Author: cnesbit@m5.ca

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announces $2M Autonomous Robotic Capabilities for Aquaculture Project

(Montreal, Quebec) Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) today announced the $2 million Autonomous Robotic Capabilities for Aquaculture Project (ARCAP). This project aims to create a complete autonomous system for the aquaculture industry, using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and autonomous surface vessels (ASVs) to provide valuable data pertaining to fish health, quantity, size, infrastructure, and water quality.

ARCAP will advance automation in aquaculture, providing enhanced introspection of net pens, more efficient stock health detection, and increased operational data. This will boost seafood yields and quality in sustainable seafood. Improved observability will enhance sustainable practices, waste reduction, and early environmental impact detection. This project is also expected to yield valuable AI techniques and methodologies with broader applications, contributing to AI advancement in general.

The project is led by Independent Robotics with partner Innovobot both based in Montreal, Quebec, along with their collaborators including Cooke Aquaculture, Fleming College Centre for Innovative Aquaculture Production (CIAP), Fleming College Centre for Advancement in Mechatronics and Industrial Internet of Things (CAMIIT), and SINTEF Ocean AS. The project has a total value of $2 million, with $1 million in funding from Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, under its allocation through the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy (PCAIS) Program. The balance of funding will come from project partners.

Quotes:

“Through the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, the Government of Canada is pleased to support Canada’s Ocean Cluster as it drives AI solutions for Canadian ocean companies. This autonomous robotics project, one of nine projects announced today by OSC, will improve the capability of aquaculture producers to operate sustainably by reducing waste and detecting environmental impacts more promptly.” – The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“AI in ocean has the potential to help transform the way we do ocean business. Today Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announced the Autonomous Robotic Capabilities for Aquaculture Project which will use Artificial Intelligence and advancing technologies in an autonomous system to provide important data about the fish and their environment, and thereby helping optimize operations, inform decisions, and contribute to sustainability.” – Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

“The team at Independent Robotics is proud and excited to be part of such a worthwhile project that is so critical to the aquaculture industry”, says Pedro Gregorio, CEO of Independent Robotics. “Aquaculture is a billion-dollar business in Canada that plays a vital role in offering a sustainable complement to the traditional fishing industry. Some 70% of all finfish consumed come from the aquaculture sector. We thank Canada’s Ocean Supercluster for selecting us and we look forward to working alongside our project partners to help make aquaculture more sustainable and productive”.

About Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster accelerates the development and commercialization of made-in-Canada ocean solutions in energy transition, food security, future of transport, and climate change while also growing more companies, creating more jobs, and attracting ocean talent. As Canada’s national ocean cluster, the OSC is a convenor of members, partners, and networks and a catalyst for transformative growth that helps build the robust ecosystem needed to help realize Ambition 2035 – a 5X growth potential in ocean in Canada by 2035. To date, the OSC has approved more than 85 projects with a total value of more than $400 million which will deliver more than 200 new made-in-Canada ocean products, processes, and services to sell to the world. For more information visit oceansupercluster.ca

 

Media Contacts:
Nancy Andrews
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
nancy.andrews@oceansupercluster.ca

 

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster Announces Visual Assessment of Aquaculture Pens Project

(Montreal, Quebec) Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) today announced the launch of the Visual Assessment of Aquaculture Pens Project. This project will develop visual assessment capabilities for Independent Robotic’s (IR) Aqua2 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) which enables autonomous observation of aquaculture net pens, supporting aquaculture production processes.

The project’s scope includes the development of algorithms for visually assessing fish health by counting, performing mass estimation, and evaluating cage infrastructure, as well as detecting population mortality levels, expressed as “mort” in the industry. Independent Robotics is leading this endeavor to address the challenges of assessing fish health in open-water aquaculture pens, detecting and removing mort in a timely manner, and identifying and repairing damage to cage infrastructure. To execute these tasks, IR will be deploying its updated Aqua2 Mk3, autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).

The project’s immediate goals focus on visual assessments for fish, mort, and infrastructure. It also lays the foundation for this broader vision by providing valuable insights to aquaculture operators in the short term, while aligning with long-term objectives.

Independent Robotics will be working alongside collaborators Cooke Aquaculture, Fleming College Centre for Innovative Aquaculture Production (CIAP), and Fleming College Centre for Advancement in Mechatronics and Industrial Internet of Things (CAMIIT). This project has a total value of $300,000. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is investing $150,000 with the balance of funding coming from project partners.

Quotes:

“Through the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, the Government of Canada is pleased to support Canada’s Ocean Cluster as it drives AI solutions for Canadian ocean companies. This project, one of nine projects announced today by OSC, will make aquaculture production processes more efficient by equipping autonomous vehicles with the capacity to inspect open-net pens.” – The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“AI in ocean has the potential to help transform the way we do ocean business. Today Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announced the Visual Assessment of Aquaculture Pens Project which leverages the power of AI and advancing technologies to monitor and assess aquaculture pens as the industry continues to grow in response to global demand for protein.” – Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

“The Aqua2 is the ideal technology for such a project. Its unique fin propulsion system, quieter than traditional propellers, is more easily accepted by marine fauna, making close-in observations feasible. Its AI-enabled operating software incorporates machine learning and deep learning for real-time data capture and analysis that will drive efficient decision-making. We cannot wait to get started.” – Independent Robotics CEO, Pedro Gregorio.

About Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster accelerates the development and commercialization of made-in-Canada ocean solutions in energy transition, food security, future of transport, and climate change while also growing more companies, creating more jobs, and attracting ocean talent. As Canada’s national ocean cluster, the OSC is a convenor of members, partners, and networks and a catalyst for transformative growth that helps build the robust ecosystem needed to help realize Ambition 2035 – a 5X growth potential in ocean in Canada by 2035. To date, the OSC has approved more than 85 projects with a total value of more than $400 million which will deliver more than 200 new made-in-Canada ocean products, processes, and services to sell to the world. For more information visit oceansupercluster.ca

Media Contacts:
Nancy Andrews
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
nancy.andrews@oceansupercluster.ca

 

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster and Innovate UK team up for first-ever joint call for ocean innovation solutions

Canada-UK: Collaborative Ocean Solutions Program to invest up to £4 million in projects

Today, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) and Innovate UK announced a joint Call for Proposals called the Canada-UK: Collaborative Ocean Innovation Solutions Program. With a current project portfolio of more than $400 million, this marks the OSC’s first joint international Call program as it seeks to continue to expand its momentum, project portfolio, and benefits of the cluster.

Combined, the OSC and Innovate UK will invest up to £4 million to accelerate the development and commercialization of globally-relevant ocean solutions. Recognizing the synergies and shared opportunities in bringing Canadian and UK companies together to collaborate on ocean projects, both the OSC and Innovate UK have initiated this parallel Call for Proposals, inviting consortiums to submit innovative project proposals.  

Now open, the Canada-UK: Collaborative Ocean Solutions Program is designed to foster new partnerships in the development of digital, sustainable and inclusive ocean solutions, while also creating new market opportunities. Applications should fall under one of the following program themes:

  • Alternative energy
  • Aquaculture systems
  • Seaweed cultivation and production
  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Autonomous vessels or ocean systems
  • Robotics and drones
  • Ocean sensors and environmental monitoring

The Call for Proposals involves a two-step assessment process, including an initial country specific assessment, followed by joint assessment and selection by both the OSC and Innovate UK at the Expression of Interest and Proposal phases. Expressions of Interests will be accepted until 8:00PM ADT/7:00PM EDT/4:00PM PDT, October 18th, 2023. More information on the program, templates, and how to apply can be found here. Applicants in the UK should visit apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/ for further information.

About Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC)

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster accelerates the development and commercialization of made-in-Canada ocean solutions in energy transition, food security, future of transport, and climate change while also growing more companies, creating more jobs, and attracting ocean talent. As Canada’s national ocean cluster, the OSC is a convenor of members, partners, and networks and a catalyst for transformative growth that helps build the robust ecosystem needed to help realize Ambition 2035 – a 5X growth potential in ocean in Canada by 2035. To date, the OSC has approved more than 85 projects with a total value of more than $400 million which will deliver more than 200 new made-in-Canada ocean products, processes, and services to sell to the world. For more information visit oceansupercluster.ca

Quotes

“As one of Canada’s Global Innovation Clusters, this marks the first time Canada’s Ocean Supercluster will partner on an international Call for Proposals. We know the sustainable ocean economy will outpace the growth of the broader economy by 2030, and it’s through collaborative programs like the Canada-UK Collaborative Ocean Solutions Program, that we will not only catalyze exciting new ocean solutions to add to our portfolio, but also generate strong economic benefits and global partnerships in the process.” – Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

“This new competition provides the opportunity to support UK and Canadian organisations to accelerate the development of innovative Ocean solutions by collaborating internationally with funding provided by Innovate UK to support business-led innovation, together with our partners from the Canada Ocean Supercluster.” Jon Hazell, Innovate UK – Partnership Manager North America

Media Contact:
Nancy Andrews
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
nancy.andrews@oceansupercluster.ca

Unleashing the Power of People

Navigating the sustainable ocean sector’s Talent Landscape towards Ambition 2035

By: Janelle Caballero | Director, Cluster Workforce Growth, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

In the collective potential ocean innovation presents for Canada, Ambition 2035 represents a 5X growth potential in ocean – for industry, communities, for workers – for our country. In May we came together with leaders from coast-to-coast-to-coast in Ottawa for a meaningful conversation around how individual aspirations in ocean can and should contribute to transformational opportunity for Canada’s entire ocean community – and where collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity were all recognized as some of the key enablers in realizing it. In this dynamic and evolving ocean sector – which is set to outpace the broader economy, financial capital is no question a key driver, but there is consensus that there is an equally impactful force we need to address: human capital. It is the strategic and skilled people that join this sector who will help bring our ideas and aspirations to life, grow more ocean companies, and bring their products to markets around the world.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) recognizes the urgency and importance of attracting talent to the sustainable ocean economy. The key lies in the alignment of shared values, where the foundations of ambition are fortified by purpose-driven connections. It is not just about economic gains; it is about building awareness and delivering a narrative that resonates with jobseekers, where the call of the ocean meets the values that guide their career choices.

In 2019, Canada’s ocean economy employed more than 300,000 individuals and con-tributed $39 billion to the country’s GDP. Looking ahead, the global ocean economy’s projected value of $4 trillion CAD by 2030 and Ambition 2035 presents an aspiration to grow Canada’s ocean economy to $220 billion by 2035. This is a testament to the vast potential awaiting exploration. Yet, amidst this sea of opportunities, challenges also arise. The need to bolster Canada’s ocean sector capacity is undeniable, given the constraints of a limited ocean talent pool and the imperative to stay relevant and competitive.

In the current landscape of the Canadian labour market, the ripples of change are palpable. Workforce trends projected for 2023 are set to leave a profound impact on the sustainable ocean economy. The surge in demand for a flexible workplace culture, characterized by hybrid models and remote work facilitated by cutting-edge technologies, is undeniable. Alongside this, the call for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the ocean space resounds with urgency. Historically underrepresented groups – Indigenous rights holders, women, 2SLGBTQIA+ community members, BIPOC individuals, and the neurodiverse – are asserting their rightful place, adding their unique perspectives and in-sights to the fabric of the industry.

This is a landscape where more Canadian ocean companies are starting and scaling, and the demand for skilled talent reaches unparalleled heights, with employers across industries fiercely vying for the best and brightest minds. The ocean sector’s journey is uniquely challenging, as it navigates the intricate interplay of an aging demographic’s retirements and the multiplying opportunities for digital and technological niche roles, especially for youth and mid-career sector entrants.

OSC talent research conducted in 2022 offered insights into this dichotomy, revealing that only 52% of OSC membership job postings in skilled talent were filled over a two-month period, leaving 48% vacant. Yet amidst this challenge, glimmers of hope are on the horizon. Over 600 ocean sector job boards, internship opportunities, mentorship programs, and accredited courses have been identified. These initiatives and resources are crafting a solid foundation for the nurturing and growth of a robust talent pool and pipeline.

There is meaningful and impactful work being done in this space already to lay the foundation for our talent pool and pipeline development. Yet, the central question remains: how do we attract these skilled and values-aligned individuals to the ocean sector? To-day, jobseekers, including recent graduates and those seeking mid-career shifts, are seeking values-aligned work. This is the juncture where Ambition 2035 and OSC 2.0 make their entrance. Cultivating a larger, more diverse workforce to realize the full potential of the sustainable ocean economy requires a profound understanding of the evolving workplace trends and articulation of our shared vision for sustainable ocean growth in Canada. This is where collaboration and holistic vision-building come into play.

At our Ambition 2035 event in May, we heard the participants and the thoughtful contributions made. Collaboration, respect, integrity, equity, sustainability, impact, and com-munity were top values that were raised and when asked for input into our list of Talent priorities for OSC 2.0, this included:

• flexible training pathways
• mentorship and training for those looking to enter the ocean sector
• further awareness building of Canada’s ocean brand
• facilitating ocean economy workforce data sharing and reporting
• DEI support mechanisms and training, and minimizing of barriers
• linkages from post-secondary talent pipelines to entry-level jobs
• funding allocated for talent pipeline projects
• promotion of a wide variety of jobs in the ocean space

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster’s talent pillar strategy addresses these key areas of growth, and actions on moving the talent needle substantially over the next five-year funding cycle. As we continue to move forward with talent initiatives, we are keeping top of mind that our success lies in forging purpose-centered relationships with individuals, rather than merely focusing on reporting metrics or ticking boxes. We collectively need to facilitate connections with intention, fostering a space where not only are people wel-comed, but where they are motivated to stay, to contribute, and to shape the future we aspire to create. As we continue this shared task of ecosystem talent building, our cen-tral focus will remain on shared values, innovation, inclusivity, and a commitment to a prosperous and sustainable ocean economy.

The path ahead is one where we cultivate relationships with people who are the driving force in shaping the sustainable ocean legacy we leave behind.

OSC announces $15.7M in new activity to support the transition to zero-emission vessels and maritime infrastructure

Today, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) announced the $15.7 million Commercialization, Expansion and Securing a Future for Corvus ESS Project. This announcement represents expanded project activity for the phase one OSC project, Field Validation of Energy Storage System Project, as part of the OSC’s Capacity and Supply Chain Expansion (CASCE) Program to help members scale up and expand as they continue to gain momentum and develop stronger relationships in the supply chain and ecosystem. The project team is expanding on Corvus’ Blue Whale Energy Storage System (ESS), Orca ESS and Dolphin ESS working on the transition to zero-emission marine vessels and maritime infrastructure.

The Commercialization, Expansion and Securing a Future for Corvus ESS Project will focus on the enhancement, certification, product release and/or demonstration of three energy storage system product lines and shore-side charging infrastructure. The project is expected to create and maintain 90 jobs through its development, expanded battery laboratory and test facilities, as well energy storage system production capacity with automated robotic manufacturing equipment.

Led by Corvus Energy out of Richmond, BC with partners AKA Energy Systems out of Montague, PEI and Seaspan Ferries of North Vancouver, BC, the total value of Commercialization, Expansion and Securing a Future for Corvus ESS Project is $15.7 million. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is providing $5 million, with the remainder of funding coming from the project team.

To date, the three Corvus ESSs have reduced GHG emission by over 9 megatonnes of CO2e. The project ensures continued supply of the lightweight Dolphin ESS, demonstrates first-ever in North America clean energy shore charging of the high-power Orca ESS, and increases production capacity for the multi-megawatt hour Blue Whale ESS as demand for longer duration zero-emission capabilities mounts. Corvus estimates that the incremental global impact of Blue Whale could be 450,000 tonnes CO2e/yr after five years.

Calls for proposals under the OSC’s 2021 CASCE Program were launched under the cluster’s first round of funding. The project announced today is in addition to the 16 projects announced in April that build on the success of active OSC projects with expanded scope and will help industry access and acquire the capability Canadian companies need now to become and stay globally competitive. The CASCE Program is helping to strengthen and grow supply chains and increase the capacity of Canadian ocean-focused companies, de-risking the acquisition of critical assets that are needed to accelerate commercialization and enable existing projects to meet the growing demand for their products and services.

About Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is a pan-Canadian, industry-led transformative cluster focused on tackling some of the biggest challenges across ocean sectors through a collaborative program designed to accelerate the development and commercialization of globally relevant solutions, while also building a highly-capable, inclusive workforce. The OSC has approved 86 projects with a total value of more than $400 million which will deliver more than 130 new made-in-Canada ocean products, processes, and services to sell to the world. For more information visit oceansupercluster.ca

Quotes

“This important project is yet another example of how the Ocean Cluster and its partners are helping to shape the marine industry of the future. By commercializing these new energy storage solutions, Corvus will help to significantly reduce emissions from marine vessels. Our government will continue to seize every opportunity to build a cleaner future, while positioning Canada as a strategic green supplier of choice.” – The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Most of the world’s goods are moved through marine shipping, and today accounts for about three per cent of global emissions. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is proud to be a catalyst in developing collaborative partnerships and funding for projects that will not only help Canada meet its net-zero targets, but also create significant economic opportunity and jobs in the process. We are proud to work together with BC’s Corvus Energy and Seaspan Ferries, and PEI’s AKA Energy Systems to contribute to the health and productivity of our ocean, and our planet.” – Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

“We are grateful to the OSC for continued support of these important initiatives, which are critical to the shipping and marine transportation industry’s transition to cleaner energy alternatives. Canadian maritime cluster companies are emerging as innovators in the technology and knowhow needed to support North America’s marine transportation and port infrastructure energy transition, and Corvus is proud to count ourselves as a leader among them.” – Richard Wing, Chief R&D Officer at Corvus Energy

Media Contact:
Nancy Andrews
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
nancy.andrews@oceansupercluster.ca

 

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is recruiting industry leaders for its next Board of Directors

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) is recruiting industry leaders for its next Board of Directors.

The OSC is guided by a dedicated Board of Directors comprised of seasoned industry leaders who draw on their diverse experiences and background to provide strategic direction to the organization. At a high-level, the Board provides valuable insight to guide the Pan-Canadian deployment of ocean industry and Government funding; ensures organizational operations are carried-out in alignment with approved strategy; sets goals and objectives; actively manages risks; oversees the CEO; ensures effective organization planning; provides sufficient resources; and makes certain the organization fulfills its program funding compliance and legal obligations. Organizationally, we are committed to promoting Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) in Canada’s ocean economy, and as such, we seek Directors for our Board who bring diverse backgrounds, experiences, abilities, gender and race.

If you are interested in joining the OSC Board of Directors and strategically leading the OSC as it drives sectoral collaboration, accelerates innovation, and grows Canada’s ocean economy, please submit this completed Nomination Form together with your CV (together in one PDF file), to nominations@oceansupercluster.ca no later than August 18, 2023.

Nomination Form

Canada’s oceantech ecosystem leads first-ever OceanFest for entrepreneurs, innovators and investors

Canada’s oceantech ecosystem leads first-ever OceanFest for entrepreneurs, innovators and investors

MONTRÉAL (July 13, 2023) ― National and regional organizations that support and drive Canada’s blue economy gathered today in Montréal for OceanFest 2023. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, the Ocean Startup Project and Novarium rallied to hold this first-time, in-person event that focused on entrepreneurship and early stage oceantech companies. OceanFest took place as part of the annual Startupfest, which over the past 13 years has earned billing as one of the world’s must-attend startup conferences.

“Canada is home to some of the best ocean startup ecosystems in the world, where early stage companies are increasingly looking at ocean applications and first-use cases for their innovation. The global ocean economy is set to outpace the growth of the broader economy by 20 per cent and in the work we do every day we see first hand that this is a space where Canadian companies can lead,” said Kendra MacDonald, CEO of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster.

From presentations to pitches, from booths to networking, and from expert advice to informal meetings, OceanFest provided entrepreneurs, founders, innovators, startup teams and investors with plenty of opportunities to explore Canada’s blue economy. OceanFest partners engaged with hundreds of people throughout the day.

“The ocean startup ecosystem in Canada has so much momentum. OceanFest brings together founders, partners, industry and a growing number of ocean investors. Oceans represent one of the biggest economic and impact opportunities Canada has in the next century and OceanFest will showcase that.” said Don Grant, Executive Director of the Ocean Startup Project.

In addition to the three propelling partners for this event, the ecosystem partners for OceanFest included: Altra | Sanexen, Aqua Action, DeepSense, FLOTS, Port of Montréal, Port of Québec, and Secretariat du Québec aux relations canadiennes.

“Bringing together nearly a hundred partners at OceanFest is proof of our determination to perform better and to structure the development of the blue economy in Quebec and in Canada. More and more startups are offering solutions with strong growth potential for the development of maritime resources and the application of technologies in marine engineering and intelligent navigation. We must continue to accelerate the deployment of these solutions worldwide, thanks to our many international collaborations, so that Québec innovations are recognized globally,” said Martin Beaulieu, founder of Novarium and CEO of La Zone Bleue.

For more information about OceanFest, visit startupfest.com/oceanfest

About the Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is a pan-Canadian, industry-led transformative cluster focused on tackling some of the biggest challenges across ocean sectors through a collaborative program designed to accelerate the development and commercialization of globally relevant solutions, while also building a highly capable, inclusive workforce. The OSC has approved 86 projects with a total value of more than $400 million which will deliver more than 130 new made-in-Canada ocean products, processes, and services to sell to the world. For more information, visit oceansupercluster.ca

About Novarium
Novarium is an innovation campus dedicated to the blue economy and that is generating synergies between Quebec entrepreneurs, research centres, investors and industry. Its vertically-integrated accelerator FLOTS supports startups and industrial partners in the development and commercialization of sustainable solutions that tackle the most pressing climate challenges, such as ocean preservation. Founded by Martin Beaulieu, PhD, entrepreneur and CEO of La Zone Bleue, Novarium is also part of an international blue economy innovation network, and acts as a major catalyst for maritime knowledge with more than a hundred researchers involved in the fields of oceanography, marine biotechnology, marine engineering, data management and marine biology. For more information, visit novarium.co

About the Ocean Startup Project
The Ocean Startup Project is making Canada the best place in the world to start and grow an ocean company. As a co-funded national collaboration, our offerings complement existing industry accelerators, incubators and other support organizations across Canada’s world class innovation ecosystem. The Ocean Startup Project’s activities are possible thanks to support from Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and our partners: Genesis Centre (NL), Invest Nova Scotia (NS), Creative Destruction Lab (CDL – Atlantic), New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NB), Prince Edward Island BioAlliance (PE), Springboard Atlantic, Technopole Maritime du Québec (QC), and the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (BC). For more information, visit oceanstartupproject.ca

Tech startups turn their attention to the blue economy

A reflection on the first-ever OceanFest event at Montreal’s Startupfest

By: Nancy Andrews, Chief Engagement & Communications Officer, OSC and
Amélie Desrochers, Executive Director, Novarium

Every year, Startupfest brings thousands of founders and investors from across Canada and around the world to explore the latest in tech, emerging trends and opportunities, and also to pitch and hear new, exciting ideas. This year, for the first-time ever, Startupfest included an ocean focused event called OceanFest – hosted in partnership by Novarium, AquaAction, the Ocean Startup Project and Canada’s Ocean Supercluster and with the support of many other ecosystem partners from across the country.

Set to outpace the growth of the broader economy, the magnitude of the opportunity in the ocean sector means that we need more tech companies who aren’t already thinking about ocean to consider how their innovation can also be applied in this space and the investment needed to do it. Oceanfest helped put a spotlight on this earlier this month with speakers who highlighted the role of ocean in climate change and many of the biggest challenges facing our world today and investors who agreed the time to invest in ocean is now. The event featured some of Canada’s foremost academic, industry, and investment leaders as well as some of its most promising startups with clear take-a-way around the tremendous opportunity for ocean innovation in not only helping solve problems that impact us all but also in propelling new growth and new companies in an ecosystem that is bursting at the seams with potential.

The OceanFest agenda included ‘The Next Big Thing’ pitch competition with $30,000 in non-diluted funding prize and the opportunity to join FLOTS’ 12-month post-acceleration program. Canadian startups showed excellent pitching skills, compelling business models with demonstrated strong market pull in front of judges from across the country. After deliberations, Blue Lion Labs, a startup using AI to reduce environmental and biological threats walked away with the top prize. Congratulations to all the startups who participated in the competition and made such impressive pitches.

Before vacating due to inclement weather and a tornado warning later in the afternoon, we gathered in a beautiful space at the Port of Montreal with 24 ecosystem partners from across Canada including founders, accelerators, and regional innovation hubs for an interactive roundtable discussion on how to increasingly work together to advance our collective opportunity in the blue economy and potential through Ambition 2035, but also propel the work of each other. To do this a series of priorities and next steps were identified under pan-Canadian collaboration, diverse ecosystem development, and a strong global ocean brand for Canada. Leaving energized, inspired and excited for what’s next, we concluded the day with a commitment to build on what we started at Oceanfest in the weeks and months to come and come back next Startup Fest with an even bigger ocean event to build on this momentum.

Integrating Two-Eyed Seeing in the Blue Economy

Integrating Two-Eyed Seeing in the Blue Economy:
Reflections from the Blue Generation During World Ocean’s Week
By: Stephanie Hurlburt, Indigenous Program Lead, Clear Seas

As an Indigenous Program Lead at Clear Seas, I had the privilege of bringing participants from our Indigenous Career Pivot Program and Indigenous Internship Program to World Ocean’s Week in New York. Supported by funding from Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, we came to New York to join the Blue Generation, a group of 35 early career ocean stewards from over a dozen countries with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Collaborating with experts in ocean research and conservation during this event deepened my understanding of the challenges our oceans face due to climate change. It also made me realize that it is only through collective innovation and using the Two-Eyed Seeing approach envisioned by Mi’kmaq Elder Albert Marshall that we can overcome these obstacles.

The Blue Economy offers many career paths. From marine biologists studying ecosystems to data scientists analyzing large datasets and engineers creating innovative solutions for renewable energy, the opportunities are endless. Through our sessions, we learned about the diverse jobs available in the marine industry but what makes these careers fascinating is their interconnectedness. For example, data collected by marine scientists can shape fisheries management policies and advancements in artificial intelligence technology improve climate predictions through oceanographic modeling. These connections foster a collaborative environment where professionals from different fields come together to tackle the complex challenges our oceans face. This is precisely why the Blue Generation holds such significance.

As part of the programming for World Ocean’s Week, Titouan Bernicot shared his inspiring story with us. Growing up on a remote South Pacific Island, Bernicot’s deep connection with the ocean and coral reefs led him to found Coral Gardeners at the age of 18 in 2017. With a dedicated team of over 30 members, Coral Gardeners has already planted 30,000 corals in French Polynesia and aim to plant one million corals worldwide by 2025. Further, they build capacity by empowering local communities to become coral gardeners. Through his organization, he not only focuses on reef restoration efforts but also raises community awareness and provides innovation development through their labs. Bernicot’s story resonates with our Indigenous Programs as we likewise strive to create sustainable career pathways and empower communities.

While the growth of the Blue Economy and the accompanying job creation is exciting, it also raises concerns. As society increasingly recognizes the economic potential of our oceans and coastal resources, it is crucial to balance this growth with the conservation efforts of Indigenous people whose communities are intertwined with the ocean to address and mitigate climate change. Through my participation with the Blue Generation cohort, I witnessed the critical yet often overlooked role Indigenous voices have in shaping policies concerning our waters. Indigenous communities possess a deep-rooted connection to the ocean, and their knowledge and perspectives are invaluable when it comes to understanding and safeguarding our marine environments.

In the context of the Blue Economy, embracing Two-Eyed Seeing is of paramount importance. This means valuing both Indigenous and Western knowledge about the ocean. Indigenous communities have a deep understanding of the ocean’s cycles, species interdependence and the importance of conservation. This knowledge is passed down through generations and comes from their close relationship with marine environments. On the other hand, Western approaches, like scientific research and data analysis from disciplines such as marine biology and oceanography, provide important insights into ocean ecosystems and human impacts. By recognizing and combining these perspectives, we can more effectively tackle the challenges of ocean conservation and sustainability.

As I reflect on my time in the Blue Generation Program, it becomes evident that embracing the principles of Two-Eyed Seeing is essential for creating a sustainable blue economy that benefits Indigenous communities and protects the health of our waters. By fostering collaboration and integrating Indigenous knowledge, we can work together towards marine career paths that benefit everyone and safeguard our valuable ocean living networks. I was grateful for the opportunity to share some insights from our Indigenous Programs with the Blue Generation group, in the hopes of emphasizing the significance of creating inclusive and fulfilling career paths for Indigenous people and in turn, empowering Indigenous communities. It is essential that we bridge the existing gap and give due recognition to Indigenous voices in shaping the future of our oceans.

Stephanie is a member of the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation and Indigenous Program Lead at Clear Seas.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announces $3.6M in new activity to build on BlueVita Technology Project

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announces $3.6M in new activity to build on BlueVita Technology Project

Today, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) announced the $3.6 million Commercialization and Supply Chain Integration of BlueVita Technology Project. This announcement represents expanded project activity for the phase one OSC project, BlueVita Technology, as part of the OSC’s Capacity and Supply Chain Expansion (CASCE) Program to help members scale up and expand as they continue to gain momentum and develop stronger relationships in the supply chain and ecosystem. The project team is moving Ship Nature’s Way’s BlueVita Technology forward as a best-in-class solution for mobile storage and multi-modal transport of live seafood products.

The Commercialization and Supply Chain Integration of BlueVita Technology Project will support the commercialization and early adoption of the Ship Nature’s Way’s BlueVita Technology with domestic and international customers for shipping of live seafood. The new project also supports supply chain expansion by supporting the integration of BlueVita Technology with the technology of an existing mobile storage company, achieving mutual beneficial technology advancements and market penetration. Project activity for the Commercialization and Supply Chain Integration of BlueVita Technology Project are based on the results of science-based trials of the BlueVita Technology at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre. These trials included a series of improvements and enhancements of the technology, demonstrating the ability to maintain high standards of water quality, survivability, and product quality.

Led by Ship Nature’s Way out of Saint Andrews, NB, the total value of Commercialization and Supply Chain Integration of BlueVita Technology Project is $3.6 million. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is providing $1.8 million, with the remainder of funding coming from the project team.

Calls for proposals under the OSC’s 2021 CASCE Program were launched under the cluster’s first round of funding. The project announced today is in addition to the 16 projects announced in April that build on the success of active OSC projects with expanded scope and will help industry access and acquire the capability Canadian companies need now to become and stay globally competitive. The CASCE Program is helping to strengthen and grow supply chains and increase the capacity of Canadian ocean-focused companies, de-risking the acquisition of critical assets that are needed to accelerate commercialization and enable existing projects to meet the growing demand for their products and services.

Quotes:
“Our government is proud to support initiatives that help companies in Canada’s ocean sector increase their capacity and expand their business. The additional funding announced today, through the Ocean Cluster Capacity and Supply Chain Expansion Program, will help Ship Nature’s Way bring its revolutionary technology to market both nationally and internationally, while strengthening our ocean economy.” – The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“The Ocean Cluster is a major contributor to the country’s dynamic and innovative ocean sector. Renewed support from the cluster will help Ship Nature’s Way build on the success of its BlueVita Technology Project and get its live seafood transport technology to new markets.” – Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and Member of Parliament for Halifax

“Canada’s seafood sector is an important part of the ocean economy, with significant export opportunity. The scaling and growth of BlueVita technology will help drive the next generation of seafood transportation making it more efficient, delivering improved quality, and the highest standards through innovation.” – Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

“Canada’s Ocean Supercluster has been a key partner in the development of our BlueVita Technology as a best-in-class solution for mobile storage and transport of live seafood products. With their support we have been able to advance the technology for use in commercial-level trials, and look forward to continued success in the coming year.” – Dr. Michael Beattie, Executive Scientific Director, Ship Nature’s Way Inc.

About Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is a pan-Canadian, industry-led transformative cluster focused on tackling some of the biggest challenges across ocean sectors through a collaborative program designed to accelerate the development and commercialization of globally relevant solutions, while also building a highly-capable, inclusive workforce. The OSC has approved 86 projects with a total value of more than $400 million which will deliver more than 130 new made-in-Canada ocean products, processes, and services to sell to the world. For more information visit oceansupercluster.ca

Media Contacts:
Nancy Andrews
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
nancy.andrews@oceansupercluster.ca

Dr. Michael Beattie
Ship Nature’s Way Inc.
mike@gasinfusionsystems.com