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Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
June 5, 2009

Strategy to Advance Canada�s Most Vibrant Ocean Technology Sector Released

Leveraging Newfoundland and Labrador�s natural strengths and position as a leader in developing ocean-related technologies in the emerging blue economy is central in the continued economic advancement of the province.

The Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, today released Oceans of Opportunity: Newfoundland and Labrador�s Ocean Technology Strategy, a five-year, $28 million strategy designed to capitalize on opportunities and expand the local ocean technology sector.

"For more than 500 years the ocean has been at the cultural and economic heart of the province," said Minister Skinner. "This prominence has led Newfoundland and Labrador to emerge as Canada�s most vibrant ocean technology community and a significant player in the global blue economy. Through the implementation of Oceans of Opportunity the Provincial Government will work with the local ocean technology community, which is characterized by an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, to advance the industry and create new opportunities for the people of the province."

Oceans of Opportunity is designed to accelerate sector development, along with enhancing the province�s environment for business and technology development within the industry. Through its implementation, the province will be strongly positioned to identify new opportunities in ocean technology and expand relationships with local, national and international partners.

"The Oceans of Opportunity strategy is clearly a step in the right direction for our province as we move toward becoming a global leader in the oceans and marine sectors," said Glenn Blackwood, Executive Director, Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland. "This strategy allows the sector to continue its growth and builds upon the past investment in Marine Institute�s School of Ocean Technology by the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. As Memorial University�s portal to the ocean, Marine Institute has a proud tradition of working closely with the oceans and marine industry in both technology transfer and applied research. We also take great pride in the fact Marine Institute�s graduates have the talent and leadership necessary to help foster development in this industry and it is encouraging to see the Provincial Government put forward a plan to allow us to work with our industry partners to grow this sector, thus ensuring our graduates have the opportunity to put their skills to good use, both close to home and abroad."

Led by OceansAdvance, a technology cluster initiative aimed at positioning the province as an international centre for ocean technology, the local ocean technology sector consists of a cluster of more than 50 world-class institutions, companies, and industry organizations with a common goal of growing the industry�s value to $1 billion with more than 6,600 employees by 2015 � an increase of 600 per cent from today. The sector has also been characterized by the formation of mutually-beneficial partnerships that enable local organizations to target new markets and explore new opportunities.

"This strategy strongly reflects the direction identified by the ocean technology cluster to grow research and development options and increase commercial opportunities in this sector," said Gary Dinn, President of OceansAdvance and Vice President of Technology Development for PanGeo Subsea. "With such an unprecedented alignment of government, academia and industry, increased support is now available to build on the developments in the areas of acoustics, unmanned vehicles, navigation and shipboard technologies, simulation, and ocean observation that local companies have championed for a number of years."

The 2006 Innovation Strategy: A Blueprint for Prosperity identified the ocean technology sector as a key growth area for the province. Oceans of Opportunity is an extension of the overarching innovation strategy that outlines the Provincial Government�s commitment to advancing knowledge-based industries throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Media contacts:

Scott Barfoot
Director of Communications
Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 690-6290
Kimberley Thornhill
Marketing and Business Development
Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland
Les O�Reilly
Executive Director
OceansAdvance Inc.


Highlights of Oceans of Opportunity:
Newfoundland and Labrador�s Ocean Technology Strategy

Ocean Technology Development Fund

The strategy includes support mechanisms to private enterprises and not-for-profit organizations through an Ocean Technology Development Fund (OTDF). Over the five years, $15 million is allocated to the following:

  • OceanTech Smart Growth which is designed to support private sector enterprises advance projects that focus on ocean intelligence, ocean observation, vessel operations, and ocean energy. Investments will be a maximum of 75 per cent of total project costs or $500,000.
  • OceanTech Intelligence which is directed to support post-secondary institutions and industry associations engage in activities focused on growing the ocean technology sector. Investments are a maximum of 80 per cent of total eligible project costs or $250,000.
  • International Marketing Assistance

    To best identify opportunities in international markets, Oceans of Opportunity allocates $1.5 million over five years to conduct detailed market analysis and entry strategies.

    Additionally, $200,000 per year has been allocated through OceanTech Global for local businesses and organizations to target new partnership and business development opportunities in key export markets.

    The Polaris Program

    A key component of Oceans of Opportunity is the Polaris Program � an initiative designed to develop an industrial and institutional capability and expertise in leading-edge technologies that monitor and predict ocean and atmospheric conditions.

    To further advance this initiative, the Provincial Government is budgeted $5 million over three years. The implementation of the Polaris Program will be through a series of calls for competitive proposals for which industry proponents will be required to supply key elements of the required information and technology.

    Business Incubation

    To assist in the growth and development of new ventures, $5 million over the life of the strategy will enable the Provincial Government to partner with key stakeholders to deliver mentoring services and access to research facilities.

    Northwest Atlantic Ocean Observation System Partnership

    To foster increased levels of ocean observation activities, $500,000 is allocated for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Observation System Partnership (NAOOSP). The NAOOSP is currently a working group and allocated funding is intended to provide resources to facilitate the partnership and establish a plan for a large scale ocean observing system.


    2009 06 05                                                    10:15 a.m.

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