The Marine Institute is governed by the terms of the Marine Institute Act 1991 and amended in the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1999 to:
" . . . undertake, to co-ordinate, to promote and to assist in marine research and development and to provide such services related to marine research and development, that in the opinion of the Institute will promote economic development and create employment and protect the marine environment . . ."
and is broadly responsible for:
Advising Government on policy relating to marine research and development
Carrying out policy on marine research and development
Undertaking, developing, promoting and marketing marine research and development services
Evaluating and advising Government on proposals for marine research and development requiring funding from the Exchequer
Promoting and assisting the development of Irish shipping and shipping services and seafarer training
In particular, the Marine Institute is responsible for the provision of a range of statutory services related to marine research development, environmental monitoring, food safety and natural resource protection consistent with the Marine Institute Act and with other Irish and EU legislation.
The Institute undertakes assessments on the potential impacts of emerging marine sectors (e.g. offshore wind turbines) as well as advice on the sustainable management of existing resources, such as the seed mussel and bottom mussel sectors.
Biotoxins - As the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Marine Biotoxins (under Council Decision 93/383/EEC) the Institute is responsible for wide range of tasks in this area, including the - a collaboration between industry, the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency and the Marine Institute.
The Institute monitors the quality of shellfish growing waters, to ensure compliance of designated waters with the terms of the EU Directive 79/923.
This involves the monitoring of Irish fish and shellfish for the presence of contaminants and trace metals, as required under the EU Directive and reports regularly to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
It also screens salmonids for the presence of anti-microbial residues under EU Directive 96/23/EC and reports to the Department, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the EU Commission by 23rd March in each year.
Marine Institute staff visit all freshwater and marine finfish sites in Ireland and aim to examine a total of 3,000 finfish and 2,000 shellfish samples each year for a range of listed diseases. All marine sites are visited once a year, and results reported to the EU Commission annually.
Other work includes the carrying out of epidemiological studies on listed diseases, provision of updates on fish health issues to the EU Commission, development of new techniques for the detection of fish diseases, provision of statutory advice to the Department on fish movements, veterinary medicines and fish health advice on aquaculture applications as required.
The Institute provides, upon request, advice on fish passage through dams and other obstructions, as well as on the environmental impacts of a range of developments, in the form of verbal advice, reports and copies of relevant scientific papers.
The Institute also provides support, scientific and technical advice to the Department in relation to the Interdepartmental Committee on Science and Technology, leads and coordinates the implementation of - National Marine R&D Strategy 2007-2013 and participates in collaboration initiatives to streamline the delivery of information and advice to external clients via the web.