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A Federal Grant Spurs BlueTech Collaboration In New England

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The Gulf of Maine Research Institute is leading the way in BlueTech innovation with its Blue Innovation Recovery Program. The program, which serves as a platform to help seafood and BlueTech start-ups survive economic stress, has been awarded a $749,856 federal grant from the Economic Development Administration. The funds will be used to support the program to build a more resilient regional economy throughout the coastal New England area, with a specific focus on pandemic recovery and development throughout the blue economy innovation corridor between Boston and Portland, Maine.

Photo Courtesy GMRI Stories

“Between changing ocean conditions due to a changing climate and supply chain challenges brought on by the pandemic, Maine’s seafood and fishing industries need our support now more than ever. Maine’s seafood industry is a cornerstone of our state’s economy, but the pandemic upended supply chains across the country,” said U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree. “The innovation and collaboration on display at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute through their Blue Economy project will help build a more resilient Maine economy so these industries can not only survive, but thrive in a sustainable way.”

When the pandemic shut down many of the world’s restaurants, Maine’s seafood economy took a direct hit. Many of these businesses have yet to return to pre-pandemic profit levels.

Rep. Pingree believes this funding is essential to getting the blue economy back on its feet – in an even healthier way.

The federal grant is designed to trigger the global competitiveness of Maine’s seafood industry by creating great jobs and generating ocean-based entrepreneurship and new businesses. There’s a particular focus on BlueTech businesses, which use ocean-based technology to drive environmental, economic and social stability for the region. The Blue Innovation Recovery Program has three main goals: accelerate for-profit BlueTech businesses, create partnerships between marine businesses and support systems and create connections to angel investors and venture capital firms for these businesses. The blue economy innovation corridor is uniquely positioned for success as it offers a one-of-a-kind combination of natural resources, universities and research labs. There are already thriving businesses in the area focused on innovation in wild fisheries, shellfish and algae aquacultures – and new fisheries technology. The grant will be used to bring all of these resources together to strengthen the whole region.

Photo Courtesy GMRI Stories

Improving ocean and fishery technology is a vital part of reducing the country’s carbon emissions. Oceans are responsible for half of the oxygen we breathe and serve as massive carbon absorbers.

They also control weather patterns, provide a huge source of protein foods and carry most goods around the globe. New eco-conscious sustainable technology is mapping out the way we use this valuable resource – a resource that is almost 90 percent overfished. With the “ocean economy” at an estimated $1.5 trillion, the work done by the Gulf of Marine Research Institute is not only valuable as the area recovers from the pandemic, but it also stands to lead the region into a secure, sustainable future. This positive momentum includes supply chain digitization, new fisheries technology and work in aquaculture that is set to establish lasting growth and security for the New England coast.

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