Making Waves on World Oceans Day

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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.

Davar Ardalan

About Davar Ardalan

Davar Ardalan is the Director of Storytelling and Engagement at SecondMuse. As a veteran journalist and former social media strategist at NPR News in Washington D.C., Ardalan lead dozens of real-time engagement campaigns to great impact. Most recently she was the Senior Producer and Social Media Strategist for NPR’s Identity and Culture Unit, traveling across the country producing live events and moderating Twitter chats on some of the most critical issues of the day including community and policing, voting rights, education, and immigration. She has cultivated thought leaders across platforms, generating millions of impressions across the globe via Twitter and an even more impressive level of response domestically. Ardalan has also worked as a Supervising Producer for Morning Edition where she helped shape the daily newsmagazine, and was responsible for decisions that required elaborate coordination such as broadcasts from Baghdad, Kabul and New Orleans. Through the years, her public radio productions have been recognized with two NABJ Awards and a Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio and Television. She began her radio career as a reporter in 1991 at KUNM in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ardalan is the mother of four and lives outside Annapolis, Maryland. In May 2014, she was the recipient of an Ellis Island Medal of Honor, for individual achievement and for promoting cultural unity.

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