Initiating a North Atlantic Network on Sustainable Holothurian Technology and Innovation

The Project’s Objectives

HOLOSUSTAIN is expected to produce the following main tangible results:

  • Establish a cluster-type platform, with its own webpage and established partners, functioning as a knowledge hub on sea cucumber value chains.
  • Incorporate a searchable data library as Intranet access, specifically focused on sea cucumber chemical, nutritional and metabolic potential, as a tool for the discovery of novel, potential health-related products, and applications.
  • Organize two sea-cucumber focused collaborative international workshops with the participation of external stakeholders from the corresponding legislative and resource management local/national authorities as well as relevant companies.
  • Report with guidelines for strategic innovation objectives that will be implemented in further value chain development and submission of funding proposals to international grant schemes. Training and technology transfer capacities of the project’s partners will also be included.
  • Establish agreements among the industrial partners for common market opportunities and resource sharing.

The project’s vision is to establish a world-leading cluster-type platform for innovation in the sustainable exploitation of North Atlantic sea cucumber species. This marine resource with high market potential is currently not exploited in the North Atlantic countries for biotechnological, food, feed or drug applications targeting the western market. The platform will allow cooperation among participating countries and partnering industry and R&D organizations to develop their strategic position on the market and exploit complementarities in the partners’ resources after the project’s completion. The main anticipated results of the collaboration will be to provide a sustainable and healthy source of novel marine products and suggest at least two new Blue Growth value chains for the NORA countries. Best aquaculture approaches in a region of highly specific environmental conditions will be defined for the target species to ensure the availability of raw material and high-quality end products. Digitalization will be approached to incorporate the available information on holothurian chemical contents, bioactive molecules and life cycles in a database to develop a tool for optimizing uses within food/supplements production or drug development and aquaculture. Thus, the project’s objectives are aligned with NORA’s Bioeconomy and the Blue Growth in Large Ocean Nations strategic priorities, namely, with exploring new resources and products in emerging sectors (like bio-medicine or pharmaceuticals), promoting product diversification, further sustainable exploitation of the natural Arctic and North Atlantic resources, and creating new fisheries and aquaculture opportunities as well as business innovations through strengthening collaborations in the North Atlantic region.

Implementation and organisation of the project

The project’s activities are distributed in 2 work packages as summarized below.

WP1: Sea cucumber innovation platform creation and networking 
Responsible: MFA

Participating: All Partners
Duration: Month 1 - 36

This WP will comprise all organizational and dissemination activities of the project. Specific objectives will be to:

  1. Develop an effective communication and marketing platform with outreach to all possible stakeholders;
  2. Design and provide blue economy specific skills and competence training activities;
  3. Influence policymaking through effective communication with relevant local resource management authorities to promote sea cucumbers as strategic species in the NORA countries and abroad.

The Management of the platform during the project will be carried out by a board of 2 representatives from the Coordinating Organization (Møreforsking Ålesund), and one representative from each of the partnering organizations, to communicate by regular Skype meetings (every 3 months) and e-mail. The communication about the project’s ongoing activities and society outputs to multiple audiences will be done through the project’s webpage (to be designed by the Project Coordinator), the ordinary communication channels, available to the industrial cluster partner NCE Blue Legasea from Norway, the organization of 2 workshops with international participation, in Iceland and in Norway. A newsletter with sea cucumber news (events like congresses, commercial fairs and relevant legislative changes, advances in sea cucumber research, novel industrial and research funding opportunities) will be elaborated every 6 months and circulated through the project’s website, email and/or the ÅKP NCE Blue Legasea cluster platform.

Month
 6

NEWSLETTER WITH SEA CUCUMBER NEWS
Responsible: NCE Blue Legasea
Participating: MFA

Month
 12

FUNCTIONAL PROJECT WEBPAGE with initial database feature.
Responsible: MFA (2 person month dedication).
FIRST INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP (ICELAND)
Responsible: Matís (1 person month dedication), all other partners participate, travel expenses for
industrial and RTD partners from Norway.
NEWSLETTER WITH SEA CUCUMBER NEWS
Responsible: NCE Blue Legasea.
Participating: MFA.
INITIAL DATA LIBRARY the Intranet section of the webpage
Responsible: Matís
Participating: MFA, MUN

Month
 24

FUNCTIONAL PROJECT WEBPAGE with initial database feature.
Responsible: MFA (2 person month dedication).

Month
 30

FUNCTIONAL PROJECT WEBPAGE with initial database feature.
Responsible: MFA (2 person month dedication).

Month
 36

FUNCTIONAL PROJECT WEBPAGE with initial database feature.
Responsible: MFA (2 person month dedication)
 

WP2: Establishment of common opportunities for sustainable fishing and aquaculture conditions.
Responsible: MUN
Participating: AURORA SEAFOOD, CQ Arctic, QUIN-SEA Fisheries
Duration: Month 1 - 36

In this WP exchange visits will be organized among all interested participating organizations for discussion and training purposes, for example, visits among the industrial partners from the participating countries and of specialists to processing facilities, aquaculture laboratories and/or installations for maintenance of sea cucumbers. The available sustainable, sea cucumber specific gear options will be presented to all partners by Aurora Seafood for establishing possible commercial agreements.
In parallel, the optimal conditions regarding possible aquaculture of the North Atlantic species with emerging commercial interest, P. tremulus (and eventually P. regalis), will be defined through comparison with extensive knowledge C. frondosa (as reference and other sea cucumbers (e.g. P. californicus). Therefore, exchange visits will be organized among the installations of the interested industrial partners from Norway and Iceland, for review of existing equipment/maintenance and processing capacities, as w ell as provision of advice on optimization of conditions for maintenance, nutrition and/or life cycle studies from the Canadian partner s and possible visits to available external commercial contacts in Canada.

Month
 30

INDUSTRY VISITS to potential Canadian stakeholders to be finalized by Month 30
Responsible: MUN
Participating: AURORA SEAFOOD, CQ Arctic, QUIN-SEA Fisheries
 

Month
 36

FINAL REPORT
Potential applications for the North Atlantic sea cucumber species at the Western Food & Pharmaceutical market, strategic sustainable fisheries management, processing, and aquaculture future collaboration work lines included.
Responsible: MFA
All partners contributing.
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