Aquaculture for all

Applicants welcomed for BIM aquatech initiative

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Aquatech businesses are invited to apply for a Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) mentoring programme in a sector which has recently attracted a €15 million investment from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

A group of people in front of a period building.

Left to right: Jessica Giannoumis (community manager Ireland, Hatch Blue), Richard Donnelly (development and innovation services director at the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, BIM), Caroline Bocquel (CEO of BIM), Wayne Murphy (co-founder and partner at Hatch Blue), Colm Lynch (CEO of Aquamonitrix)

The ISIF has announced the investment to Hatch’s Blue Revolution Fund, which focuses on early-stage companies who have the potential to transform aquaculture technology.

Ireland’s minister for agriculture, food and the marine, Charlie McConalogue, announced that BIM is partnering with aquaculture accelerator, Hatch Blue, for its popular Innovation Studio.

This is a free, intensive two-week programme aimed at supporting young aquatech companies in all aspects of development, including technology and investment. The programme is supported by the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, with an investment of €380,000 in 2024.

Now in its seventh year, some 50 projects and companies have completed the innovation studio, and have attracted a total investment of around €15 million, creating more than 200 jobs.

“I am delighted to announce applications are open for the 2024 BIM Innovation Studio, which has fostered a wealth of innovation, energy and talent in Ireland’s growing aquatech sector since its inception seven years ago,” said McConalogue in a press release.

“This programme offers a unique opportunity for companies with technology applicable to the globally important aquaculture sector to improve their investor readiness and increase market access.

“Ireland is leading the way in the development of the aquatech sector with some 60 Irish aquatech companies turning over €200 million in 2022 with the potential for significant growth and job creation.”

The minister also welcomed the €15 million investment by ISIF in Hatch's Blue Revolution Fund, which invests in early stage aquatech companies.

“This is a huge vote of confidence in the sector which has enormous potential. Aquatech companies can advance the health of the oceans while providing sustainable seafood regenerative ecosystem services and community benefits,” he said.

Aquatech is any technology or innovation driving sustainable seafood farming, and it can be applied progressively to the breeding, raising, and harvesting of fish, shellfish and aquatic plants. The BIM Innovation Studio offers opportunities for companies in areas such as pharmaceuticals, marine engineering, genetics, feed additives and artificial intelligence.

Applications for the BIM Innovation Studio are open until 19 July 2024. The studio takes place from 30 September to 11 October at the River Lee Hotel, Cork City.

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