Making Waves on World Oceans Day

06/08/2017 01:57 pm ET

Today we mark World Oceans Day at SAP Leonardo Center in New York City. Together with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s innovationXchange and SecondMuse, we are launching our 360/VR Film Making Waves: Re-engineering Aquaculture in Tanzania. You can watch a live-stream of our event from New York featuring here. As we talk about the power of immersive storytelling for social impact we’ll hear from Lisa Truitt, SPE Partners & National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey; Malvina Martin of Black Dot Films VR; Luis Navia of Odysia; and Ben Kreimer, Storytelling Technologist.

Our Director of Acceleration Jeremy Kamo shares these thoughts as we culminate our Blue Economy Challenge Aquacelerator project.

When I last counted, Netflix had 31 documentaries illuminating amazing things about the world’s oceans. A handful focused on sharks, by far the most on a single species. A few focused on climate change and the effects of melting glaciers and ocean acidification. My favorite is produced by an amazing organization called Mission Blue. But today, on World Ocean’s Day, I want to focus on how much we rely on our oceans to feed the world’s growing population.

Beyond the global sushi craze, epitomized by the amazing documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the world is consuming more fish today than ever before. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that approximately 3.1billion people around the world rely on fish for 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein. With global populations projected to increase to 9 billion by 2050, aquaculture has come to play a pivotal role in meeting growing demand. Today, the industry provides over half of all fish for human consumption and is worth over $200B USD.

To support the sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry, and to ensure that its potential helps grow local economies and meet local nutrition needs around the Indian Ocean region, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) partnered with SecondMuse, Conservation X Labs, and the World Wildlife Fund to launch the Blue Economy Challenge. As Carrie Freeman, Managing Partner at SecondMuse, explained, “Aquaculture has the potential to solve both global ocean health challenges as well as local economic and nutrition challenges, which makes these solutions such impactful investments for DFAT.”

The challenge sourced 228 innovative aquaculture solutions from 41 countries that have the potential to reduce our reliance on marine-based proteins for fish feed, improve the sustainable design of aquaculture operations, and introduce new ocean products to help build local economies. As we worked with industry, investors and practitioners to select the top 10 innovations, we knew funding alone wouldn’t be enough, so we launched an accelerator that focused on convening relevant networks and resources to support our Fellows.

Over the course of the accelerator, Fellows expanded to 6 new countries (with 6 more in the works), secured over $40M in funding and partnerships, and won numerous additional awards in the development, cleantech, finance, life sciences and fish feed industries. “The Blue Economy Challenge helped us build relationships with key partners to expand into Bangladesh and Southern Thailand, and the funding, credibility and insights we gained have led to additional awards, partnerships and business models that will help EnerGaia grow faster than we would have on our own.” said Saumil Shah, CEO of EnerGaia.

As the accelerator wraps up, DFAT funding will enable the Blue Economy Fellows to continue to build Tanzania's most advanced hatcheries, expand on the world’s largest black fly larvae facility, and work with women leaders to grow Tanzania’s seaweed industry and many more. To learn more about the Blue Economy Challenge and our amazing Fellows, watch this stellar 360deg video that takes you to seaweed farms off Zanaibar and to a hatchery being built outside Dar es Salaam. You can check out all of our Fellows at www.theblueeconomychallenge.com, and join over 16M people who’ve engaged with us on social media at #Aquacelerator.

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