RegioStars award ceremony took place on Tuesday, October 11, during the 2016 European Week of Regions and Cities and the award was presented to the Circular Ocean team by the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Crețu. 

One of the key objectives of the RegioStars Awards is to identify good practices in regional development and highlight original and innovative projects which could be attractive and inspiring to other regions. Winning this award has put the spotlight on Circular Ocean as being one of this years most innovative and inspiring EU funded projects. 

Circular Ocean is a transnational European project which aims to inspire remote communities to realise the economic opportunities of discarded fishing nets and ropes and help turn this marine waste into a useful resource supporting the move to a more circular economy.  It is funded under the EU’s ERDF Interreg VB Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) programme. 

Led in Ireland by Macroom E, local Irish partners in the project comprise Cork County Council and the Local Enterprise Office South Cork.  European partners include the Environmental Research Institute of the North Highland College UHI, Scotland; The Centre for Sustainable Design, University for the Creative Arts, England; the Arctic Technology Centre, Greenland and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway.  

Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey stated “Cork County Council has recently launched its Local Economic and Community Plan and in this, one of the key tenets is working towards a circular economy model for Cork County. Circular Ocean has stemmed from earlier work undertaken on the Smile Resource Exchange Programme funded by the Council, the EPA and LEOs and to see an early acknowledgement from Europe of this significance on the work undertaken by the Circular Ocean project is great credit to all involved.”

Head of Enterprise at LEO South Cork Sean O’ Sullivan said “We are thrilled with this award and delighted to be involved in this innovative project.  Not only are we the only Irish project to win an award but we are the only Interreg or NPA project to reach this stage. This award has highlighted the innovative nature of Circular Ocean and I believe the projects research and resources will really support the creation of green enterprises.

As part of the projects research phase, Macroom E is currently connecting with key stakeholders in ports and harbours across the Irish NPA region to research the problem of discarded fishing nets and ropes locally and to look at the feasibility of creating green enterprises around this waste in these areas. The Irish NPA region comprises the following Irish counties: Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal.  Stakeholders across these Irish counties include harbour masters, fishermen, fishing net manufactures, business support groups etc. 

Over the next three years the project partners will work with these stakeholders to promote the green economy by finding solutions to re-use waste, driving eco-innovation, generating efficient and environmentally responsible businesses, and diminishing levels of marine litter.  They will develop resources to support the creation of local enterprises around the use of discarded fishing nets and ropes including a ‘Green Business Suite’ targeted at stakeholders who can benefit from this innovative knowledge.

View the Circular Ocean animations: http://www.circularocean.eu/videos/  

For further information on Circular Ocean go to www.circularocean.eu or email info@circularocean.eu