Blue economy investor raises a further €20m

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The Ocean 14 Capital Fund, which invests in blue economy businesses and regenerative technology for the marine environment, has received a €20m (£17m) investment from an international insurance group. Ocean 14 has also committed to investment of up to €10m (£8.5m) in a Norwegian firm that has developed a less destructive way to dredge for shellfish.

The capital injection of €20m comes from international speciality insurer and reinsurer, Convex Group Limited. Ocean 14, which is based in Luxembourg, has now exceeded its fundraising goal of €150m (£128m) and aims to reach €200m (£171m) by the end of 2023.

Existing investors include Monaco’s sovereign wealth fund, European Investment Fund (EIF), Skype founder Niklas Zennström and the investment arm of Ingka Group.

Chris Gorell Barnes, co-founder of Ocean 14 Capital, commented: “The fact that the Fund has surpassed its initial goal of €150m shows how important this issue has become to so many people globally and how highly the Fund is thought of.

“Over the next few years, the Fund aims to invest in many more companies that are all playing a part in saving the oceans. We want the blue economy to become mainstream as ocean health has a direct positive impact for consumers and commerce globally. The Fund is now aiming for investment of €200m and as its advisers, we are confident that target will be met in the coming months”.

Chris Gorell Barnes, Ocean 14 Capital

Ocean 14’s latest investment has gone to Ava Ocean, a Norwegian technology and seafood company which is on a mission to change the way we harvest seafood from the seabed, whilst protecting fragile ocean habitats and invaluable carbon sinks.

Dredging is the most widely used method to harvest bottom dwelling seafoods globally, but this way of fishing takes a significant toll on the seabed and surrounding ecosystems and is increasingly facing criticism from environmental campaigners and ocean conservationists.

In Norway, dredging has been banned for nearly 30 years, preserving ocean habitats, but leaving vast nutritious resources out of reach. Ava Ocean has developed a unique, non-invasive harvesting gear for bottom-dwelling seafood such as scallops and sea cucumber without disturbing marine ecosystems. The technology combines an advanced water-flow system with AI and camera technology to precision-pick target seafood. Smaller sized specimens or bycatch are returned to the seabed undamaged.

After extensive trials together with the Norwegian Institute for Marine Research, the Norwegian government granted Ava Ocean the first licence to harvest Arctic scallops in the Barents Sea in more than three decades.

Gorell Barnes said: “We believe that the Fund’s strategic investment in Ava Ocean is significant. The global export market for scallops is worth an estimated $2.5bn, but most of the scallop fishing industry uses dredging methods which have a devastating effect on seabed ecosystems and biodiversity. The technology developed by Ava Ocean can be rolled out on a global scale and could put an end to harmful seabed practice forever.”

Previous investments by Ocean 14 include Brazil-based tilapia producer Tilabras and land-based yellowtail farmer The Kingfish Company.

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