The ocean has a key role to play in our world’s efforts to better our planet. Ensuring a healthy ocean and scaling up ocean-based solutions represents a significant opportunity for business and economic growth. Hear what leaders in ocean stewardship have to say about their vision for the future, and learn more about the solutions that are helping lead us forward.

Top future trends

Douglas McCauley

Ecologist and Conservation Biologist, UC Santa Barbara

“The Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that in less than 20 years fish farming will put more fish on our tables than wild-capture fisheries. We have to carefully ensure this explosive growth in ocean farming happens in a clean, healthy and sustainable way. In parallel to this growth in aquaculture, we must redouble our efforts to be sure that wild fisheries can continue to provide healthy free-range fish by setting aside ocean protected areas and coming up with novel solutions for managing the lawlessness associated with fishing in many settings.”

Susan Avery: A Key Cog

President and Director, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“Right now the future of the ocean is uncertain, which means our future is uncertain. With greater global investment in research, exploration and innovation, we can reduce uncertainties, improve projections about future conditions for our ocean and planet, and provide information that governments, resource managers, businesses and others can use to save lives, property and money, and to sustain the ocean as a resource.”

Alexandra Cousteau

Explorer, Filmmaker and Water Advocate

“We need to accomplish three goals: stop overfishing, reduce bycatch and protect marine habitat. Scientists working closely with economists, lawyers and policy experts can achieve tangible results for the oceans. By promoting responsible fishing practices, we can protect the oceans while helping to reduce poverty in coastal communities. If we can save the oceans, we can help feed the world.”

Top plastic removers

Sustainable and scalable: these companies are committed to helping our oceans, all with a unique approach.

Xampla is advancing the world of plant-protein materials, a next generation material that is a 100% natural replacement for plastic. “Our next-generation material performs like synthetic polymers, but decomposes naturally and fully, without harming the environment,” details CEO Simon Hombersley.

Empower is using cloud-data and blockchain technology to store and share information about plastic waste, tracking map waste flows to ensure that the plastic ends up where it should. “Our mission is to ensure that all materials have a value and can be tracked from production to new resources, and back into new sustainable products again, with a vision to close the tap on plastic waste and recreate a world without waste, a truly circular economy,” shares founder and CEP Wilhelm Myrer.

Scindo is a cleantech startup utilizing enzymes to help recycle. “We believe that finding novel ways to break down plastic polymers into useful molecular components has the potential to make plastic waste one of the cheapest feedstocks available, and one of the most impactful in terms of circularity and carbon recycling,”explains co-founder and CEO Gustaf Hemberg.

Top aquaculture innovations

There are a wide variety of promising aquaculture solutions and innovations in recent years. The global market is projected to reach over $245 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 4.4%, according to ReportLinker.

Aquabyte is monitoring fish throughout the world. Data such as temperature, oxygen amount, fish movement, and feed frequency help create feeding algorithms based on analysis. The use of AI with its predictive algorithms results in a more sustainable food supply chain. The company is eyeing expansion, raising $10 million in 2020 to tap into more markets, with interest in the UK, Canada, the Middle East, the United States and Asia.

Bluetrace is a shellfish management platform, designed to be an innovative solution for oyster farmers, distributors, and wholesalers to better optimize their activities, save time, and stay informed on evolving regulations. The growth of shellfish farming represents a unique opportunity to create more jobs, supply healthier food, and create a better environment. “A safer food chain is good for consumers and businesses. BlueTrace has the team, technology and knowhow to revolutionize tracking–from tide to table. Thanks to the SBIR program, we can build a system specifically for the complexities of the seafood industry,” says CEO, Dr Wyllys Chip Terry.

NovoNutriends is finding alternative food for aquatic animals that has both economic and environmental benefits: using less water, saving small fish, and promoting afforestation. The recent startup uses waste and transforms it into protein for fish. This innovation eliminates the problem of industrial emissions. “NovoNutrients has taken major steps towards becoming one of the world’s biggest suppliers of innovative protein ingredients by 2030,” said Eric Ng, CEO of Happiness Capital.

Top fishing solutions

Fishing nets are traditionally made from non-biodegradable and non-recyclable plastic, often being discarded, generating extremely large levels of plastic waste. One study found that as much as 70% (by weight) of macroplastics found floating on the surface of the ocean was fishing related. A new solution comes from a new project called BIOGEARS which has developed a prototype of bio-based rope. These natural ropes decompose easily, offering a promising alternative to petroleum-based plastic.

Fishing is one of the most energy intensive industries in the world, relying almost solely on fossil fuels. In 2020, our planet’s fishing fleets were responsible for around 1.2% of total global fuel consumption. 

A conference on energy efficiency in fisheries proposed solutions to increase energy efficiency and cut the fishing industry’s fuel usage and cost. One solution is to utilize innovative fishing gear and improve the efficiency of fishing techniques, particularly trawling, the most demanding fishing method.