The annual SeaFest maritime festival, taking place this Friday 7th June – Sunday 9th June at the Port of Cork, will focus on the problem of plastic pollution in Ireland’s oceans.

An interactive hut made up of 60kg of household plastics, the average amount used by an adult in Ireland each year, will be unveiled as part of this year’s festival. The installation, funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, will be accompanied by a specially commissioned artistic performance, Fantastic Fishermen go Fishing for Litter, on how the fishing sector is reducing plastics in our seas.

Members of the fishing sector taking part in Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s Fishing for Litter scheme, which encourages fishermen to take ashore waste they encounter at sea, have collected over 330 tonnes of marine litter since it began in 2015.

Sustainably sourced Irish seafood plays a big role at SeaFest with demos from chefs Nevin Maguire, Rory O’Connell and Martin Shanahan. The Bord Bia and BIM Seafood Experience also features fishmongers Pat O’Connell and Hal Dawson on seafood preparation.

Exhibitions and workshops to turn plastic into art also feature at SeaFest, open daily from 10am to 6pm. A Flock of Sea Gulls will see 1,000 young visitors transform 1,000 plastic cartons into an installation of sea gulls while the Port of Cork and MaREI’s 3D exhibition Maintaining a Healthy Harbour is also on display, with marine litter artworks from local school children.

Over 100,000 visitors are expected to attend this year, taking part in more than 100 free events during the weekend. SeaFest is presented by Cork City Council and the Inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group (MCG).

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn, said: “Environmental stewardship of our oceans is something we need to instil in our children. This will ensure the problems facing our oceans are addressed, and hopefully, reversed. I’m delighted to welcome SeaFest to Cork for the next three years, as it serves an important role in this education. SeaFest is a brilliant illustration of our unique and unrivalled maritime history. ”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said: “SeaFest is part of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, the Government’s integrated plan for the marine sector. A key aspect of this plan is to significantly increase our level of engagement with the sea.”

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